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Step 9: Give without keeping an account.

Principle: Justice

The 27th verse of the Tao asks us to give to others without keeping an account or expecting something in return. This principle equates giving with receiving. One is equally as important and virtuous as the other. Both are equal aspects of the practice of circulation. Both require an element of trust - trust that ultimately justice and fairness prevail. Trust in the law of karma which affirms that for every action their is a corresponding reaction. When we learn to trust in the Tao we come to understand that everything exists in harmony. Nature is harmony. In order for us to live harmoniously we need to give whenever possible and to receive whatever is ours.

Text or Verse

A knower of the truth travels without leaving a trace,
speaks without causing harm, gives without keeping an account.
The door he shuts, though having no lock, cannot be opened.
The knot he ties, though using no cord, cannot be undone.

Be wise and help all beings impartially, abandoning none.
Waste no opportunities.
This is called following the light.

What is a good man but a bad man's teacher?
What is a bad man but a good man's job?
if the teacher is not respected and the student not cared for,
confusion will arise, however clever one is.
This is the great secret.
27th Verse
Tao Te Ching


  1. Today give of yourself every time you can find an opportunity to do so.
  2. Be kind, be loving, be compassionate, be generous, be honest.
  3. And, give one gift or perform one generous act anonymously.


Dyer, Dr. Wayne. Change your Thoughts, Change your Life. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2007.

Lao Tzu. trans. by Stephen Mitchell. Tao Te Ching: A New English Version.


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