The Tao and its characteristics. Translated by James Legge
as to the Tao have the happiness of attaining to it; those with whom he agrees as to its manifestation have the happiness of attaining to it; and those with whom he agrees in their failure have also the happiness of attaining (to the Tao). (But) when there is not faith sufficient (on his part), a want of faith (in him) ensues (on the part of the others).
24. He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm; he who stretches his legs does not walk (easily). (So), he who displays himself does not shine; he who asserts his own views is not distinguished; he who vaunts himself does not find his merit acknowledged; he who is self- conceited has no superiority allowed to him. Such conditions, viewed from the standpoint of the Tao, are like remnants of food, or a tumour on the body, which all dislike. Hence those who pursue (the course) of the Tao do not adopt and allow them.
25. 1. There was something undefined and complete, coming into existence before Heaven and Earth. How still it was and formless,
There are many, many translations of this work, Legge's being one of the earliest, if not the earliest, and he misses quite a few points along the way. However, this is a good place to start even if Lao Tzu is a bit more mysterious and unfathomable than usual!
Not a book to be read in a single sitting, the Tao Te Ching is intended to be digested slowly and thoughtfully over time. Each passes is an insight to be pondered and enjoyed on a variety of levels.
By design, the writing is unclear and somewhat riddle-like, but a reader who is patient enough to explore the variety of possibilities will undoubtedly find themselves richer for the experience.
The Tao Te Ching is the 2nd most published book in history next to the bible. It is not
a religious, but a philosophical book. Every human should read it for its' absolute and pure lessons on natural wisdom. I have read it many times and believe it to be the simplest yet deeply intellectual book ever written. There are many life lessons all of can learn from. . .so what are you waiting for?!