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That which lies still is easy to hold;

That which is not yet manifest is easy to forestall;

That which is brittle (like ice) easily melts;

That which is minute easily scatters.

Deal with a thing before it is there;

Check disorder before it is rife.

A tree with a full span's girth begins from a tiny sprout;

A nine-storied terrace begins with a clod of earth.

A journey of a thousand li beings at one's feet.

He who acts, spoils;

He who grasps, lets slip.

Because the Sage does not act, he does not spoil,

Because he does not grasp, he does not let slip.

The affairs of men are often spoiled within an ace of

completion.

By being careful at the end as at the beginning

Failure is averted.

Therefore the Sage desires to have no desire,

And values not objects difficult to obtain.

Learns that which is unlearned,

And restores what the multitude have lost.

That he may assist in the course of Nature

And not presume to interfere.

其安易持;其未兆易谋;其脆易泮;其微易散。为之于未有,治之于未乱。合抱之木,生于毫末;九层之台,起于累土;千里之行,始于足下。为者败之;持者失之。是以,圣人无为,故无败;无持,故无失。民之从事,常于几成而败之。慎终如始,则无败事。是以圣人欲不欲,不贵难得之货,学不学,复众人之所过。以辅万物自然而不敢为。

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