Friday, July 27, 2012

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 56

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 56

"One who understands won't be willing to use words;
One who uses words won't be willing to understand.
Shut off your dissipation.
Seal up your door.
Harmonize with your brightness.
Adapt to the dust in your life.
Blunt your sharpness.
Untangle your disorder.
This is correctly described as the mystery of putting the pieces together.
Therefore, what can't be obtained and held closely also can't be obtained and cast off.
What can't be obtained and used for profit also can't be obtained and used for harm.
What can't be obtained and valued also can't be obtained and cheapened.
Therefore, every action in the world is precious."
-   Translated by Nina Correa, Chapter 56

"Those who know do not talk
Those who talk do not know
Close the mouth
Shut the doors
Blunt the sharpness
Unravel the knots
Dim the glare
Mix the dust
This is called mystic oneness
They cannot obtain this and be closer
They cannot obtain this and be distant
They cannot obtain this and be benefited
They cannot obtain this and be harmed
They cannot obtain this and be valued
They cannot obtain this and be degraded
Therefore, they become honored by the world."
-   Translated by Derek Lin, Chapter 56

"The one who knows does not speak; the one who speaks does not know.
The wise man shuts his mouth and closes his gates.
He softens his sharpness, unravels his tangles, dims his brilliancy, and reckons himself with the mysterious.
He is inaccessible to favor or hate; he cannot be reached by profit or injury; he cannot be honored or humiliated.
Thereby he is honored by all."
-  Translated by Dwight Goddard, 1919, Chapter 56  

"Those who know, do not speak.
Those who speak, do not know.
So shut your mouth
Guard your senses
Blunt your sharpness
Untangle your affairs
Soften your glare
Be one with All dust.
This is the mystery of union.
You cannot approach it Yet you cannot escape it.
You cannot benefit it
Yet you cannot harm it.
You cannot bestow any honor on it
Yet you cannot rob it of its dignity.
That is why the whole Universe reveres it."
-   Translated by John Mabry, Chapter 56

"The one who speaks doesn't know,
The one who doesn't speak knows.
By closing the eyes, not hearing, not smelling,
Not touching, nor tasting, the senses are closed.
But a world of harmony it is opened in the mind.
The Wise Person is not concerned by friends,
enemies, glory or disgrace.
He reaches perfection by following the Tao Way."
-  Translated by Octavian Sarbatorare, Chapter 56 

"Those who know do not say; those who say do not know.
Close the senses, shut the doors; blunt the sharpness, resolve the complications; harmonize the light, assimilate to the world. This is called the mysterious sameness.
It cannot be made familiar, yet cannot be estranged; it cannot be profited, yet cannot be harmed; it cannot be valued, yet cannot be demeaned.
Therefore it is precious for the world."
-   Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 56 


  1. Thanks, Mike!

    What I find humorous is that so many sages will say things like "Those who know don't speak", and yet turn around and spend their lives writing books and giving lectures.

    Go figure, eh . . .:-)

  2. There is a time for speaking and writing, and a time for silence.

    In the political and social strife of Lao Tzu's day, the sages tried to follow the path of the solitary, remain unknown, hide their talents, and stay out of trouble.

    1. Times change, eh. I'm sure theirs was a wise strategy for those days, although now, I'm wondering how many would be using the proliferating social media. It seems most every teacher has a website, a YouTube channel, and/or a Twitter account these days! What it comes down to, it seems, is the fact that humans are a chatty species by nature.