Sanbao “Three Treasures”

Here are various translations of Chapter 67 of the “Tao Te Ching.”

Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world. (by Stephen Mitchell)

People say the Tao is great. This is because the Tao is formless and unlimited, so it cannot be compared against material things. If it could be compared, then no matter how big it is, there will always be something bigger to make it seem small. Thus, the Tao is great precisely because it is incomparable.

I have three treasures in the great Tao. They are precious to me, so I hold on to them and protect them. The first is compassion; the second is the wisdom to conserve resources; the third is the humility to keep me from getting in front of others.

Why compassion? Because love is the source of true courage. Why conservation? Because it helps you do more and go farther. Why not be out in front? Because true leadership means supporting everyone from the back. If you try being courageous without compassion, or being effective without conservation, or leading without the dedication to support… then you will fail and perish.

The only way to win the battle of life is to fight with true courage in defending all that is good. When you do that, Heaven itself will come to your aid — and protect you with its divine and compassionate power! (by Derek Lin)

All the world says: my teaching (Tao) greatly resembles folly.
Because it is great; therefore it resembles folly.
If it did not resemble folly,
It would have long ago become petty indeed!

I have Three Treasures;
Guard them and keep them safe:
the first is Love.
The second is, Never too much.
The third is, Never be the first in the world.
Through Love, one has no fear;
Through not doing too much, one has amplitude
(of reserve power);
Through not presuming to be the first in the world,
One can develop one’s talent and let it mature.

If one forsakes love and fearlessness,
forsakes restraint and reserve power,
forsakes following behind and rushes in front,
He is doomed!

For love is victorious in attack,
And invulnerable in defense.
Heaven arms with love
Those it would not see destroyed. (by Lin Yutang)

Post Author: Chad

A child of the universe. A student of life and death.