October 8th, 2009

goban
  • trevoke

25

Something mysteriously formed,
Born before heaven and Earth.
In the silence and the void,
Standing alone and unchanging,
Ever present and in motion.
Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things.
I do not know its name
Call it Tao.
For lack of a better word, I call it great.

Being great, it flows
I flows far away.
Having gone far, it returns.

Therefore, "Tao is great;
Heaven is great;
Earth is great;
The king is also great."
These are the four great powers of the universe,
And the king is one of them.

Man follows Earth.
Earth follows heaven.
Heaven follows the Tao.
Tao follows what is natural.
-
-
Something perfect
has existed forever,
even longer than the universe.
It's a vast, unchanging void.
There's nothing else like it.
It goes on forever and never stops,
and everything else came from it.

I don't know what else to call it
so I'll call it Tao.
What's it like?
I can tell you this much: it's great.

So great that it endures.
Something that endures
goes a long way.
And something that goes a long way
always comes back to the beginning.

Tao's great.
Heaven's great.
Earth's great.
And someone in touch with Tao
is great, too.
Those are the four greatest things
in the universe.

Someone who's in touch with Tao
is in touch with the earth.
The earth is in touch with heaven.
Heaven's in touch with Tao.
Tao's in touch with the way things are.
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The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.

Chapter twenty-five: Imagining mystery

There is something
that contains everything.
Before heaven and earth
it is.
Oh, it is still, unbodied,
all on its own, unchanging,

all-pervading.
ever-moving.
So it can act as the mother
of all things.
Not knowing its real name,
we only call it the Way.

If it must be named,
let its name be Great.
Greatness means going on,
going on means going far,
and going far means turning back.

So they say: "The Way is great,
heaven is great,
earth is great,
and humankind is great;
four greatnesses in the world,
and humanity is one of them."

People follow earth,
earth follows heaven,
heaven follows the Way,
the Way follows what is.

Lao Tsu and Ursula Le Guin.