After a great enmity is settled
some enmity always remains.
How to make peace?
Wise souls keep their part of the contract
and don’t make demands on others.
People whose power is real fulfil their obligations;
people whose power is hollow insist on their claims.
The Way of heaven plays no favorites.
It stays with the good.
Le Guin’s commentary:
The chapter is equally relevant to private relationships and to political treaties. Its realistic morality is based on a mystical perception of the fullness of the Way.
That’s really what it amounts to.
Don’t take advantage of others.
Don’t exert force upon others.
Be like water, friend.