Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty,
only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.
Being and nonbeing produce each other.
The difficult is born in the easy.
Long is defined by short, the high by the low.
Before and after go along with each other.
So the sage lives openly with apparent duality
and paradoxical unity.
The sage can act without effort
and teach without words.
Nurturing things without possessing them,
he works, but not for rewards;
he competes, but not for results.
When the work is done, it is forgotten.
That is why it lasts forever.
1. Explanation of Duality
Lao-tzu starts by distinguishing what is “under heaven” (or in the physical world) from that which is in heaven. Specifically, in the physical world, we label and judge things as either good or evil and…
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