Translation: Tao Te King – Chapter 16. Going home

Chapter 16. Going home

When you have emptied all from yourself stay where you are.¹

All beings blossom into harmonious activity and where do we see them return to?

After flourishing for a little while everything dies down to its roots.

Picture of kale seedlings. Timing data probably faked by artist.
Young kale seedlings. Makes wonderful toast salad if when harvested and also great rap if living and loves his kids a lot, just like he should. CC-SA-BY 4.0 by artist User:Blokenearexeter

This returning to one’s origin is called peace. It is surrendering to the necessary.

This surrender to the necessary is called preservation.

One who knows this preservation is called enlightened.

One who does not know this preservation stays in his misery.

On who knows this preservation is great in his soul.

One who is great in his soul is steadfast and unmovable in truth.

Being steadfast in truth he is king.

Being king he is heavenly.

Being heavenly he is of Tao.

Being of Tao he stays forever. Even though his body perishes he suffers no evil.


  1. Mr. Ervast writes in the “marginal”: “This chapter is a exultation to death, that necessary that in itself is the greatest preservator. The human that has emptied all selfishness from himself he in death stays where he was already when he was living; others, even if they started their life with the careless mind of the child move to the netherworld of suffering when they die.”

Own translation from 1925 Finnish translation by Pekka Ervast (ISBN 951-8995-01-X) with kind permission of Ruusu-Ristin Kirjallisuusseura ry.

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