He who knows the masculine and keeps to the feminine
Will be the river of the world.¹
Being the river of the world
He will never be separated from eternal Virtue,²
Becoming once again a little child.
He who knows the white and keeps to the black
Will be an example for the whole world.
Being an example for the whole world
He will never stray from eternal Virtue,
And he will return to the infinite.
He who knows honour and keeps to the humble
Will be the valley of the world.
Being the valley of the world
He will be content with eternal Virtue,
And become like an uncarved block.³
When the block is carved, it is made into useful things.
And when the Sage makes use of them, he becomes the ruler.
It is the best carver who does the least cutting.
1. i.e. as all moisture flows to the main river, so all the people will come to the Sage to be enlightened.
2. i.e. he will be in accord with the Tao, in accord with the way things are naturally meant to be.
3. i.e. the most simple of things, uninfluenced by conscious actions.