Nothing doing: Tao Te Ching, Chapter 37

This is the second chapter from the Tao Te Ching I’ve posted. I read in it frequently and delight in it like visiting an old friend. And like conversations with an old friend each one is the same and, at the same time, new. These posts are not translations because I don’t know Chinese, but rather are renditions based on the translations of others, a verbatim translation, and my reflections.

Following this chapter are three versions of this so far timeless classic of you might like.

Chapter 37

Tao does nothing,
But leaves nothing undone.

If leaders could grasp this,
all things would transform themselves.
Transformed, old desires would release their hold
through a simplicity without name.
Uninvolved with new desires…peace.

And the world settles itself.


1) Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English (The current “classic” version.)
2) Tao Te Ching: A New Translation by Sam Hamill (My chapter above is based mostly on Hamill’s. If you read only one translation…)
3) Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition translated by Jonathan Star (The verbatim translation in the appendix helps keep the imagination within the bounds of the possible.)


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