"Vast virtue's form
Follows Reason's norm.
And Reason's nature
Is vague and eluding.
How eluding and vague
All types including!
How vague and eluding,
All beings including!
How deep and how obscure.
It harbors the spirit pure,
Whose truth is ever sure,
Whose faith abides for aye
From of yore until to-day.
Its name is never vanishing,
It heeds the good of everything.
Through what do I know that "it heeds the good of everything"?
In this way, verily: Through it."
- Translated by Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 21
"The appearance of Virtue in its fullest exuberance is no more than the result of compliance with the Tao.
Tao, considered as an entity, is obscure and vague.
Vague and obscure!
Yet within it there is Form.
Obscure and vague!
Yet within it there is Substance.
Vacuous and unfathomable!
Yet within it there is Quintessential Energy—and this is supremely real.
Within it, too, there is Trustworthiness.
From from ancient down to modern times its name has never been lost
By it I can include in the range of my observation the whole of animate nature.
How am I cognizant of the acquiescence of animate nature in the Tao?
By the Tao itself."
- Translated by Frederic H. Balfour, 1884, Chapter 21
"The features (yung) of the vast (k'ung) Te,
Follows entirely (wei) from Tao.
Tao as a thing,
Is entirely illusive (huang) and evasive (hu).
Evasive and illusive,
In it there is image (hsiang).
Illusive and evasive,
In it there is thinghood (wu).
Dark and dim,
In it there is life seed (ching).
Its life seed being very genuine (chen),
In it there is growth power (hsin).
As it is today, so it was in the days of old (ku),
Its name goes not away (ch'ü),
So that we may survey (yüeh) the origins of the many (chung fu).
How do I know that the origins of the many are such?
Because of this."
- Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 2000, Chapter 21
"The appearance of grand integrity is that it follows the Way alone.
The Way objectified is blurred and nebulous.
How nebulous and blurred!
Yet within it there are images.
How blurred and nebulous!
Yet within it there are objects.
How cavernous and dark!
Yet within it there is an essence.
Its essence is quite real;
Within it there are tokens.
From the present back to the past,
Its name has been imperishable.
Through it we conform to the father of the masses.
How do I know what the father of the masses is like?
- Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 21
"The complete manifestation of things visible proceeds only from Life.
In its nature Life is always coming into activity, yet in itself it eludes our sight and tough.
Eluding sight! eluding touch!
Within it are hid the plane of created things.
Eluding touch! eluding sight!
Within it are hid all created beings.
It is profound! It is obscure!
Within it is hid pure Spirit.
It is pure Spirit, enfolding Truth!
Within it is hid an infallible witness.
Free of Old until Now
Its Name remains unchanged.
Through its Doorway comes the Universe into existence.
How do I know that the Universe is coming to full perfection through Life?
The witness is in Life itself."
- Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 21
"A Quintessential Energy, supremely real.
The Life Seed, growing, genuine, overflowing.
Yet Within the Within, a spacious void,
Dark and Obscure, vague and unfathomable.
As Sure as Something, as nebulous as nothing.
As Clear as Light, as profound as darkness.
Grasped and Touched, released and beyond reach.
Fragrant as springtime orange blossoms, scentless as the winter fig.
The Essentials and the Unknown, the One and the ten thousand things.
Coming into Being, returning to infinite emptiness.
The Names are Spoken, the unnamed is silent.
Profound Doorways Open to the Way, old men reflect on the journey."
- Interpolation by Michael P. Garofalo, 2013, Chapter 21