A friend left me this at work, I think it is a proverb but Google gave me different translations each time which confused me as none of it made sense.

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1 Answer 1


From Tao Te Ching ("Canon of morality") attributed to Laozi. These words are excerpted from various parts. Various translation exists, and here I am just being literal.

上善若水。水善利萬物而不爭。(part 8)
The utmost goodness [or benevolence] is like the water. Water is good at being benevolent to everything, and does not compete with them.

守靜篤。(part 16)
It is concrete to hold stillness.
[or better, "Surely you must be calm."

靜爲躁君。(part 26)
Stillness is the monarch of the movement.
[Or better, "The waiting person rules the impatient person."]

清靜為天下正。(part 45)
Stilness is the right thing of the world.
[Or maybe "Inactivity is the principle of reigning."]

It seems your friend admires Lauzi very much ; )

  • 1
    @Safeen then up-vote it
    – Mou某
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 6:23
  • @user3306356 Safeen can't upvote the answer, since (s)he doesn't have 15 reputation points. However, (s)he can accept the answer by clicking the green checkmark.
    – wythagoras
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 9:37
  • @wythagoras Three upvotes for this question will give them the points they need - I took care of the first up-vote.
    – Mou某
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 13:34
  • I just gave the third. Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 16:00

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