A tree too big to embrace Is born from a slender shoot. A nine-story rises from a pile of earth. A thousand-mile journey Begins with a single step.
Act and you ruin it. Grasp and you lose it. Therefore the Sage Does not act And so does not ruin Does not grasp And so does not lose.
People commonly ruin their work When they are near success. Proceed at the end as at the beginning And your work won’t be ruined.
Therefore the Sage Desires no desires Prizes no prizes Studies no studies And returns To what others pass by. The Sage Helps all beings find their nature, But does not presume to act.
Support Authors: Stephen Addiss, Stanley Lombardo and Burton Watson
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Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu