A Consideration of Beginnings, Deal with the Great While it is Small,
Do Without Doing, Difficult and Easy
Tao Te Ching, Chapter 63, by Lao Tzu
"Do without "doing."
Get involved without manipulating.
Taste without tasting.
Make the great small,
The may, few.
Respond to anger with virtue.
Deal with difficulties while they are still easy.
Hand the great while it is still small.
The difficult problems in life
Always start off being simple.
Great affairs always start off being small.
Therefore the sage never deals with the great
And is able to actualize his greatness.
Now light words generate little belief,
Much ease turns into much difficulty.
Therefore the sage treats things as though they were difficult,
And hence, never has difficulty."
- Translated by Charles Mueller, 2004
Attend to do-nothing;
Taste the flavorless,
Magnify the small,
Multiply the few,
Return love for hate.
Deal with the difficult while it is yet easy;
Deal with the great while it is yet small.
The difficult develops naturally from the easy,
And the great from the small;
So the sage, by dealing with the small,
Achieves the great."
- Translation by Peter A. Merel, 1992
"Act without considering it to be acting.
Work without considering it to be working.
Taste without considering it to be tasting.
Big or small, many or few - respond to complaints with virtue.
Plan for difficult times when they're still easy to change.
What becomes enormous was once something minute.
All the difficulties in the world arise from what was originally easy to change.
Everything enormous in the world arises from what was originally minute.
It's natural for the wise person to end up not having to act on what's become enormous, and therefore has the ability to achieve what's great.
You see, lightly making promises must show a lack of sincerity.
If many things are taken lightly, then many things will cause difficulty.
It's natural for a wise person to keep in touch with what might become difficult.
Therefore, he ends up without difficulties."
- Translation by Nina Correa, 2008
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 wit 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)
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."
- Translated by Lin Yutang, 1948
Pursue that which is not meddlesome;
Savor that which has no flavor.
Make the small big and the few many;
Do good to him who has done you an injury.
Lay plans for the accomplishment of the difficult before it becomes difficult;
Make something big by starting with it when small.
Difficult things in the world must needs have their beginnings in the easy;
Big things must needs have their beginnings in the small.
Therefore it is because the sage never attempts to be great that he succeeds in becoming great.
One who makes promises rashly rarely keeps good faith;
One who is in the habit of considering things easy meets with frequent difficulties.
Therefore even the sage treats some things as difficult.
That is why in the end no difficulties can get the better of him."
- Translated by D. C. Lau
"Do things non-coercively (wuwei),
Be non-interfering in going about your business (wushi),
And savor the flavor of the unadulterated in what you eat.Treat the small as great and the few as many.
Requite enmity with character (de).
Take account of the difficult while it is still easy,
And deal with the large while it is still tiny.
The most difficult things in the world originate with the easy,
And the largest issues originate with the tiny.
Thus, it is because the sages never try to do great things
That they are indeed able to be great.
One who makes promises lightly is sure to have little credibility;
One who finds everything easy is certain to have lots of difficulties.
Thus, it is because even the sages pay careful attention to such things
That they are always free of difficulties."
- Translated by Roger T. Ames and David L Hall, 2003
"Act without doing;
work without effort.
Think of the small as large
and the few as many.
Confront the difficult
while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts.
The Master never reaches for the great;
thus she achieves greatness.
When she runs into a difficulty,
she stops and gives herself to it.
She doesn't cling to her own comfort;
thus problems are no problem for her."
- Translated by Stephen Mitchell, 2006
Chapter 63 Read by Mike Garofalo (WMA, 3:41 Minutes, 886 Kb, 2006) This reading uses the translations by Roger T. Ames and David L. Hall, and by Stephen Mitchell.
Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing), by Lao Tzu (Laozi): Bibliography, Links, Selected Translations, Commentary, Notes
Taoism: Bibliogrphy, Links, Resources, Quotations