70: The Hidden

My words are very easy to understand
and put into practice
yet no one in the world understands them
or puts them into practice.

Words have a lord
and deeds have a master
and just as he is unknown
so I too remain unknown.

I am known only to a few
and for this reason I am well-known.

The one who knows
cloaks himself in common cloth
and hides a jewel under it.

71: Enigmatic Lucidity

To know the unknowable
is a high achievement.
Not to know
what can be known
is a kind of sickness.
Only when we become sick of sickness
can we stop being sick.
The one who knows
is not sick
because he is sick of sickness.

72: The Burden of Life

It is when people least expect
what they fear
that what they feared
descends on them.

Don’t fence them in.
Don’t make their lives a burden.

Only when their lives are not a burden
will they not become weary of life.

The wise man prefers self-knowledge
to self-regard,
self-contentment to self-love,
takes this, not that.

73: The Net of Heaven

The courage to act
can lead to death.
The courage not to act
can preserve life.
Each is sometimes right,
sometimes wrong.

Who knows what the will of Heaven is
in what it chooses?
Even the wise man
finds it hard
to fathom a reason.

The Tao of Heaven
never argues
yet always wins the argument,
never asks
but has a way of answering,
can’t be summoned at will
and yet it comes.
It is slow
but sure.

The net of Heaven
is wide and open
yet nothing is ever lost.