Tao Te Ching: Stephen Mitchell Translation

The Tao Te Ching is one of the more important books in my life for the past thirty years. I am turning fifty this coming Monday and I have been reminiscing happily about everything that has come before. For better or worse this translation of the Tao made the book accessible to me in a way that many others I had read did not. And it made it much easier to delve deeper into other versions. This is the 9th poem of the Stephen Mitchell translation.

Fill your bowl to the brim

and it will spill.

Keep sharpening your knife

and it will blunt.

Chase after money and security

and your heart will never unclench.

Care about people’s approval

and you will be their prisoner.


Do you work, then step.

The only path to serenity.

Tao Te Ching