Tao Te Ching - Part II
In holding the soul and embracing oneness Can one be steadfast, without straying? In concentrating the energy and reaching relaxation Can one be like an infant? In cleaning away the worldly view Can one be without imperfections? In loving the people and ruling the nation Can one be without manipulation? In the heavenly gate's opening and closing Can one hold to the feminine principle? In understanding clearly all directions Can one be without intellectuality?
Bearing it, rearing it Bearing without possession Achieving without arrogance Raising without domination This is called the Mystic Virtue
Thirty spokes join in one hub In its emptiness, there is the function of a vehicle Mix clay to create a container In its emptiness, there is the function of a container Cut open doors and windows to create a room In its emptiness, there is the function of a room
Therefore, that which exists is used to create benefit That which is empty is used to create functionality
The five colors make one blind in the eyes The five sounds make one deaf in the ears The five flavors make one tasteless in the mouth
Racing and hunting make one wild in the heart Goods that are difficult to acquire make one cause damage
Therefore the sages care for the stomach and not the eyes That is why they discard the other and take this
Favor and disgrace make one fearful The greatest misfortune is the self What does "favor and disgrace make one fearful" mean? Favor is high; disgrace is low Having it makes one fearful Losing it makes one fearful This is "favor and disgrace make one fearful"
What does "the greatest misfortune is the self" mean? The reason I have great misfortune Is that I have the self If I have no self What misfortune do I have?
So one who values the self as the world Can be given the world One who loves the self as the world Can be entrusted with the world
Look at it, it cannot be seen It is called colorless Listen to it, it cannot be heard It is called noiseless Reach for it, it cannot be held It is called formless These three cannot be completely unraveled So they are combined into one
Above it, not bright Below it, not dark Continuing endlessly, cannot be named It returns back into nothingness Thus it is called the form of the formless The image of the imageless This is called enigmatic Confront it, its front cannot be seen Follow it, its back cannot be seen
Wield the Tao of the ancients To manage the existence of today One can know the ancient beginning It is called the Tao Axiom
The Tao masters of antiquity Subtle wonders through mystery Depths that cannot be discerned Because one cannot discern them Therefore one is forced to describe the appearance
Hesitant, like crossing a wintry river Cautious, like fearing four neighbors Solemn, like a guest Loose, like ice about to melt Genuine, like plain wood Open, like a valley Opaque, like muddy water
Who can be muddled yet desist In stillness gradually become clear? Who can be serene yet persist In motion gradually come alive?
One who holds this Tao does not wish to be overfilled Because one is not overfilled Therefore one can preserve and not create anew
Attain the ultimate emptiness Hold on to the truest tranquility The myriad things are all active I therefore watch their return
Everything flourishes; each returns to its root Returning to the root is called tranquility Tranquility is called returning to one's nature Returning to one's nature is called constancy Knowing constancy is called clarity
Not knowing constancy, one recklessly causes trouble Knowing constancy is acceptance Acceptance is impartiality Impartiality is sovereign Sovereign is Heaven Heaven is Tao Tao is eternal The self is no more, without danger
The highest rulers, people do not know they have them The next level, people love them and praise them The next level, people fear them The next level, people despise them If the rulers' trust is insufficient Have no trust in them
Proceeding calmly, valuing their words Task accomplished, matter settled The people all say, "We did it naturally"
The great Tao fades away There is benevolence and justice Intelligence comes forth There is great deception
The six relations are not harmonious There is filial piety and kind affection The country is in confused chaos There are loyal ministers
Translation by Derek Lin
Credit source www.Taoism.net and Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained,
published by SkyLight Paths in 2006