Translation: Tao Te King – Chapter 54. The root and the branches

Chapter 54. The root and the branches

Picture of date palm seedlings
CC0 by Srianix

He who plants right, never unearths his plantings.

He who grips correctly will, not yield.

His offspring respect him endlessly.

Who develops the Tao in himself, he is rooted to virtue.

Who develops the Tao in his family, he makes his virtue spread.

Who develops the Tao in his village, he grows happiness.

Who develops the Tao in his kingdom, he makes happiness triumph.

Who develops the Tao in the world, he makes virtue omnious.

I check myself and will learn to know others.

I observe my family and all others become as familiar as my family members.

I observe my kingdom and learn to know the others too.

I observe this world and other worlds become known to me.

How else could I come to learn the laws that rule all, but by observing them in me?¹


  1. Mr. Ervast: “Law of analogy. Microcosm and Macrocosm.”

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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