Saturdao 27

Dao De Jing, verse 16b

16 translations.

1. James Legge:
To know that* unchanging rule is to be intelligent; not to know it leads to wild movements and evil issues.
The knowledge of that unchanging rule produces a (grand) capacity and forbearance, and that capacity and forbearance lead to a community (of feeling with all things).
From this community of feeling comes a kingliness of character;
and he who is king-like goes on to be heaven-like.
In that likeness to heaven he possesses the Dao.
Possessed of the Dao, he endures long;
and to the end of his bodily life, is exempt from all danger of decay.

[*i.e., the returning to the root, the state of stillness, the report of the fulfillment of the appointed end.]
2. Archie Bahm:
Each thing having its own goal is necessary to the nature of things.
He who knows that this is the ultimate nature of things is intelligent; he who does not is not.
Being intelligent, he knows that each has a nature which is able to take care of itself. Knowing this, he is willing that each thing follow its own course.
Being willing to let each thing follow its own course, he is gracious. Being gracious, he is like the source which graciously gives life to all.
Being like the gracious source of all, he embodies Nature’s way within his own being. And in thus embodying Nature’s way within himself, he embodies its perpetually recurrent principles within himself.
And so, regardless of what happens to his body, there is something about him which goes on forever.
3. Frank MacHovec:
To know the Eternal Constant is to be enlightened. To be ignorant of this is blindness that begets evil.
Whoever knows the Eternal Constant is open-minded. Being open-minded is to be impartial, being impartial is to be above nations and laws, being above nations and laws is to be in accord with nature, being in accord with nature is to be in accord with Dao; being in accord with Dao is to be eternal. Although his body may die and decay, he shall live forever.
4. D.C. Lau:
Knowledge of the constant is known as discernment.
Woe to him who willfully innovates
While ignorant of the constant,
But should one act from knowledge of the constant
One's action will lead to impartiality,
Impartiality to kingliness,
Kingliness to heaven,
Heaven to the way,
The way to perpetuity,
And to the end of one's days one will meet with no danger.
5. Gia-Fu Feng:
Knowing constancy is insight.
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.
Knowing constancy, the mind is open.
With an open mind, you will be open hearted.
Being openhearted, you will act royally.
Being royal, you will attain the divine.
Being divine, you will be at one with the Dao.
Being at one with the Dao is eternal.
And though the body dies, the Dao will never pass away.
6. Stan Rosenthal:
Being one with the Dao is to be at peace, and to be in conflict with it, leads to chaos and dysfunction.
When the consistency of the Dao is known, the mind is receptive to its states of change.
It is by being at one with the Dao, that the sage holds no prejudice against his fellow man.
If accepted as a leader of men, he is held in high esteem.
Throughout his life, both being and non-being, the Dao protects him.
7. Jacob Trapp:
“In Accord with Dao”
To be enlightened is to be tolerant;
To be tolerant is to be impartial;
To be impartial is to be all-inclusive;
To be all-inclusive is to be in accord with Nature;
To be in accord with Nature
Is to be in accord with Dao,
Invulnerable and preserved from harm.
8. Stephen Mitchell:
If you don't realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Dao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.
9. Victor Mair:
To know the perpetual is to be enlightened;
Not to know the perpetual is to be reckless –
recklessness breeds evil.
To know the perpetual is to be tolerant –
tolerance leads to ducal impartiality,
ducal impartiality to kingliness,
kingliness to heaven,
heaven to the Way,
the Way to permanence.
to the end of his days, he will not be imperiled.
10. Michael LaFargue:
Experiencing Steadiness is Clarity.
Not to experience Steadiness
is to be heedless in one’s actions – bad luck.
Experiencing Steadiness, then one is all-embracing
all-embracing, then an impartial Prince
Prince, then King
King, then Heaven
Heaven, then Dao
Dao, then one lasts very long.
As to destroying the self,
there will be nothing to fear
11. Peter Merel:
“Decay and Renewal”
Accepting this* brings enlightenment,
Ignoring this brings misery.
Who accepts nature's flow becomes all-cherishing;
Being all-cherishing he becomes impartial;
Being impartial he becomes magnanimous;
Being magnanimous he becomes natural;
Being natural he becomes one with the Way;
Being one with the Way he becomes immortal:
Though his body will decay, the Way will not.

[*i.e., the eternal decay and renewal flow of nature whereby all flourishing things return to their source]
12. Ursula LeGuin:
“Returning to the Root”
Peace: to accept what must be,
to know what endures.
In that knowledge is wisdom.
Without it, ruin, disorder.
To know what endures
is to be openhearted,
tollowing the Dao,
the way that endures forever.
The body comes to its ending,
but there is nothing to fear.
13. Wang Keping:
To know the eternal is called enlightenment and wisdom.
Not to know the eternal is to take blind action,
Thus resulting in disaster.
He who knows the eternal can embrace all.
He who embraces all can be impartial.
He who is impartial can be all-encompassing.
How who is all-encompassing can be at one with Heaven.
He who is at one with Heaven can be at one with the Dao.
He who is at one with the Dao can be everlasting
And free from danger throughout his life.
14. Ames and Hall:
Using common sense is acuity,
While failing to use it is to lose control.
And to try to do anything while out of control is to court disaster.
Using common sense is to be accommodating,
Being accommodating is tolerance,
Being tolerant is kingliness,
Being kingly is tian-like,
Being tian-like is to be way-making.
And the way-made is enduring.
To the end of one’s days one will be free of danger.
15. Yasuhiko Genku Kimura:
And to know eternity is called enlightenment.
To act unawarely in the nescience of eternity
Is to bring disaster to your life.
To know eternity is to be all-inclusive,
To be all-inclusive is to be impartial,
To be impartial is to attain self-mastery,
To attain self-mastery is to be heavenly,
And to be heavenly is to be one with the Dao eternal.
To be one with the Dao eternal is to enjoy everlasting life,
Forever secure even after the enfolding of the physical self.
16. Addiss and Lombardo:
Understanding the ordinary:
Not understanding the ordinary:
Blindness creates evil.
Understanding the ordinary:
Mind opens.
Mind opening leads to compassion,
Compassion to nobility,
Nobility to heavenliness,
Heavenliness to Dao.
Dao endures.
Your body dies.
There is no danger.
* * *
We're not talking about assimilating.
We're talking about acceptance, yes,
And more: The adaptation to things that acceptance makes possible.

You, Westerner, raised or razed in the shadow of Plato and Augustine to
Your reason struggles with your passion, your will at war with virtue:
Forget that.
Peace in your relations is the path to inner peace.
(Inner peace is also the path to peace in your relations, still one must start somewhere.)

Accommodate, adapt, without judging good or bad, just flowing effectively with what is,
Yes, also present to the distinctiveness you bring to that flow ('cause, again, we're not talking about assimilating),
That's the way:
The Way.
"Extending oneself through patterns of deference" (Ames and Hall)
I like that.
* * *
Next: Saturdao 28.
Previous: Saturdao 26.
Beginning: Saturdao 1.