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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 21

The Empty Heart, or the Dao in Its Operation

Emptying the Heart / The Heart of Emptiness

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 The grandest forms of active force
From Dao come, their only source.
Who can of Dao the nature tell?
Our sight it flies, our touch as well.
Eluding sight, eluding touch,
The forms of things all in it crouch;
Eluding touch, eluding sight,
There are their semblances, all right.
Profound it is, dark and obscure;
Things' essences all there endure.
Those essences the truth enfold
Of what, when seen, shall then be told.
Now it is so; 'twas so of old.
Its name--what passes not away;
So, in their beautiful array,
Things form and never know decay.
"Vast virtue's form
Follows Reason's norm. "And Reason's nature Is vague and eluding "How eluding and vague All types including! How vague and eluding,
All beings including! How deep and how obscure. It harbors the spirit pure,
Whose truth is ever sure, whose faith abides for aye from of yore until to-day. "Its name is never vanishing,
It heeds the good of everything."
All the innumerable forms of de [teh] correspond to the norm of Dao, but the nature of the Dao's activity is infinitely abstract and illusive. Illusive and obscure, indeed, but at its heart are forms and types. Vague and illusive, indeed, but at its heart is all being. Unfathomable and obscure, indeed, but at its heart is all spirit, and spirit is reality. At its heart is truth.
2 How know I that it is so with all the beauties of existing things? By this (nature of the Dao).

Through what do I know that "it heeds the good of everything"? In this way, verily: Through IT.

From of old its expression is unceasing, it has been present at all beginnings. How do I know that its nature is thus? By this same Dao.

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