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Verse Forty Five


From: jimclatfelter

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2008

Verse Forty Five
Stephen Mitchell, 1988

True perfection seems imperfect,
yet it is perfectly itself.
True fullness seems empty,
yet it is fully present.

True straightness seems crooked.
True wisdom seems foolish.
True art seems artless.

The Master allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out of the way
and lets the Tao speak for itself.

Verse Forty Five
Jonathan Star, 2001

The Great Perfection seems imperfect yet this world it creates is never impaired
The Great Fullness seems empty yet this world it creates is never lacking
Great truth seems false
Great skill seems clumsy
Great eloquence seems like babble
Keep moving and you€ll miss the cold
Keep silent and you€ll beat the heat
Be tranquil like the rain of spring
Be pure like the sheen of silk
Then the Great Perfection will be perfect and the Great Fullness will be full

Verse Forty Five
Witter Bynner, 1944

A man's work, however finished it seem,
Continues as long as he live;
A man, however perfect he seem,
Is needed as long as he live:
As long as truth appears falsity,
The seer a fool,
The prophet a dumb lout,
If you want to keep warm keep stirring about,
Keep still if you want to keep cool,
And in all the world one day no doubt
Your way shall be the rule.

Verse Forty Five
Herrymon Maurer, 1985

What is most perfect seems imperfect,
But using it doesn't use it up.
What is most full seems empty,
But using it doesn't wear it down.
Great straightness seems crooked;
Great skill seems clumsy;
Great eloquence seems hesitant.
Movement conquers cold,
But stillness conquers heat.
Clearness and serenity
Are beneath-heaven's norm.


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2008

What is most perfect seems imperfect,
But using it doesn't use it up.
What is most full seems empty,
But using it doesn't wear it down.

What is most full seems empty! It seems so empty we call it the void. Only the empty can contain fullness. As Douglas would say: "I don't so much understand or believe this as see it." Using it doesn't use it up! The more I see it, the more it's available, the more it comes to me on its own. I can't use it up or wear it down. Seeing it only makes it more accessible.

What is most perfect seems imperfect! This empty aware space has no place to hang an imperfection. No-thing is perfect, just as no thing is perfect. Perfect capacity is right here always, perfect in me, perfect in you. But unless we see it, it doesn't seem enough. We want some-thing better, but no thing is better. And using any thing wears it out and uses it up. No thing is perfect forever. No-thing is perfect forever.

Jim


From: Steve Palmer
Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008

Hi Jim

On reading verse 45 it felt like a list of opposites.
My gut feeling or first thought was all opposites are contained in the Openess, the Space
There they come and go, arise and pass away.

So notice the Awake space which is filled with all the opposites.
As you say " unless we see it( the space/openess) , it doesn't seem enough "

Recently I have been reminding myself to" be at ease with This " or be at ease with the opposites as they arise.
"Let it be" to quote McCartney.

There's some zen saying about giving a restless bull a large field to wander in.... or noticing all is happening in the alive boundless space...... and not clenching around mind states that are uncomfortable
(the not enough mind).

Wide open ..................even to the feeling of closing down...

regards
Steve


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008

Hi Steve,

"giving a restless bull a large field to wander in"

I like that. This aware space as the ultimate large field is a great image. It's funny how these kind of images can be so helpful. The Tao Te Ching is full of them.

I see what you mean about the list of opposites. I skipped over that section. I think Stephen Mitchell simplified it a bit. I'm not sure what to make of this part of the text. Maybe it means that appearance are deceiving.

Jim


From: Janet
Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2008

hi steve and jim,

great feedback from the both of you on the verse. i enjoyed it. thanks!

love,
janet


From: Luc
Posted: Sat Nov 01, 2008

jimclatfelter wrote:
I see what you mean about the list of opposites. I skipped over that section. I think Stephen Mitchell simplified it a bit. I'm not sure what to make of this part of the text. Maybe it means that appearance are deceiving.

Hi Jim and all,

I'm dropping in a little late maybe ?
For me the opposites refer to the fact that true mastery seems effortless.
If you look at ballet dancers, they are graceful and effortless, although years of practice are needed. Somehow we always expect mastery to imply effort and when a person doesn't show effort, he/she can't be a master. So the true wise seems foolish because she/he is not interested in impressing, in tricks of the mind, in difficult reasoning that no one can understand.

When you see a true artist draw a sketch with just a few lines, almost in a casual way, it seems artless. It looks as if any of us could do it just as good ...

So, if this reply seems foolish ...

Luc


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