Saturdao 16

Dao De Jing, verse 10b

16 translations

1. James Legge:
In the opening and shutting of his gates of heaven, cannot he do so as a female bird?
While his intelligence reaches in every direction, cannot he (appear to) be without knowledge?
(The Dao) produces (all things) and nourishes them; it produces them and does not claim them as its own;
it does all, and yet does not boast of it; it presides over all, and yet does not control them.
This is what is called 'The mysterious Quality' (of the Dao).
2. Archie Bahm:
If Nature’s way is a joint process of initiation and completion, sowing and reaping, producing and consuming, can you rightly demand that you deserve always to play the role of the consumer?
If you desire to know the natures of the various kinds of things, must you meddle with them, experiment with them, try to change them, in order to find one?
Nature procreates all things and then devotes itself to caring for them,
Just as parents give birth to children without keeping them as slaves.
It willingly gives life, without first asking whether the creatures will repay for its services.
It provides a pattern to follow, without requiring anyone to follow it.
This is the secret of intelligent activity.
3. Frank MacHovec:
Can you play the same role always?
Give birth; provide nourishment; do this without being possessive. Give help without obligation. Lead without dominating. This the Mystic Virtue (De).
4. D.C. Lau:
When the gates of heaven open and shut
Are you capable of keeping to the role of the female?
When your discernment penetrates the four quarters
Are you capable of not knowing anything?
It gives them life and rears them.
It gives them life yet claims no possession;
It benefits them yet exacts no gratitude;
It is the steward yet exercises no authority.
Such is called the mysterious virtue.
5. Gia-Fu Feng:
Opening and closing the gates of heaven,
Can you play the role of woman?
Understanding and being open to all things,
Are you able to do nothing?
Giving birth and nourishing,
Bearing yet not possessing,
Working yet not taking credit,
Leading yet not dominating,
This is the Primal Virtue.
6. Stan Rosenthal:
“Cleaning the Dark Mirror”
He cultivates without possessing, thus providing nourishment,
he remains receptive to changing needs, and creates without desire.
By leading from behind, attending to that which must be done,
he is said to have attained the mystic state.
7. Jacob Trapp:
“Inward Mysterious Power”
Can you go before, guiding others,
And yet remain in the background?
To bring forth, to nourish;
To love without taking possession;
To act without appropriating;
To excel without standing over;
This is called the inward mysterious power
Of those who live according to Dao.
8. Stephen Mitchell
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from you own mind
and thus understand all things?
Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.
9. Victor Mair:
Open and close the gate of heaven,
can you play the part of the female?
Reach out with clarity in all directions,
can you refrain from action?
It gives birth to them and nurtures them,
It gives birth to them but does not possess them,
It rears them but does not control them.
This is called “mysterious integrity.”
10. Michael LaFargue:
When ‘the Doors of Heaven open and shut,’
can you remain Feminine?
When ‘Clarity and bareness penetrate everywhere,’
can you remain not doing?
Produce and nourish.
Produce but don’t possess
Work but don’t rely on this
Preside but don’t rule.
This is mysterious De.
11. Peter Merel:
Opening your heart, you become accepted;
Accepting the world, you embrace the Way.
Bearing and nurturing,
Creating but not owning,
Giving without demanding,
This is harmony.
12. Ursula LeGuin:
Opening, closing the Gate of Heaven,
can you be like a bird with her nestlings?
Piercing bright through the cosmos,
can you know by not knowing?
To give birth, to nourish,
to bear and not to own,
to act and not lay claim,
to lead and not to rule:
this is mysterious power.
13. Ron Hogan:
Can you deal with what's happening
and let it happen?
Can you forget what you know
and understand what's real?
Start a job and see it through.
Have things
without holding on to them.
Do the job
without expectation of reward.
Lead people
without giving orders.
That’s the way you do it.
14. Ames and Hall:
With nature’s gates swinging open and closed,
Are you able to remain the female?
With your insight penetrating the four quarters,
Are you able to do it without recourse to wisdom?
It gives life to things and nurtures them.
Giving life without managing them
And raising them without lording it over them --
This is called the profoundest efficacy (de).
15. Yasuhiko Genku Kimura:
Be receptive as a gentle female in the rhythmic intercourse of the Kosmos.
Remain in the state of not-knowing
While achieving knowledge in all fields.
This is the spiritual virtue of the Kosmos.
Birthing Life without possessing,
Nurturing life without expecting,
Rearing life without dominating.
16. Addiss and Lombardo:
Can you open and close
The gate of heaven
Without clinging to earth?
Can you brighten
The four directions
Without action?
Give birth and cultivate.
Give birth and do not possess.
Act without dependence.
Excel but do not rule.
This is called dark De.

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You are receptive, therefore fecund. Life grows in you and comes forth from you without your choosing, without your knowing anything about it. You are responsible for nothing -- therefore everything. That's because "you" has disappeared. OK? OK! Oh. De!

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See: Saturdao Index

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