Daodejing Chapter 43: the value of effortless action

Richard Brown
1 min readJul 11, 2023

The softest thing
In all-under-heaven
Overcomes the hardest.
Non-being enters non-space.
I know the benefits of
Effortless action.
Teaching without words,
The benefits of effortless action,
Few in all-under-heaven apply them.

「天下之至柔,馳騁天下之至堅。無有入無間, 吾是以知無為之有益。不言之教,無為之益,天下希及之。」

No matter how intractable a problem appears to be at first sight, there is always a way to solve it if you examine it from all possible angles rather than rushing into dealing it with the first possible answer that comes into your head.

Just as water erodes even the strongest boulders and air finds its way through even the smallest cracks, you too will overcome any obstacles you encounter by applying the principle of wuwei (無為), or effortless action . Of course, that means you need to learn to be patient, but it will prevent you from having to waste even more time and energy later cleaning up the even greater mess you created with your quick fix.

Note
I took this image at Longhu (Dragon Tiger) Mountain, a famous Daoist site about ten miles south of Yingtan in Jiangxi Province. A great place to visit!

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Richard Brown

I live in Taiwan and am interested in exploring what ancient Chinese philosophy can tell us about technology and the rise of modern China.