Chapter 56 The mysterious excellence


1. He who knows (the Tao) does not (care to) speak (about it); he who is (ever ready to) speak about it does not know it.

2. He (who knows it) will keep his mouth shut and close the portals (of his nostrils). He will blunt his sharp points and unravel the complications of things; he will attemper his brightness, and bring himself into agreement with the obscurity (of others). This is called ‘the Mysterious Agreement.’

3. (Such an one) cannot be treated familiarly or distantly; he is beyond all consideration of profit or injury; of nobility or meanness: — he is the noblest man under heaven.

Derek Lin
Those who know do not talk
Those who talk do not know

Close the mouth
Shut the doors
Blunt the sharpness
Unravel the knots
Dim the glare
Mix the dust
This is called Mystic Oneness

They cannot obtain this and be closer
They cannot obtain this and be distant
They cannot obtain this and be benefited
They cannot obtain this and be harmed
They cannot obtain this and be valued
They cannot obtain this and be degraded
Therefore, they become honored by the world

Peter Merel

Who understands does not preach;
Who preaches does not understand.
Reserve your judgments and words;
Smooth differences and forgive disagreements;
Dull your wit and simplify your purpose;
Accept the world.
Friendship and enmity,
Profit and loss,
Honour and disgrace,
Will not affect you;
The world will accept you.