Monday, September 16, 2013

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 14

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 14

"We look at it, and do not see it; it is invisible.
We listen to it, and do not hear it; it is inaudible.
We touch it, and do not feel it; it is intangible.
These three elude our inquiries, and hence merge into one.
Not by its rising, is it bright,
nor by its sinking, is it dark.
Infinite and eternal, it cannot be defined.
It returns to nothingness.
This is the form of the formless, being in non-being.
It is nebulous and elusive.
Meet it, and you do not see its beginning.
Follow it, and you do not see its end.
Stay with the ancient Way
in order to master what is present.
Knowing the primeval beginning is the essence of the Way."
-  Translated by Sanderson Beck, 1996, Chapter 14  

"What is looked at but not (pu) seen,
Is named the extremely dim (yi).
What is listened to but not heard,
Is named the extremely faint (hsi).
What is grabbed but not caught,
Is named the extremely small (wei).
These three cannot be comprehended,
Thus they blend into one.
As to the one, its coming up is not light,
Its going down is not darkness.
Unceasing, unnameable,
Again it reverts to nothing.
Therefore it is called the formless form,
The image (hsiang) of nothing.
Therefore it is said to be illusive and evasive (hu-huang).
Come toward it one does not see its head,
Follow behind it one does not see its rear.
Holding on to the Tao of old (ku chih tao),
So as to steer in the world of now (chin chih yu).
To be able to know the beginning of old,
It is to know the thread of Tao."
-  Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 2000, Chapter 14

"We look for it but do not see it:
    we name it "subtle."
We listen for it but do not hear it;
    we name it "rare."
We grope for it but do not grasp it;
    we name it "serene." 
These three cannot be fully fathomed,
They are bound together to make unity.
Of unity,
its top is not distant,
its bottom is not blurred.
Infinitely extended
and unnameable,
It returns to non-entity.
This is called
"the form of the formless,"
"the image of nonentity."
This is called "the amorphous."
Following behind it,
    you cannot see its back;
Approaching it from the front,
    you cannot see its head.
Hold to the Way of today
    to manage the actualities of today
    thereby understanding the primeval beginning.
This is called "the thread of the Way.""
-  Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 14 

"When you look, it isn't there
Listen and you cannot hear it
It seems to be beyond your reach
Because you are so near it
This single source of everything
Appears to be an empty image
Though it cannot be understood
You can see its naked visage
Follow it to nothingness
Approach it where you have no face
From nowhere to infinity
This vacant image leaves no trace
From never to eternity
This naked face is what you are
An empty, vacant, open door
Forevermore ajar"
-  Translated by Jim Clatfelder, 2000, Chapter 14  

"Look, it cannot be seen,
So it is called invisible.
Listen, it cannot be heard,
So it is called soundless.
Touch, it cannot be caught,
So it is called elusive.
These three cannot be examined,
So they unite into one.  
Above it there is no light,  
Below it there is no darkness.
Endlessness beyond description.
It returns to non-existence.
It is called the shapeless shape,
The substance without form.
It is called obscurely evasive.
Meet it and you do not see its beginning,
Follow it and you do not see its end.
Hold on to the ancient Way to master the present,
And to learn the distant beginning.
This is called the unbroken strand of the Way."
-  Translated by Stefan Stenudd, Chapter 14

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching



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