Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 63


Accomplish do-nothing.
Attend to no-affairs.
Taste the flavorless.

Whether it is big or small, many or few,
Requite hatred with virtue.

Deal with the difficult while yet it is easy;
Deal with the big while yet it is small.
The difficult (problems) of the world
Must be dealt with while they are yet easy;
The great (problems) of the world
Must be dealt with while they are yet small.

Therefore the Sage by never dealing with great (problems)
Accomplishes greatness.

He who lightly makes a promise
Will find it often hard to keep his faith.
He who makes light of many things
Will encounter many difficulties.

Hence even the Sage regards things as difficult,
And for that reason never meets with difficulties.
(Translation by Yu Tang Lin)

Image of Xinjiang(新疆), China by Kue chu Chen

The first three sentences cover the general idea of the sage governance, the specific implementation of the view and the policy that is beneficial to the people.

“Do-nothing” is present throughout the chapters of Tao Te Ching. Lao Tze mentioned the concept of “inaction”, that is to follow the “tao,” to abide the laws of nature by objective laws. Do not do the thing with our desire and intention. This is the essence of “do nothing.”

Attend to no-affairs implies that the saints or the rulers give out as few decrees as possible. They should not suppress the people with numerous government decrees.

Taste the flavorless literal meaning of “tasteless” is that the flavor is Stoic. In combination with “Do nothing” and “Attend to no-affairs ” are LaoTzu’s request for governing the country, The sage and other rulers should not burden the people with numerous rules and regulation that the people could not breathe. It should be to simplify the order and govern more naturally; so the people will support and cooperate. Hence there will be a natural, balance between rulers and the people; It will be the ideal condition.

Deal with small things with a big attitude, handle simple situations with complex attitudes. Therefore, the sage does not limit himself to doing great things so that he can accomplish great things.

A promise must always be broken, and a man who does things too lightly will never accomplish anything.

The sages always treat things as if they are difficult, and carefully break them down into pieces that are easy to solve, and eventually they become easy to solve.

Indeed, if we face the complexity, we can only start from simple, how can we understand the complexity without simple. The Cambridge Dictionary defines complexity as “the state of having many parts and being difficult to understand or find an answer to.” The definition of simplicity is the inverse: “something [that] is easy to understand or do.” Therefore, take care of small thing and resolve the simple problem then we can handle the complexity.

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