Everyone in the world calls my Tao great
As if it is beyond compare
It is only because of its greatness
That it seems beyond compare
If it can be compared
It would already be insignificant long ago
I have three treasures
I hold on to them and protect them
The first is called compassion
The second is called conservation
The third is called not daring to be ahead in the world
Compassionate, thus able to have courage
Conserving, thus able to reach widely
Not daring to be ahead in the world
Thus able to assume leadership
Now if one has courage but discards compassion
Reaches widely but discards conservation
Goes ahead but discards being behind
If one fights with compassion, then victory
With defense, then security
Heaven shall save them
And with compassion guard them
(Translated by Derek Lin, 1994)
People all over the world say that Lao Tzu speaks of the “tao” grand as if it is not a specific thing. Because it’s grand, it’s not like something concrete. If it looks like it, then the “tao” is already small and becomes insignificant.
Lao Tzu has three treasures that he holds and cherishes: one is called compassion, the second is conservation, and the third is not to be seen above and ahead of the others.
Because of compassion, we can be brave and courageous. Because conservation, we can be broad and reach far; Because of daring not to put our interests ahead of the world, we can be the leaders of all things.
Without three treasures, it will result in death. Compassion brings victory in battle and strength in defense. It is the means by which heaven saves and guards.