Tao Te Ching: Chapter 76

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Chapter 76


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.


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


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.)


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