Taoizmi anlamak için asli kaynak olan Tao te ching'in metinde kullanılan kısımları için iki ayrı çeviriden alıntılar yapılmıştır. Metinin yorumlanmasından oluşabilecek anlam farklılıklarına dikkat çekmek üzere, kullanılan alıntıların geçtiği parçaların ilgili kısımlarına burada yer verilmektedir:

Not: İtalikle gösterilen kısımlar metinde kullanılan alıntıların geçtiği bölümleri göstermektedir.

Metin No
Çeviri Metni
Rosenthal'in Çevirisi
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.
Retire when the work is done.
This is the way of heaven.
He who seeks titles,
invites his own downfall.
The sage works quietly,
seeking neither praise nor fame;
completing what he does with natural ease,
and then retiring.
This is the way and nature of Tao.
Who does not trust enough will not be trusted.
When actions are performed
Without unnecessary speech,
People say, "We did it!"
The sage does not expect that others
use his criteria as their own.
The existence of the leader who is wise
is barely known to those he leads.
He acts without unnecessary speech,
so that the people say,
"It happened of its own accord".
When there is no peace within the family,
Filial piety and devotion arise.
When the country is confused and in chaos,
Loyal ministers appear.
All too often in the lives of men,
filial piety and devotion
arise only after conflict and strife,
just as loyal ministers all too often appear,
when the people are suppressed.
Man follows Earth.
Earth follows heaven.
Heaven follows the Tao.
Tao follows what is natural.
Man's laws should follow natural laws,
just as nature gives rise to physical laws,
whilst following from universal law,
which follows the Tao.
Force is followed by loss of strength.
This is not the way of Tao.
That which goes against the Tao comes to an early end.
He knows that boasting is not the natural way,
and that he who goes against that way,
will fail in his endeavours.
The great Tao flows everywhere, both to the left and to the right.
The ten thousand things depend upon it; it holds nothing back.
It fulfills its purpose silently and makes no claim.
All things may act, without exclusion,
according to the natural way,
which fulfills its purpose silently,
and with no claim.
What others teach, I also teach; that is:
"A violent man will die a violent death!"
This will be the essence of my teaching.
and lose by gaining,
and that a violent man
will not die a natural death.
Less and less is done
Until non-action is achieved.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.
The world is ruled by letting things take their course.
It cannot be ruled by interfering.
When effort is uncontrived,
nothing is left undone;
the way of nature rules
by allowing things to take their course,
not by contriving to change.
When the court is arrayed in splendor,
The fields are full of weeds,
And the granaries are bare.
Some wear gorgeous clothes,
Carry sharp swords,
And indulge themselves with food and drink;
They have more possessions than they can use.
They are robber barons.
This is certainly not the way of Tao.
When the court has adornments in profusion,
the fields are full of weeds,
and the granaries are bare.
It is not the way of nature to carry a sword,
nor to over-adorn oneself,
nor to have more than a sufficiency
of fine food and drink.
He who has more possessions than he can use,
deprives someone who could use them well.
It is not wise to rush about.
Controlling the breath causes strain.
If too much energy is used, exhaustion follows.
This is not the way of Tao.
Whatever is contrary to Tao will not last long.
It is unwise to rush from here to there.
To hold one's breath causes the body strain;
exhaustion follows
when too much energy is used,
for this is not the natural way.
He who is in opposition to the Tao
does not live his natural years.
Rule a nation with justice.
Wage war with surprise moves.
Become master of the universe without striving.
How do I know that this is so?
Because of this! 
The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men's weapons,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.
Therefore the sage says:
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.
With natural justice, people must be ruled,
and if war be waged, strategy and tactics used.
To master one's self,
one must act without cunning.
The greater the number of laws and restrictions,
the poorer the people who inhabit the land.
The sharper the weapons of battle and war,
the greater the troubles besetting the land.
The greater the cunning with which people are ruled,
the stranger the things which occur in the land.
The harder the rules and regulations,
the greater the number of those who will steal.
The sage therefore does not contrive,
in order to bring about reform,
but teaches the people peace of mind,
in order that they might enjoy their lives.
Having no desires, all he does is natural.
Since he teaches self-sufficiency,
the people who follow him return
to a good, uncomplicated life.
Practice non-action.
Work without doing.
Taste the tasteless.
Magnify the small, increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.
Act without contriving;
work naturally, and taste the tasteless;
magnify the small; increase the few,
and reward bitterness with care.
If the sage would guide the people, he must serve with humility.
If he would lead them, he must follow behind.
In this way when the sage rules, the people will not feel oppressed;
When he stands before them, they will not be harmed.
The whole world will support him and will not tire of him.
The teacher guides his students best,
by allowing them to lead.
When the ruler is a sage,
the people do not feel oppressed;
they support the one who rules them well,
and never tire of him.
Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
There is nothing more yielding than water,
yet when acting on the solid and strong,
its gentleness and fluidity
have no equal in any thing. 
The weak can overcome the strong,
and the supple overcome the hard.
A small country has fewer people.
Though there are machines that can work ten to a hundred
times faster than man, they are not needed.
The people take death seriously and do not travel far.
Though they have boats and carriages, no one uses them.
Though they have armor and weapons, no one displays them.
Men return to the knotting of rope in place of writing.
Their food is plain and good, their clothes fine but simple, their homes secure;
They are happy in their ways.
Though they live within sight of their neighbors,
And crowing cocks and barking dogs are heard across the way,
Yet they leave each other in peace while they grow old and die.
A small country may have many machines,
but the people will have no use for them;
they will have boats and carriages
which they do not use;
their armour and weapons
are not displayed,
for they are serious when regarding death.
They do not travel far from home,
and make knots in ropes,
rather than do much writing. 
The food they eat is plain and good,
and their clothes are simple;
their homes are secure,
without the need of bolts and bars,
and they are happy in their ways.
'Though the cockerels and dogs
of their neighbours
can be heard not far away,
the people of the villages
grow old and die in peace. 
"Tao tch ching"
"A Translation by Stan Rosenthal"

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