9th Verse


As I have said before, a teacup can hold a set amount of water.

You can pour in all you like, but it will eventually spill over and much will be lost.

At a certain level you can be satisfied. The water in the cup is all you need.

That which is still in the pot is desires like fame and fortune. Chase it and your cup will spill.


To keep on filling

is not as good as stopping.

Overfilled, the cupped hands drip,

better to stop pouring.

Sharpen a blade too much

and its edge will soon be lost.

Fill your house with jade and gold

and it brings insecurity.

Puff yourself with honor and pride

and no one can save you from a fall.

Retire when the work is done;

this is the way of heaven.

— Lao-tzu


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