||The skilful masters (of the Dao) in old times, with a subtle
and exquisite penetration, comprehended its mysteries,
and were deep
(also) so as to elude men's knowledge. As they were
thus beyond men's
knowledge, I will make an effort to describe of what
appeared to be.
||Those of yore who have succeeded in becoming masters are subtile, spiritual,
profound, and penetrating. On account of their profundity
they can not be understood. Because they can not be
understood, therefore I endeavor to make them intelligible.
||In olden times the ones who were considered worthy to be called masters were
subtle, spiritual, profound, wise. Their thoughts could
not be easily understood.
Shrinking looked they like those who wade through a stream in
winter; irresolute like those who are afraid of all around them; grave
like a guest (in awe of his host); evanescent like ice that is melting
away; unpretentious like wood that has not been fashioned into
anything; vacant like a valley, and dull like muddy water.
How cautious they are! Like men in winter crossing a river. How reluctant!
Like men fearing in the four quarters their neighbors.
How reserved! They behave like guests. How elusive!
They resemble ice when melting. How simple! They
resemble rough wood. How empty! They resemble
the valley. How obscure! They resemble troubled waters.
Since they were hard to understand I will try to make them clear. They were cautious
like men wading a river in winter. They were reluctant
like men who feared their neighbors. p. 18 They were
reserved like guests in the presence of their host.
They were elusive like ice at the point of melting.
They were like unseasoned wood. They were like a
valley between high mountains. They were obscure
like troubled waters. (They were cautious because
they were conscious of the deeper meanings of life
and its possibilities.)
||Who can (make) the muddy water (clear)? Let it be still, and it will gradually
become clear. Who can secure the condition of rest?
Let movement go on, and the condition of rest will gradually arise.They who preserve
this method of the Dao do not wish to be full (of
themselves). It is through their not being full of themselves that they can afford
to seem worn and not appear new and complete.
||Who by quieting can gradually render muddy waters clear? Who by stirring can
gradually quicken the still? He who cherishes this
Reason is not anxious to be filled. Since he is not
filled, therefore he may grow old; without renewal
he is complete.
||We can clarify troubled waters by slowly quieting them. We can bring the unconscious
to life by slowly moving them. But he who has the secret
of the Dao does not desire for more. Being content,
he is able to mature without desire to be newly fashioned.