2012-04-28

Saturdao 17

Dao De Jing, verse 11a

16 translations

30 spokes? Sometimes 6 will do.
1. James Legge:
The thirty spokes unite in the one nave; but it is on the empty space (for the axle), that the use of the wheel depends.
Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that their use depends.
2. Archie Bahm:
Every positive factor involves its negative or opposing factor; for example:
In order to turn a wheel, although thirty spokes must revolve, the axle must remain motionless; so both the moving and the non-moving are needed to produce revolution.
In order to mold a vase, although one must use clay, he must also provide a hollow space empty of clay; so both clay and the absence of clay are required to produce a vessel.
3. Frank MacHovec:
Thirty spokes unite at the hub but the ultimate use of the wheel depends on the part where nothing exists.
Clay is molded into a vessel but the ultimate use of the vessel depends upon the part where nothing exists.
4. D.C. Lau:
Thirty spokes share one hub.
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the cart.
Knead clay in order to make a vessel.
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the vessel.
14 spokes on this one.
5. Gia-Fu Feng:
Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
6. Stan Rosenthal:
“The Utility of Non-Existence”
Though thirty spokes may form the wheel, it is the hole within the hub which gives the wheel utility.
It is not the clay the potter throws which gives the pot its usefulness, but the space within the shape from which the pot is made.
7. Jacob Trapp:
“Stillness, Emptiness”
Thirty spokes radiate,
United into a whool
By the stillness at the hub
Around which they revolve.
A bowl of clay
Cups an empty space
Waiting to be filled.
And thereby serves
This one has 16. Would 30 fit?
8. Stephen Mitchell:
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
9. Victor Mair:
Thirty spokes converge on a single hub,
but it is in the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the cart lies.
Clay is molded to make a pot,
but it is in the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the clay pot lies.
10. Michael LaFargue:
Thirty spokes unite in one hollow hub --
in this ‘nothing’ lies the wheel’s usefulness.
Knead clay to make a jar --
in its ‘nothing’ lies the jar’s usefulness.
30 spokes!
11. Peter Merel:
Thirty spokes meet at a nave;
Because of the hole we may use the wheel.
Clay is moulded into a vessel;
Because of the hollow we may use the cup.
12. Ursula LeGuin:
“The uses of not”
Thirty spokes
meet in the hub.
Where the wheel isn’t
is where it’s useful.
Hollowed out,
clay makes a pot.
Where the pot’s not
is where it’s useful.
13. Ron Hogan:
A wheel has spokes,
but it rotates around a hollow center.
A pot is made out of clay or glass,
but you keep things in the empty space inside.
14. Ames and Hall:
The thirty spokes converge at one hub,
But the utility of the cart is a function of the nothingness (wu) inside the hub.
We throw clay to shape a pot,
But the utility of the clay pot is a function of the nothingness inside it.
15. Yasuhiko Genku Kimura:
Thirty spokes share a hub;
The usefulness of the cart
lies in the space where there is nothing.
Clay is kneaded into a vessel;
The usefulness of the vessel
lies in the space where there is nothing.
16. Addiss and Lombardo:
Thirty spokes join one hub.
The wheel’s use comes from emptiness.
Clay is fired to make a pot.
The pot’s use comes from emptiness.

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If all of space were full of solid matter, nothing could move or live.
(Just now is not the time to say, "And it is! And they don't!")
Emptiness is the space of possibility: where nothing is, anything could be.
(Just now might -- I don't know -- be the time to say, "When the emptiness is filled, it is still just as empty.")

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See Saturdao Index