Saturdao 18

Dao De Jing, verse 11b

16 translation

1. James Legge:
The door and windows are cut out (from the walls) to form an apartment; but it is on the empty space (within), that its use depends.
Therefore, what has a (positive) existence serves for profitable adaptation, and what has not that for (actual) usefulness.
2. Archie Bahm:
In order to build a house, although we must establish solid walls, we must also provide doors and windows; so both the impenetrable and penetrable are essential to a useful building.
Therefore, we profit equally by the positive and the negative ingredients in each situation.
3. Frank MacHovec:
Doors and windows are cut out of the walls of a house but the ultimate use of the house depends upon the parts where nothing exists. So there is advantage in using what can be seen, what exists. And there is also advantage in using what cannot be seen, what is non-existent.
4. D.C. Lau:
Cut out doors and windows in order to make a room.
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the room.
Thus what we gain is Something, yet it is by virtue of Nothing that this can be put to use.
5. Gia-Fu Feng:
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.
6. Stan Rosenthal:
“The Utility of Non-Existence”
Without a door, the room cannot be entered, and without windows it is dark.
Such is the utility of non-existence.
7. Jacob Trapp:
“Stillness, Emptiness”
The empty areas enclosed by walls,
The openings into space
Of doors and windows,
Make a house habitable.
Motion, stillness,
Emptiness, solidity,
Existence, non-existence,
All serve.
A man should be at times
An empty vessel waiting to be filled,
Still at the very core of his being
As the hub of a wheel is still.
8. Stephen Mitchell:
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
9. Victor Mair:
Cut out doors and windows to make a room,
but it is in the spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the room lies.
Benefit may be derived from something,
but it is nothing that we find usefulness.
10. Michael LaFargue:
Cut out doors and windows in making a house --
in their ‘nothing’ lies the house’s usefulness.
‘Being’ makes for profit
‘Nothing’ makes for usefulness.
11. Peter Merel:
Walls are built around a hearth;
Because of the doors we may use the house.
Thus tools come from what exists,
But use from what does not.
12. Ursula LeGuin:
“The uses of not”
Cut doors and windows
to make a room.
Where the room isn’t
there’s room for you.
So the profit in what is
is in the use of what isn’t.
13. Ron Hogan:
A house is made out of wood or brick,
but you live in the space between the walls.
We work with something,
but we use nothing.
14. Ames and Hall:
We bore out doors and windows to make a dwelling,
But the utility of the dwelling is a function of the nothingness inside it.
Thus, it might be something (you) that provides the value,
But it is nothing that provides the utility.
15. Yasuhiko Genku Kimura:
A room is created by cutting out doors and windows;
The usefulness of the room
lies in the space where there is nothing.
The benefit of things lies in the usefulness of nothing.
16. Addiss and Lombardo:
Windows and doors are cut to make a room.
The room’s use comes from emptiness.
Having leads to profit,
Not having leads to use.
* * * * *
What we value, profit and benefit from,
are various things.
What we use,
in the quotidian flow:
Oh, that's nothing.