What has not yet begun is easy to prevent.
The fragile is easily broken.
The minute is easily dispelled.
See things before they emerge.
Attend to them before they grow out of control.
A tree trunk that fills a man’s arms
begins as a tiny shoot.
A terrace nine stories high
begins with a basket of dirt.
A journey of a thousand miles
Those who strive meet defeat.
Those who grasp lose their grip.
The sage does nothing, and never fails.
He has nothing, and never loses.
Failure often comes on the verge of success.
Be as careful in the end as the beginning,
and there will be no failure.
The sage desires no-desire.
He does not value wealth.
He learns by not thinking.
He restores to others what has been lost.
He helps the ten thousand things return to original nature,
but does not interfere.