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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 4

The Fountainless

Sourceless / Dao, Without Origin

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1

The Dao is (like) the emptiness of a vessel; and in our employment of it we must be on our guard against all fulness. How deep and unfathomable it is, as if it were the Honoured Ancestor of all things! We should blunt our sharp points, and unravel the complications of
things; we should attemper our brightness, and bring ourselves into agreement with the obscurity of others. How pure and still the Dao
is, as if it would ever so continue!

Reason is empty, but its use is inexhaustible. In its profundity, verily, it resembleth the arch-father of the ten thousand things."It will blunt its own sharpness, Will its tangles adjust;

It will dim its own radiance. And be one with its dust."

The Dao appears to be emptiness but it is never exhausted. Oh, it is profound! It appears to have preceded everything. It dulls its own sharpness, unravels its own fetters, softens its own brightness, identifies itself with its own dust.
2 I do not know whose son it is. It might appear to have been before God. Oh, how calm it seems to remain! I know not whose son it is. Apparently even the Lord it precedes.
Oh, it is tranquil! It appears infinite; I do not know from what it proceeds. It even appears to be antecedent to the Lord.
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