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Chapter 38

1

Man at his birth is supple and weak; at his death, firm and strong. (So it is with) all things. Trees and plants, in their early growth, are soft and brittle; at their death, dry and withered.

2

Thus it is that firmness and strength are the concomitants of death; softness and weakness, the concomitants of life.

3

Hence he who (relies on) the strength of his forces does not conquer; and a tree which is strong will fill the out-stretched arms, (and thereby invites the feller.)

4

Therefore the place of what is firm and strong is below, and that of what is soft and weak is above.

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