Tao Te Ching – Verse 22

Tao Te Ching – Verse 22

What meaning does this verse hold for you?

This post is the second in a series of extracts from the Tao Te Ching.

Each post will present two translations of the same verse. Over time, translations will be drawn from a range of different publications.

The suggestion offered here, is not to focus on what is meant by the verse, but to listen to what is resonating in our hearts as we recite the words out loud.


“Tao Te Ching” 3rd ed

Gua-Fu Feng and Jane English 2011


Yield and overcome;

Bend and be straight;

Empty and be full;

Wear out and be new;

Have little and gain;

Have much and be confused.


Therefore the wise embrace the one

And set an example for all.

Not putting on a display,

They shine forth.

Not justifying themselves,

They are distinguished.

Not boasting,

They receive recognition.

Not bragging,

They never falter.

They do not quarrel,

So on one quarrels with them.

Therefore the ancients say, “Yield and overcome.”

Is that an empty saying?

Be truly whole,

And all things will come to you.

“Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching”

Ralf Alan Dale 2016


No-thing remains itself.

Each prepares the path to its opposite.


To be ready for wholeness, first be fragmented.

To be ready for rightness, first be wronged.

To be ready for fullness, first be empty.

To be ready for renewal, first be worn out.

To be ready for success, first fail.

To be ready for doubt, first be certain.


Because the wise observe the world

through the Great Integrity,

they know they are not knowledgeable.

Because they do not perceive

only through their perceptions,

they do not judge this right and that wrong.

Because they do not delight in boasting,

they are appreciated.

Because they do not announce their superiority,

they are acclaimed.

Because they never compete,

no one can compete with them.


Verily, fragmentation prepares the path to wholeness,

the mother of all origins and realisations.