Tao Te Ching 63: The Art of Simplicity

– 63 –

Act without doing,

strive for the effortless.

Enjoy the plain and simple.

See simplicity in the complicated.

Achieve greatness in little things.

Difficult problems are best solved

while they are still easy.


Great projects are best started

while they are still small.

The Sage never takes on more

than she can handle,

which means that she leaves

nothing undone.


She never strives for greatness,

thus she achieves greatness.

When she runs into a difficulty,

she stops and gives herself to it.

Because she always confronts difficulties,

the task is always easier than planned.


This verse offers advice for daily life, for approaching work and projects of any kind and for dealing with difficulties and avoiding undue problems.

The Sage sees the large in the small and simplicity in the seemingly complex. Simplicity seems to be the key message. Rather than chasing after the grandiose, the Sage keeps her focus on the small details, simply doing one thing at a time, and never taking on more than she can handle.

She works simply, effortlessly, without forcing things and is sure to tackle problems before they get out of hand. These simple instructions offer a Tao-based approach to daily life and promise an easier, smoother path than we might otherwise experience when we lose touch with the natural flow.

If you have enjoyed this series on the Tao Te Ching, it is now available as a collected volume in both paperback and ebook format on Amazon.


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