The TAO

Verse 20

The sage is often envied

because others do not know

that although he is nourished by the Tao,

like them, he too is mortal.

He who seeks wisdom is well advised

to give up academic ways,

and put an end to striving.

Then he will learn that yes and no

are distinguished only by distinction.

It is to the advantage of the sage

that he does not fear what others fear,

but it is to the advantage of others

that they can enjoy the feast,

or go walking, free of hindrance,

through the terraced park in spring.

The sage drifts like a cloud,

having no specific place.

Like a newborn babe before it smiles,

he does not seek to communicate.

In the eyes of those

who have more than they need,

the sage has nothing, and is a fool,

prizing only that which of the Tao is born.

The sage may seem to be perplexed,

being neither bright nor clear,

and to himself, sometimes he seems

both dull and weak, confused and shy.

Like the ocean at night,

he is serene and quiet,

but as penetrating as the winter wind.

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