大成若缺
其用不弊。
大盈若沖,
其用不窮。
大直若屈;
大巧若拙,
大辯若訥。

1. Who thinks his great achievements poor
    Shall find his vigour long endure.
    Of greatest fulness, deemed a void,
    Exhaustion ne'er shall stem the tide.
    Do thou what's straight still crooked deem;
    Thy greatest art still stupid seem,
    And eloquence a stammering scream.

躁勝寒;靜勝熱。清靜為天下正。

3. Constant action overcomes cold; being still overcomes heat. Purity and stillness give the correct law to all under heaven.

Legge's Comments

洪德, 'Great or Overflowing Virtue.' The chapter is another illustration of the working of the Dao by contraries.

According to Wu Cheng, the action which overcomes cold is that of the Yang element in the developing primordial ether; and the stillness which overcomes heat is that of the contrary Yin element. These may have been in Laozi's mind, but the statements are so simple as hardly to need any comment. Wu further says that the purity and stillness are descriptive of the condition of non-action.