Those who practice Tao well
Do not seek to enlighten others,
Make them aware of their ignorance.
People who think they know the answers are difficult to govern.
He who thinks he has all the answers is a robber of the state.
He who is simple hearted and blended with the people is a blessing to the state.
One who knows these two things also knows the secret.
Simplicity is a profound and secret virtue.
Not using cunning is a deep virtue.
Be content with an ordinary life.
Show people the way back to their original state.
Then complete harmony will be reached.
As I Understand It:
“I don’t know” is a powerful phrase.
This chapter, meant for politicians, may be also read from a personal point of view. The sage says don’t force your rules upon the people you lead, guide or supervise. Don’t try to impress them with your superiority. Know that none of us have answers to everything. Make people aware of their own original mind.
Surrender your ego. Know that you do not know. Be humble and stay simple hearted. Enjoy your link with the Tao energy. Seek pleasure within. And do not interfere with other people’s way of life. Be like nature. Nature does not interfere. Things grow in its silent and invisible presence.
Watch but do not force your ideas on anyone. The truth is that each one of us has to find her or his own way. None of us have answers. A silent destiny is always present.
Dyer, W. Wayne. Change Your Thought–Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao. Hay House, Inc. 2007.
The Way of Lao Tzu (Tao-te Ching), Translated, with introductory essays, comments, and notes by Chan, Wing-Tsit. The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. 1963.