Chapter 38 : 无为而无以为

 

上德不德是以有德。下德不失德是以无德。

上德无为而无以为。下德无为而有以为。

上仁为之而无以为。上义为之而有以为。

上礼为之而莫之以应,则攘臂而扔之。

故失道而後德。失德而後仁。

失仁而後义。失义而後礼。

夫礼者忠信之薄而乱之首。

前识者,道之华而愚之始。

是以大丈夫,处其厚不居其薄。

处其实,不居其华。故去彼取此。

 

One with high moral virtue, does not know of its own virtuous

One who believes that it has not lost any virtue, cannot be one with the Dao

The natural way, is the highest way of the Dao

The nurtured way, is the path to the way of the Dao (created by beings, to mimic the natural flow of the way)

This nurtured virtue is the path, beings chosen after losing the natural virtue

After nurtured virtue, comes benevolence, follow by righteousness, after that comes etiquette

And etiquette comes most unnaturally (man-made/forced) to beings, thus leading to the beginning of turmoils

 

(water flowing from the mountains to the sea, needs no action from man)