title: Tao Te Ching 7 - The Master stays behind
Book - Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu
Stephen Mitchell Translation
The Tao is infinite, eternal.
Why is it eternal?
It was never born;
thus it can never die.
Why is it infinite?
It has no desires for itself;
thus it is present for all beings.
The Master stays behind;
that is why she is ahead.
She is detached from all things;
that is why she is one with them.
Because she has let go of herself,
she is perfectly fulfilled. - Stephen Mitchell
Other translations I like
Heaven will last, earth will endure.
How can they last so long?
They don’t exist for themselves
and so can go on and on.
So wise souls leaving self behind
and setting self aside
Why let the self go?
To keep what the soul needs
Ursula Le Guin
Heaven and Earth are everlasting
The reason Heaven and Earth can last forever
Is that they do not exist for themselves
Thus they can last forever
Therefore the sages:
Place themselves last but end up in front
Are outside of themselves and yet survive
Is it not all due to their selflessness?
That is how they can achieve their own goals