Heaven is eternal, the Earth Everlasting. How come they to be so? Is it
because they do not foster their own lives; That is why they live so long.
Therefore the Sage Puts himself in the background; but is always to the
fore. Remains outside; but is always there. Is it not just because he does
not strive for any personal end That all his personal ends are fulfilled?
The highest good is like that of water. The goodness of water is that it
benefits the ten thousand creatures; yet itself does not scramble, but is
content with the places that all men disdain. It is this that makes water
so near to the Way. And if men think the ground the best place for
building a house upon, If among thoughts they value those that are
profound, If in friendship they value gentleness, In words, truth; in
government, good order; In deeds, effectiveness; in actions, timeliness-
In each case it is because they prefer what does not lead to strife,
And therefore does not go amiss.
Even ordinary people realize the importance of the Taoist principle of
'water-like' behaviour, i.e. not striving to get on top or to the fore.
Stretch a bow to the very full, And you will wish you had stopped in
time; Temper a sword-edge to its very sharpest, And you will find it soon
grows dull When bronze and jade fill your hall It can no longer be
guarded. Wealth and place breed insolence That brings ruin in its train.
When your work is done, then withdraw! Such is Heaven's Way.
 the expression used can also apply to filling a vessel to the brim;
but 'stretching a bow' makes a better parallel to 'sharpening a sword'.
 as opposed to the Way of man