Translation: Tao Te King – Chapter 61. Virtue of humbleness

Chinese character for "virtue"
De (Te) means ‘virtue’ Simplified chong wen character for ‘de’.Own rip from LibreOffice document with 96 point Noto Sans CJK SC Regular

Chapter 61. Virtue of humbleness

A kingdom, like a stream, becomes great by being lowly. It becomes the center, where all the world aims for.

Similarly is with woman: She wins the man by constant calmness.

And calmness is the same  as durability.

That is why a great state by lowering itself to those who are beneath it can get to rule them.

Likewise a small state by submitting to some larger one can guarantee itself its allegiance.

This is how one acquires fidelity with its humbleness, and the other acquires favor.

A great nation wants to have small ones within its reach of control and to support them, but a small state wants to become allied and serve the bigger one.

This is how both become satisfied, but only if the larger one wants to lower itself.


  1. Mr. Ervast: ‘Undoubtably many considers that in this chapter Laozi is too “optimistic”‘

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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