Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 61


大國者下流,天下之交,天下之牝。
牝常以靜勝牡,以靜為下。
故大國以下小國,則取小國;小國以下大國,則取大國。
故或下以取,或下而取。
大國不過欲兼畜人,小國不過欲入事人。
夫兩者各得其所欲,大者宜為下。
The big country is like the downstream of the river
It is the converging point of the world
The female of the universe.

The female always overcomes the male with quietude
Lying low in stillness.

Thus if the big country is humble to the small country
Then it can conquer the small country
If the small country is humble to the big country
Then it can be accepted by the big country
Thus one uses the lower position to take
The other uses the lower position to be accepted

The big country wants to gather and protect people
The small country wants to be sheltered
So that both obtain what they wish
The big country should place itself low

The big country should be like the downstream of the river so that whole world will meet here. She is in the position of the females. Softness and quietness of female overcome the strength of the males. Therefore big country shows the humbleness and respects to the small country and it will win over the submission of the small country. Whereas the small country humbles and respects the big country, and it will gain the trust from the big country in return.

A big country does this is for the sake of receiving all and shelter them. A small country does so is for mutual respect and non-aggression. Therefore, reaching the mutual respect through humbleness, both big or small countries achieve the best strategy. The key is that a big country should be humble and respect the small country in good faith.

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