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Tao Te Ching Chapter 21 | Lao-Tzu | Comparative Translations

The Way of Virtue





The grandest forms of active force

From Tao come, their only source.

Who can of Tao the nature tell?

Our sight it flies, our touch as well.

Eluding sight, eluding touch,

The forms of things all in it crouch;

Eluding touch, eluding sight,

There are their semblances, all right.

Profound it is, dark and obscure;

Things' essences all there endure.

Those essences the truth enfold

Of what, when seen, shall then be told.

Now it is so; 'twas so of old.

Its name--what passes not away;

So, in their beautiful array,

Things form and never know decay.


How know I that it is so with all the beauties of existing things? By this (nature of the Tao).

The Master keeps her mind

always at one with the Tao;

that is what gives her her radiance.


The Tao is ungraspable.

How can her mind be at one with it?

Because she doesn't cling to ideas.


The Tao is dark and unfathomable.

How can it make her radiant?

Because she lets it.


Since before time and space were,

the Tao is.

It is beyond is and is not.

How do I know this is true?

I look inside myself and see.




Translated by J. Legge





Translated by Stephen Mitchell



















 

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