When the wise student hears of Tao,
he practices diligently.
When the average student hears of Tao,
he practices off and on.
When the foolish student hears of Tao,
he laughs out loud.
If the foolish do not laugh, it is not Tao.
Thus it is said:
The path of light is through darkness.
The road ahead leads back.
The easy way is most difficult.
The highest fulfillment is emptiness.
True purity seems sullied.
True abundance seems bereft.
True power seems weak.
True substance seems hollow.
The greatest region has no boundaries.
The best tools are fashioned slowly.
The highest sounds are hard to hear.
The perfect form has no shape.
Tao is unseen, undefined.
Yet Tao alone nourishes,
and brings all things to fulfillment.