The one who masters walking leaves no footprints.
The one who masters speaking makes no slips of the tongue.
The one who masters counting needs no tally tools to count.
The one who masters shutting the door needs no bolt,
yet it remains shut and none can open it.
The one who masters binding needs neither rope nor twine
but none can unbind what he has bound.
Hence the Sage is good at helping people.
He never abandons anyone.
Thus the Sage is good at helping things.
He never abandons anything.
Call this intrinsic wisdom.
But as the skillful is master of the unskilled
that unskilled becomes as a mirror to the skillful.
So when the unskilled would offer no respect to the skillful,
the skillful do not care for the unskilled.
This appears intelligent but really is great folly.
Such is an essential and profound point.
*Translation by LU Wenlong & Keith Wayne Brown, ©2013.