Sunday, October 06, 2013

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 11

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 11



"Thirty spokes unite in a nave, but the nothingness in the hub
Gives to the wheel its usefulness, for thereupon it goes round;
The potter kneads the clay as he works, with many a twist and rub,
But in the nothingness within, the vessel's use is found;
Doors and windows cut in the walls thereby a room will make,
But in its nothingness is found the room' s utility;
So the profit of existences is only for the sake
Of non-existences, where all the use is found to be."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 11 

"Thirty spokes share one hub.
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the cart.
Knead clay in order to make a vessel.
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the vessel.
Cut out doors and windows in order to make a room.
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the room.
Thus what we gain is Something, yet it is by virtue of Nothing that this can be put to use."
-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 11  

"Although the wheel has thirty spokes its utility lies in the emptiness of the hub.
The jar is made by kneading clay, but its usefulness consists in its capacity.
A room is made by cutting out windows and doors through the walls, but the space the walls contain measures the room's value.
In the same way matter is necessary to form, but the value of reality lies in its immateriality.
Or thus: a material body is necessary to existence, but the value of a life is measured by its immaterial soul."
-  Translated by Dwight Goddard and Henri Borel, 1919, Chapter 11


"Thirty spokes will converge
In the hub of a wheel;
But the use of the cart
Will depend on the part
Of the hub that is void.
With a wall all around
A clay bowl is molded;
But the use of the bowl
Will depend on the part
Of the bowl that is void.
Cut out windows and doors
In the house as you build;
But the use of the house
Will depend on the space
In the walls that is void.
So advantage is had
From whatever is there;
But usefulness rises
From whatever is not."
-  Translated by Raymond Blackney, 1955, Chapter 11   


"Though thirty spokes may be joined in one hub, the utility of the carriage lies in what is not there.
Though clay may be moulded into a vase, the utility of the vase lies in what is not there
Though doors and windows may be cut to make a house, the utility of the house lies in what is not there.
Therefore, taking advantage of what is, we recognize the utility of what is not."
-  Translated by Jan J. L. Duyvendak, 1954, Chapter 11 




Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu: Introduction, Bibliography, Commentary, Chapter Index







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