Dao De Jing
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Verse Thirty Nine


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008

Verse Thirty Nine
Ha Poong Kim

The things of old that have attained the One:
Heaven, having attained the One, is clear;
Earth, having attained the One, is steady;
Spirits, having attained the One, possess their numinous power;
Valleys, having attained the One, are full;
The ten thousand things, having attained the One, come to life;
Kings and princes, having attained the One, become the model for all under Heaven.
It is by virtue of the One that they become what they are.
Were Heaven not clear by virtue of that,
I fear it would soon shatter;
Were Earth not steady by virtue of that,
I fear it would soon collapse;
Were spirits not to possess their numinous power by virtue of that,
I fear they would soon cease to be;
Were valleys not full by virtue of that,
I fear they would soon dry up;
Were the ten thousand things not to come to life by virtue of that,
I fear they would soon perish;
Were kings and princes not noble and high by virtue of that,
I fear they would soon fall.
Therefore, for the noble the humble is the root;
For the high the low is the foundation.
For this reason, kings and princes
Refer to themselves as "the orphaned one," "the widowed one," and "the ill-provided one."
Isn't this because the humble is the root?
Is it not?
Therefore, if you tally your honors you will count none.
Don't try to jingle like jade-bells,
Rather, sound like rolling rocks.

Verse Thirty Nine
Hans-Georg Moeller, 2007

Of those who once received oneness;
heaven received oneness€to be clear;
earth received oneness€to be at rest;
spirits received oneness€to be animated;
valleys received oneness€to be full;
lords and kings received oneness€to set the world straight.

This leads to saying:
Heaven is not to be already clear,
lest it may shatter.
Earth is not to be already at rest,
lest it may burst.
Spirits are not to be already animated,
lest they may wear out.
River valleys are not to be already full,
lest they may be exhausted.
Marquises and kings are not to be already esteemend and of high standing,
lest they may stumble.

Thus,
necessarily the noble has the base as its root,
necessarily the high has the low as its foundation.
Well, therefore
lords and kings call themselves "the orphaned." the "abandoned," and the one without possessions."
It is in this way that they root themselves in the base, isn't it?
For this reason they do not desire
to be shining like jade, to be hard like stone.


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008

These two versions of verse thirty nine are not the simplest translations, but the both introduce the idea of unity or oneness, which is a theme of the next few verses.

Oneness or singularity is a theme in the experiments too. There is only one view in. It's the same view for everyone. There's no division between the space I am and the space you are, the space that is I am for you. We are one space. This verse tells us that, having attained (seen) this space, we are clear, steady, at rest, full of life, and possessed of numinous power. Without this space we are dried up, shattered, collapsed, burst, exhausted, stumbling, and and fallen. It was that way for me. Shattered would have been a good description on my state of being before having discovered Seeing. After Seeing: satisfied.

I would say that Seers would willingly claim to be (here on the near side) orphaned, abandoned, and without possessions. All these symbolic descriptions of emptiness apply perfectly to what one is right here where one stands.

Jim


From: Janet
Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2008

hi jim and all,

jim, you have expressed yourself beautifully.

after reading the verses provided, i wanted to find the right words to express the feeling/sense within myself. what came to me is that, it seems necessary to know this emptiness, to turn, and be fulfilled.

my experience has been the loss of everything near and dear to me.....
and in that, gained the whole world.

i'm just expressing my own take, and sharing it. it doesn't have to be that way for everyone.

love,
janet


From: simon
Posted: Thu Jul 17, 2008

Hi All,
One thing that shines out from this verse (very rich one) is that the Tao exists without any effort - I particularly like the
Quote:
Heaven, having attained the One, is clear;
Earth, having attained the One, is steady;
Spirits, having attained the One, possess their numinous power;
Valleys, having attained the One, are full;

Already done! And this is reflected in Seeing, too.
No sudden change, even if seeing itself is world-reversing...
just a return to what has always been - as if for the first time.
But, and my experience agrees with Janet's, there does seem to be a "all and nothing" sort of swapover...
words, words! And we were warned in the first verse: "the name that can be named...!"
love to all
Simon


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