Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) (Intro) : 32 Nature Mystic Chapters :
gender-inclusive translations, calligraphy, commentary, seal scripts :

01, 04, 06, 07, 08    09, 10, 11, 15, 21, 22, 23    26, 28, 29, 32, 35,
40, 43, 45, 47    48, 49, 51, 52, 56, 63, 67    70, 73, 77, 79.
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Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translated by Stephen Mitchell (1988)

In pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.

(1) practice (2) learning (3) each day (4) a gain
(5) practice (6) Tao (7) each day (8) a loss

Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.

When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.

True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way. [*]
It can't be gained by interfering.

[*] ELLEN M. CHEN comments:
"Simone Weil says that if God's process of making the
world is creation, our process of getting back to God is

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translated by J. H. McDonald (1996)

One who seeks knowledge learns something
      new every day.
One who seeks the Tao unlearns something
      new every day.
Less and less remains until you arrive
      at non-action. [*]
When you arrive at non-action,
nothing will be left undone.

Mastery of the world is achieved
by letting things take their natural course. [**]
You cannot master the world by changing the
      natural way.

[*] HO-SHANG-KUNG [an ancient commentator] says:
"The decrease is the decrease of desire.
The repeated decrease is that by which
it slowly vanishes."
[**] TS'AO TAO-CH'UNG [Taoist nun] comments:
"When someone rules by means of the Tao,
the world follows without thinking. The world
refers to the ten thousand things."

Chinese Character for Nothing, Wu
Pictograph = Early forms show a
person (shaman?) dancing
"When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translation by Yasuhiko Genku Kimura (2004)

The practice of ordinary learning increases complexity daily.
The practice of the Tao increases simplicity daily.

Simplicity leads to more simplicity,
until it reaches the state of pristine nonaction.

Then nothing is done, yet nothing remains undone.

Thus one who wins the world does so
By not meddling with it, through nonaction, with simplicity.

One who loses the world does so
By meddling with it, through action with complexity.


Daodejing / Tao Te Ching / Chapter Forty-Eight in Seal Script
(Zhuanshu 篆文, with Wang Pi / Wang Bi Version)
Chapter 48 Seal Script & Interlinear English
(1) practice (2) learning (3) each day (4) a gain
(5) practice (6) Tao (7) each day (8) a loss

(1) loss (2) the same's (3) again (4) loss
(5) thus (6) arriving (4) at (5) not (6) doing
(7) not (8) doing (9) and so (10) nothing (11) not (12) done

(1) take on / master (2) heaven (3) below (the world) (4) commonly
(5) therefore (6) without (7) worldliness
(8) to attempt (9) it (10) with (11) worldliness 
(11) is not (12) sufficient (13) therefore (14) to master (15) heaven (16) below
Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translated by C. Spurgeon Medhurst (1905)

The pursuit of study brings daily increase;
the pursuit of Tao brings daily decrease;
decrease upon decrease, until non-action is reached,
whence all action proceeds.

Only continued non-concern will win the Empire;
where there is concern there is an insufficiency for the task.


Chinese Character for Not, Bu
NO / NOT / BEYOND / (不= Bu)
(prefix of negation)
Pictograph = Bird rising to
heaven (disappearing)
"When you try and try, the
world is beyond the winning."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translated by R.B. Blakney (1955)

The student learns by daily increment.
The Way is gained by daily loss,
Loss upon loss until
At last comes rest.

By letting go, it all gets done;
The world is won by those who let it go!
But when you try and try,
The world is then beyond the winning.


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translated by Isabella Mears (1922)

By activity in learning we are daily enriched.
By activity of Tao we are daily diminished,
      diminished and yet more diminished,
      until we arrive at activity of Inner Life,
      and activity of Inner Life becomes
            stillness of Inner Life. [*]

By the practice of Inner Life stillness
      we can continually conquer all things.
By the practice of returning to possessions,
      nothing that we conquer will be
            sufficient for us.

[*] ISABELLA MEARS (1922) comments:
"An illustration of activity in stillness is in the spinning of a top. At its greatest speed there is most apparent stillness, and we say the top is then 'asleep.'"

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translated by Holly Roberts (2005)

Gaining knowledge, one increases daily.
Realizing the Tao, one decreases daily.
By decreasing and decreasing,
one abandons all greed.
When one is free of greed,
there is nothing one is lacking.

One attains understanding of the world by not grasping it.
Grasping for it,
one cannot attain it.


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translated by Ralph Alan Dale (2006)

To acquire a diploma
requires a storage of trivia.
To obtain the Great Integrity
requires their abandonment.

The more we are released
from vested fragments of knowledge,
the less we are compelled
to take vested actions,
until all is done without doing.

When the ego interferes
in the rhythms of process,
there is so much doing!
But nothing is done.


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translated by Herrymon Mauer (1985)

To get learning, add to it daily.
To get Tao, subtract daily.
Subtract and subtract
Until you achieve nothing-doing.
Do nothing-doing
And everything will get done.

(1) nothing (2) done (3) and (4) nothing
(5) not (6) done

To win beneath-heaven
Always avoid fussing.
If fussing is not avoided,
Beneath heaven is not won.


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translated by Timothy Freke (1999)

Someone seeking learning, knows more and more.
Someone seeking Tao, knows less and less.
Less and less until
things just
are what

 By simply being, 
everything gets done.
 Get things done 
by letting them happen.
 Struggling all the time, 
gets you nowhere.


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translated by Frank J. MacHovec (1962)

The scholar needs to know more and more each day.
The follower of Tao needs to know less and less each day.
By lessening knowledge one reaches serenity.
With serenity everything can be done. [*]
The world is won by those who leave it alone.
When one feels compelled to dominate, the world is already beyond reach.

[*] SUN BU-ER (PU-EHR) [Immortal Sister] comments:
"The Tao is uncontrived yet there is nothing it does not do.
It can be witnessed by the mind, not known by knowledge."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48 (Guodian)
translated by Robert G. Henricks (2000)

Those who [toil at] their studies increase day after day;
Those who practice the Way, decrease day after day.
They decrease and decrease,
Until they reach the point where they do nothing at all.
They do nothing, yet there is nothing left undone.
... ... ...
[last three lines omitted in the Guodian version]


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