Dao De Jing
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Verse Twenty Eight


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2008

Verse Twenty Eight
Roderic & Amy M. Sorrell, 2003

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Seeing who we are

By knowing the masculine, and keeping in touch with the feminine, we are of use to the world.
By being of use in the world, we are true to our original nature,
and we return to the innocence of a child.

By seeing our clarity, and also acknowledging our obscurity,
we serve as a model in the world.
By serving as a model for the world, our integrity is unimpaired,
and we return to our limitless nature.

Even when receiving praise, we remember our faults,
and are receptive to the world.
By being receptive to the world, our true nature is perfected,
and we return to our natural state.

When wood is carved, it becomes a mere tool.
When wise people are called upon to serve,
they become the ones in charge.
Thus the best principle is not to carve things up.

Verse Twenty Eight
Stephen Mitchell, 1988

Know the male,
yet keep to the female:
receive the world in your arms.
If you receive the world,
the Tao will never leave you
and you will be like a little child.

Know the white,
yet keep to the black:
be a pattern for the world.
If you are a pattern for the world,
the Tao will be strong inside you
and there will be nothing you can't do.

Know the personal,
yet keep to the impersonal:
accept the world as it is.
If you accept the world,
the Tao will be luminous inside you
and you will return to your primal self.

The world is formed from the void,
like utensils from a block of wood.
The Master knows the utensils,
yet keeps to the the block:
thus she can use all things.


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2008

Each of these two versions of this verse have some remarkable parallels with seeing. Even the title of the Sorrell version has the words "Seeing who we are." "Seeing our clarity, we return to our limitless nature." Mitchell talks about receiving the world in our arms. That's a perfect reminder of the open arms experiment.

"The pattern for the world" is in the complements mentioned in this verse. The female and male, the dark and light, are united in our "original nature." Other translation use other words for these complements, but the reference is the same. They relate to the near side and the far side of seeing.

I like this verse for its references to the deisgn of seeing and of presence.

Jim


From: Luc
Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2008

This also refers to the little one and the big one, for me.
And as Douglas pointed out : both have their part to play.
The little one is in the world, plays his role : 'Know the personal' and 'The Master knows the utensils'.
But don't get caught up in the game : 'Keep to the impersonal' and 'The Master keeps to the block'.

The male refers to action, the creative aspect in the world. Here, it might refer to my role as little one, active in the world.
The female is the receptive, passive. Here, it might refer to the Void, the Emptiness in which the world appears.

Luc


From: simon
Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008

Hi All,
Yes to everything already written here.
Reminds me of the "fingers pointing both ways" experiment (I'm sure it has a better name than that!)

There is a sense of service too, that I like in this verse
Quote:
By seeing our clarity, and also acknowledging our obscurity,
we serve as a model in the world.
By serving as a model for the world, our integrity is unimpaired,
and we return to our limitless nature.

After all, 'Seeing' is not a 'personal attribute' just an honest acceptance...

Anyway, good food for (stopping?) thought

Happy everything, everyone
simon


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2008

As Luc says, each of the pairs that Lao Tzu mentions refers to the big one and the little one. Seeing makes the meanings so clear and obvious. And visible! The words female and dark and black are references to the visible void. So is the expression 'uncarved block.' Other translations use other words and expressions, but they all refer to the big one, the vast emptiness that is nearer than breathing.

Jim


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