We put thirty spokes to make a wheel: But it is on the hole in the center that the use of the cart hinges. We make a vessel from a lump of clay; But it is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful. We make doors and windows for a room; But it is the empty spaces that make the room livable. Thus, while existence has advantages, It is the emptiness that makes it useful.
When virtue is lost, benevolence appears; when benevolence is lost, right conduct appears; when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder.
Who can enjoy enlightenment and remain indifferent to suffering in the world? This is not in keeping with the Way. Only those who increase their service along with their understanding can be called men and women of Tao.
The new life created by the final integration is self-aware yet without ego, capable of inhabiting a body yet not attached to it, and guided by wisdom rather than emotion. Whole and virtuous, it can never die.
A man's excellence is like that of water; It benefits all things without striving; It takes to the low places shunned by men. Water is akin to Tao. . . . In all the earth nothing weaker than water, Yet in attacking the hard, nothing superior, Nothing so certain in wearing down strength: There is no way to resist it. Note then: The weak conquer the strong, The yielding outlast the aggressors.