Saturdao 26

Dao De Jing, verse 16a

16 translations.

1. James Legge:
The (state of) vacancy should be brought to the utmost degree,
and that of stillness guarded with unwearying vigour.
All things alike go through their processes of activity, and (then) we see them return (to their original state).
When things (in the vegetable world) have displayed their luxuriant growth, we see each of them return to its root.
This returning to their root is what we call the state of stillness;
and that stillness may be called a reporting that they have fulfilled their appointed end.
The report of that fulfilment is the regular, unchanging rule.
2. Archie Bahm:
In order to arrive at complete contentment, restrain your ambitions.
For everything which comes into being eventually returns again to the source from which it came.
Each thing which grows and develops to the fullness of its own nature completes its course by declining again in a manner inherently determined by its own nature.
Completing its life is as inevitable as that each thing shall have its own goal.
Each thing having its own goal is necessary to the nature of things.
3. Frank MacHovec:
Achieve the highest goal by being passive; hold close to state of perfect serenity.
Everything comes into existence, but observe, returns to its source. Thus vegetation flourishes and grows, but returns to the soil whence it came.
Returning to the source is serenity; it is to realize one’s destiny. To realize one’s destiny is to know the Eternal Constant.
4. D.C. Lau:
I do my utmost to attain emptiness;
I hold firmly to stillness.
The myriad creatures all rise together
And I watch their return.
The teaming creatures
All return to their separate roots.
Returning to one's roots is known as stillness.
This is what is meant by returning to one's destiny.
Returning to one's destiny is known as the constant.
5. Gia-Fu Feng:
Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The way of nature is unchanging.
6. Stan Rosenthal:
It is only by means of being that non-being may be found.
When society changes from its natural state of flux, to that which seems like chaos, the inner world of the superior man remains uncluttered and at peace.
By remaining still, his self detatched, he aids society in its return to the way of nature and of peace.
The value of his insight may be clearly seen when chaos ceases.
7. Jacob Trapp:
“In Accord with Dao”
Push on to the brink of the Fathomless,
Hold fast to Quietude,
And the ten thousand things
will not overwhelm you.
You will see them fall back to their repose,
like grass that grows green
And returns to the root.
To return to the root,
To find rest and renewal
In the stillness whence we come,
To accept the seasons’ alternations
Of growth, ripening, and return –
This is the way of serenity,
This is the Dao of enlightenment.
8. Stephen Mitchell:
Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.
Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.
9. Victor Mair:
Attain utmost emptiness,
Maintain utter stillness.
The myriad creatures arise side by side,
thus I observe their renewal.
Heaven’s creatures abound,
But each returns to its roots, which is called “stillness.”
This is termed “renewal of fate.”
Renewal of fate is perpetual.
10. Michael LaFargue:
Push Emptiness to the limit,
watch over Stillness very firmly.
The thousands of things all around are active –
I give my attention to Turning Back.
Things growing wild as weeds
All turn back to the Root.
To turn back to The Root is called Stillness.
This is ‘reporting in’
‘reporting in’ is becoming Steady.
11. Peter Merel:
“Decay and Renewal”
Empty the self completely;
Embrace perfect peace.
The world will rise and move;
Watch it return to rest.
All the flourishing things
Will return to their source.
This return is peaceful;
It is the flow of nature,
An eternal decay and renewal.
12. Ursula LeGuin:
“Returning to the Root”
Be completely empty.
Be perfectly serene.
The ten thousand things arise together;
in their arising is their return.
Now they flower,
and flowering
sink homeward,
returning to the root.
The return to the root
is peace.
Peace: to accept what must be,
to know what endures.
13. Wang Keping:
Try to the utmost to get the heart into complete vacuity.
Be sure to keep the mind in steadfast tranquility.
All things are growing and developing
And I see thereby their cycles.
Though all things flourish with a myriad of variations,
Each one eventually returns to its root.
This returning to its root is called tranquility;
This tranquility is called returning to its destiny;
Returning to its destiny is called the eternal.
14. Ames and Hall:
Extend your utmost emptiness as far as you can
And do your best to preserve your equilibrium (jing).
In the process of all things emerging together (wanwu)
We can witness there reversion.
Things proliferate,
And each again returns to its root.
Returning to the root is called equilibrium.
Now as for equilibrium – this is called returning to the propensity of things,
And returning to the propensity of things is common sense.
15. Yasuhiko Genku Kimura:
Attain utmost emptiness,
Maintain utter stillness.
Then, as ten thousand things arise together,
One will witness their returning to the source.
Though things abound in the universe,
They all return to the source.
Returning to the source is called stillness,
And stillness is called returning to destiny.
To return to destiny is to return to eternity.
16. Addiss and Lombardo:
Attain complete emptiness,
Hold fast to stillness.
The ten thousand things stir about;
I only watch for their going back.
Things grow and grow,
But each goes back to its root.
Going back to the root is stillness.
This means returning to what is.
Returning to what is
Means going back to the ordinary.
* * * * *
Ordinary, common sense, eternity, the eternal, what endures, Steady, perpetual, the constant, unchanging, eternal decay and renewal, unchanging rule -- all the same.
The coming is the going and the cycle is eternal.
Watch the plants, and your thoughts, grow and die. That's who you empty out.
* * * * *
Next: Saturdao 27.
Previous: Saturdao 25.
Beginning: Saturdao 1.