Dao De Jing
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Verse Sixteen


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2007

Verse Sixteen, Stephen Mitchell, 1988

Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don't realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.

Verse Sixteen, Jonathan Star, 2001

Become totally empty
Quiet the restlessness of the mind
Only then will you witness everything unfolding from emptiness
See all things flourish and dance in endless variation
And once again merge back into perfect emptiness €
Their true repose
Their true nature
Emerging. Flourishing, dissolving back again
This is the eternal process of return
To know this process brings enlightenment
To miss this process brings disaster
Be still
Stillness reveals the secret of eternity
Eternity embraces the all-possible
The all-possible leads to a vision of oneness
A vision of oneness brings about universal love
Universal love supports the great truth of Nature
The great truth of Nature is Tao
Whoever knows this truth lives forever
The body may perish, deeds may be forgotten
But he who has Tao has all eternity


From: jimclatfelter
Location: California
Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2007

Verse 16 could be called the immortality verse, the chapter on death and perishing. Some translators have considered it to be about longevity, others about physical immortality. The two versions I posted above take two different approaches. Stephen Mitchell talks about being ready for death. Jonathan Star talks about having eternity.

I just want to add a brief paraphrase of Verse 16. This is the way I see this section anyway.

Find complete emptiness,
the place of constant peace,
where all arises, all returns.
Returning to origin
is returning to peace,
to original nature,
to the timeless.
Not returning to the timeless
courts disaster.
Returning brings wholeness.
Wholeness means impartial.
Impartial means noble.
Noble means natural.
Natural means Tao.
Tao means forever.
Though the body die,
One who has Tao
has eternity.

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008

Quote: Stillness reveals the secret of eternity

I like that!

There is a wonderful simplicity in this tradition, simple statement of fact that coincides with seeing as "surrendering to the evidence'.

Couldn't wish for anything better for the 'new' year!

Happy limitless Present...
simon


From: Janet
Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008

jimclatfelter wrote:
Find complete emptiness,
the place of constant peace

hi jim and simon,

very tranquil with what all these words are pointing to.

i like 'complete emptiness, the place of constant peace'.

one may think that having things a certain way will bring peace. it is not found there. things are everchanging, so any peace there would be temporary. eternal peace is ever-present, space for the passing changes.

that it what i like about douglas's talk from the link. the processes of life, including death are there -looking out. there, are where the changes are seen. here, is constant unchanging presence (uninterrupted), for all that is -there.

love,
janet


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008

Hi Simon,

I like that way of putting it. What we are dealing with in the Tao Te Ching are just "simple statement of facts." And a perfect fit with seeing.

Hi Janet,

It's all about place, isn't it? The place of peace is always with us, and so is the place of change. The constant and the changing. We know where to look to find either. When we have too much of one, the other is never far off. Everything is in place, now and always.

Jim


From: Janet
Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2008

hi jim,

i like how you put it, "The place of peace is always with us, and so is the place of change".

you are so right. both peace and change are with us. they are not separate. i was worried about how i worded my post, so not to give the illusion of separation. though, there are distinctions, thats true. i think it gets back to the word 'complement' that we used in a previous verse translation. meaning, the constant and changing, make wholeness.

when we see that, we can turn our attention quite easily, and, as necessary. i notice myself doing that more often. when the changes are overwhelming, i turn-in, and find peace, a refuge. seeing peace with me, i'm open and ready for what else may come to pass (or be thrown in this direction).

sometimes its like dodging asteroids around here!

love,
janet


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