Bend and you will remain whole

From the John C. H. Wu translation of the Tao Te Ching, passage 22:

Bend and you will be whole.
Curl and you will be straight.
Keep empty and you will be filled.
Grow old and you will be renewed.
Have little and you will gain.
Have much and you will be confused.
Therefore, the Sage embraces the One,
And becomes a Pattern to all under Heaven.
He does not make a show of himself,
Hence he shines;
Does not justify himself,
Hence he becomes known;
Does not boast of his ability,
Hence he gets his credit;
Does not brandish his success,
Hence he endures;
Does not compete with anyone,
Hence no one can compete with him.
Indeed, the ancient saying, “Bend and you will remain whole” is no idle word.
Nay, if you have really attained wholeness, everything will flock to you.

About OneBreathMeditation

I have been meditating for 8 years, and while I don't consider myself an expert, I know I'm knowledgeable about the subject, and can possibly provide help to others who want to experience the enriching benefits of meditation.
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5 Responses to Bend and you will remain whole

  1. I have had the great honor of meeting a Sage who embodies all of this wisdom. In his example, I finally understand Lao-tzu’s meaning. Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem.

  2. Supriti says:

    Very nice blog. Thanks. Also nice information available at

  3. Ram says:

    Very good article.
    I read something on similar lines which I would like to share.

    Thank you

  4. Beth says:

    I like this poetry too, because it’s…I just like the tone.

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