Translating this second fundamental term to “Virtue” has worse problems with connotations than “Dao” does, but many translations that avoid translating “Dao” make free use of this term.

Again, the match is still good for my purposes, especially if you consider the full range of definitions of “virtue”, which include peculiar efficacy, power and strength, and generic excellence, in addition to the conventional connotation of moral excellence (and sexual chastity in particular, which is irrelevant here).

Since all these uses (including the last) are somewhat dated, this also helps contribute an archaic gloss to the overall text. I have similarly capitalized “Virtue” when used in the sense of the “higher virtue” of the title.


Although Virtue does not make an appearance until chapter 10, it is part of the name of the original text, which is the Dao *De* Jing — literally (in reverse order) “the Classic Book of Virtue and the Way”.