Dr. Hilmar Alquiros offers a translation of the dào dé jīng from Chinese to English and German.
Character / Composition / Variants / Pinyin
01 The Mystical Way
Mystery and Surface
Common Origin: The Gate to all Secrets
02 The Unity of Opposites
Knowing the Opposites
Without Interfering, without Possessing, without Accumulating
Avoid Glorifying, Overestimation and Ostentation
The Alleviation of Desires
Acting without Interference
Dào: Empty Fullness and Prime Cause
05 Creative Emptiness
Keep your Mean
06 The Mystical Female
The Spirit of the Valley: Unfathomable Feminity
07 Everlasting Unselfishness
08 Flexibility without Competition
Highest Goodness like the Depth of Water
09 Letting Go
Not Overdoing Things – Let Go!
Pride goes before a Fall
10 Purity and Modesty
Being unsevered: Immaculate Vital Energy
Comprehensive Without Punditry, Act in a Female Way!
Leading, not Dominating: Deep Inner Power
11 Creative Nothingness
A Wheel's Usability
A Vessel's Usability
A Room's Usability
The Usability of Nothingness
12 Unaddicted Harmony
Disturbing Passions and Goods
Caring for the Inner Needs
13 Autonomous Self-Esteem
The Burden of Favour, Honour's Worries
The Burden of Favour and Disfavour?
The Worries of Honour and Selfishness?
Entrusting and Relinquishing to the World
14 The Incomprehensibility of Dào
Invisible, Inaudible, and Intangible Dào
Infinite, Boundless, Inconceivable Unity
Shapeless Shape, Hidden Chaos
Awareness of the Origin: Dào’s Guideline
15 The Inscrutability of the Wise Men
Wise Men's Unfathomable Depth
Careful and Yielding; Genuine like an Uncarved Block of Wood
Clarification through Silence, Making Peace through Lasting Movement
16 Returning to Constancy
Utmost Emptiness, Deepest Silence
The Beings’ Homecoming to the Origin
Calmness, Homecoming; Constancy, Clearsightedness
Constancy, Tolerance, Impartiality, Grandeur: Heavenly Dào
Death without Danger: Immortality!
17 Considerate Leadership
Known, Praised, Feared, Despised
Confidence or Suspicion
Like Done of its Own Volition
18 The Omen of Decay
Righteousness, Hypocrisy, Obedience, Patriotism
19 Freedom through Modesty
Leave Punditry, Morality, and Self-interest!
More Simplicity and Naturalness, Less Selfishness and Greed
20 Profane Men and Wise Men
Assent and Hypocrisy, Good and Evil
Unshirkable: Fear and Loneliness
Merry People’s Sacrificial Feasts
Only I Cannot Laugh...
Lost, Simple-minded, Dark…
Sad and Worried, Billowing like the Sea…
But I Cherish the Nourishing Mother!
21 Unfathomable Dào
Following the Inconceivable Dào
Unfathomable Inner Archetypes, Hidden Seeds of Vitality
Its Name Preserved: Intuitive Knowledge of the Origin
22 The Wisdom of Yieldingness
Yielding Perfection, Empty Fullness
Unity of Opposites, Grandeur without Competition
Yieldingness, Perfection, Dào
23 The Sustainability of Dào
Whirlwinds and Showers without Duration
Dào, Inner Power, Release
Becoming One with Dào and Inner Power Brings Joy
Trust or Suspicion
24 Avoidance of Sophistication
Self-Righteousness and Self-Praise impede Serenity and Grandeur
Creatures of Nature Detest Exaggerations
25 The Greatness of Dào
Before Heaven and Earth: Inexhaustible Origin
I Call it Dào, Call it Great
Great, Vanishing, Far-Reaching, Returning
Dào, Heaven, Earth and King
The Laws of Earth, Heaven and Dào
Heaviness and Lightness, Stillness and Haste
Burden and Calmness
Thoughtless, Selfish Rulers Lose Roots and Mastery
27 True Mastership
Good Wayfarers, Speakers, Reckoners, Closers and Binders
Saving Men, Saving Things: Following the Enlightenment
An Essential Secret: to Value the Teachers, to Love the Tasks
28 Visionary Power
Know the Male, Keep the Female: the World’s Riverbed
Know the Bright, Keep the Dark: the Example for the World
Know the Glory, Keep Humility: the World’s Wellspring
Nativeness or Usefulness: Great Carving is Done Chiplessly
Failing Desire to Conquer the World
A Vessel Full of Spirit: Interfering Means Destroying it
Lead and Follow; Climb and Fall
Wise Men Avoid Extremes!
30 The Power of Ahimsa
No force of Arms: Attacks Lead to Counter-attacks
Fatal Wars, Disastrous Crops
Achieve Results without Bragging, Pride and Violence!
No Dào, Early End
31 Victories for Peace
Finest Weapons – the Tools of Misery
Siege ohne Freude am Töten!
Happy Occasions Prefer the Left
Celebrate Victories like Funerals!
Inconspicuous, yet Incomprehensible Dào
Free People: Spontaneous Integrity
Concepts: Aware of their Limits, no Danger
The Eternal Flow of Dào
Know Yourself: True Enlightenment; Overcome Yourself: Inner Power
Frugality, Durability, Immortality
34 Unselfish Grandeur
The Flow of Dào: Universal and for All Beings
Modest, Desireless, Inconspicuous
All Creatures’ Great Master
The Great Example: Content, Well-Balanced, Sublime
Music and Feasts: Dào's Unseasoned Revelation
Invisible, Inaudible, Inexhaustible
36 The Power of the Paradox
Give at First: Subtle Enlightenment
The Soft and the Yielding Overcome the Hard and the Rigid
37 The Victory of Contentedness
No Intervening, Nothing Undone
Protection through Nameless Simplicity
38 The Power of Unintentionality
Dào, Inner Power, Justice, Morality, Prophecies
Depth, not Surface;
Core, not Decoration
39 Harmony through Simplicity
Harmony through Simplicity
Dangers for them - Without Inner Oneness
Lonely, orphaned, unworthy: Humbleness!
40 Returning to Non-Being
Dào's Returning and Yielding
Being: Risen from Non-Being
41 Unscheinbares Dào
Judicious, Mediocre and Ignorant People
Enlightened, Progressing and Flattened Dào
Inner Power, Purity and Genuineness
Greatest Talents, Biggest Forms
Hidden Dào's Completion
42 Non-Violent Evolution
Oneness, Duality, Everything
Yin and Yang Create Harmony
Orphaned, Lonesome, Worthless: Winners and Losers
Violent People, Philosophical Starting Point
43 The Victory of Softness
Softness Overcomes Hardness
Being and Non-being Interpenetrate
Wordless Teaching, Non-interfering Acting
44 True Values
Fame and Property or Life and Body?
No Waste, no Loss: Knowing When to Stop!
45 The Paradox of Truth
Insufficient Perfection, Empty Fullness
Bent Straightness, Clumsy Skill, Stuttering Eloquence
Movement Overcomes Coldness, Rest Overcomes Heat
46 Peaceful Frugality
Farm Horses or War Horses
Desire and Greed or Satisfaction in Frugality
47 Perception and Insight
Without Travelling Far, Contemplate the World!
Knowing without Travelling, Completing without Acting
48 Less is More!
Decrease Daily and Let Go: Nothing Remains Undone
Without Bustling Conquer the World!
49 Goodness and Faithfulness as Examples
Other People's Aims...
Good to Bad Ones, Faithful to Faithless ones
Versatile, Harmonious Wise Men and their Children...
50 Death and Life
Three of Ten: Life Followers, Death Disciples, Crossers
No Danger by Buffaloes, Tigers and Swords
Why? No Mortal Points.
51 The Way and its Power
Creatures worship Dào and Appreciate Inner Power: Unordered, yet By Itself
Inner Power Nurtures and Shields them
No Claim to Possess, no Expectation, no Controlling
52 Sense and Sensuousness
The World's Maternal Lap: Understanding First Mother and Children
Closed Sensory Gates: Living without Effort
Enlightenment and Strength through Endurance
53 Right Way and Going Astray
Wise Ways and Wrong Ways: Magnificent Courts, Empty Pantries
Supersaturated Abdundance, Bragging by Robbers
54 Social Maturing
Well Established, well Preserved;
Worship of Ancestors
Cultivation of Inner Power Everywhere
55 The Power of Virtue
Invulnerable like a Newborn Child:
Culmination of Vital Energy and Harmony
Harmony, Permanence, Insight
The Overly Strong will End Prematurely
56 Silent Enlightenment
Talking and Knowing
Lock your Gates: Mysterious Oneness
Not to be Obtained with Violence: the Highest
57 Silent Simplicity, Noble Greatness!
With Righteousness, not with Weapons, Conquer the World
Not too much Restrictions, Technique and Law
No Interference, no Bustling, no Desirousness
58 Gentle Leadership
Unobtrusive Reign, Sincere People
Fortune's Foundaitons, Misfortune's Hiding Place
Without Guiding Principles: Chaos and Quandary
Outspoken, not Offending; Brilliant, not Blinding
Moderation, Integration, Inner Power
Limitless Femaleness, Enduring Realm
Deeply Rooted, Timeless Insight!
60 Domination without Damage
Reign Carefully: Good Spirits, No Harm
Each Other No Harm: Combined Inner Power!
61 First Servants
The Epitomy of the Female Wins over the Male
Large Realms Under the Small ones
Large Realms wish to Unite, Small ones to Serve
62 Source and Refuge
Dào: Sanctuary, Treasure, Refuge
Beautiful Words, Honourable Deeds
Throne and Quadriga: Better, to Offer Dào!Hence: if enthroning an emperor,
"If you Seek, you will Find"
63 The Lightness of Being
Greatness in Little Things, Answer Hatred with Inner Power
Difficult and Great Arise from Easy and Small
No Rash Promises, Confronting Problems
64 First Steps to Completion
Treat Problems Before they Arise!
A Journey of a Thousand Miles...
No Interference, no Destroying; no Holding on, no Losing
Cautious at the End as at the Beginning
No Desire, no Erudition, no Interference
65 Plain Naturalness
Practising Dào: More Simplicity, Less Shrewdness!
Rule a State without Cunning
Timeless Role Models: Mystic Inner Power
Inner Revision, Great Harmony
66 Leading from Below
Below to Master the Sources,
Behind, to be Ahead!
Wise Rulers do not Compete
67 The Three Treasures
Dào: Great, because not Comparable with Anything
Three Treasures: Charity, Frugality, Humility...
... Allowing Courage, Generosity, and Maturing
Love wins the fight, resists in defence
Heaven's Saving Grace: Protecting with Love
68 True Leadership
Superior Winners Spare the Opponent
True Leadership: No Competitiveness, Resembling Heaven!
69 Victorious Retreat
No Attacks and Advances, but Defence and Retreat
Defend without Threats, Dominate without Weapons!
Never Underestimate the Opponent: He will Win, who Regrets it!
70 But Few are Chosen
Easy to Understand, Hard to Follow
Appreciated Words, Understood by Few
Plain Clothes, Hidden Jewel
71 Illusion and Wisdom
Knowledge, Illusion, Wisdom
Seeing Through the Illusion
72 True Authority
No Restriction, no Pressure: Internal Authority
Self-Esteem, not Self-Overestimation
73 Tacit Victories
Courage for Not Taking Risk
Reasons for Heaven's Disfavours? (theodicy)
Let Things Come by Themselves
The Network of Nature
74 Death and Deadliness
Death Penalties? Who should Dare to Execute?
Official Executioners and the "Great Carpenter"
75 Tax Riots
Taxes let the People Starve, Intervening Authorities
Not Striving for Life Shows More Dignity...
76 Subtle Strengths
Rigidity and Strength of Death, Softness and Slightness of Life
Strong Trees are cut, Gentleness Stays Superior
77 The Way of Nature
Dào of Heaven: like a Tense Bow:
Decreasing Abundance and Supplementing Insufficiency...
Dào of Man: Decreasing Insufficiency!
Acting without Insisting, Completing without Dwelling on it
78 The Wisdom of Water
Soft and Yielding Water: Nothing can Surpass it
The Weak Defeats the Strong, Yieldingness Overcomes Rigidity
How to Become a Sovereign or a World Ruler
True Words Sound Paradoxical
79 The Blessing of Tolerance
How to Compensate for remaining Resentment?
Abiding by Contracts with Inner Power
Dào: without Favorites, Forever with the Good Men
80 Simplify Your Life!
Smaller Empires, Less Inhabitants: Knotting Cords,
Peaceful Dwelling, Joyful Customs
Hearing Each Other Without Ever Visiting Each Other
81 True Words
True Words and Beautiful Words
Proficient, yet not Arguing; Knowing, yet not Learned
Giving to Others is Inner Richness...
Dào: Use without Harming, Create without Competing!