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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 5

The Use of Emptiness

The Function of Emptiness / Impartiality

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 Heaven and earth do not act from (the impulse of) any wish to be benevolent; they deal with all things as the dogs of grass are dealt with. The sages do not act from (any wish to be) benevolent; they deal with the people as the dogs of grass are dealt with.
But for heaven and earth's humaneness, the ten thousand things are straw dogs. But for the holy man's humaneness, the hundred families are straw dogs.
Heaven and earth are not like humans, they are impartial. They regard all things as insignificant, as though they were playthings made of straw. The wise man is also impartial. To him all men are alike and unimportant.
2 May not the space between heaven and earth be compared to a bellows?'Tis emptied, yet it loses not its power; 'Tis moved again, and sends forth air the more.
Much speech to swift exhaustion lead we see;
Your inner being guard, and keep it free.
Is not the space between heaven and earth like unto a bellows? It is empty; yet it collapses not. It moves, and more and more comes forth."How soon exhausted is a gossip's fulsome talk! And should we not prefer
On the middle path to walk?"
The space between heaven and earth is like a bellows, it is empty but does not collapse; it moves and more and more issues. A gossip is soon empty, it is doubtful if he can be impartial.
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