May 25th, 2010

Chapter 11

Thirty spokes are joined at the hub.
From their non-being arises the function of the wheel.
Lumps of clay are shaped into a vessel.
From their non-being arises the function of the vessel.
Doors and windows are constructed together to make a chamber.
From their non-being arises the function of the chamber.
Therefore, as individual beings, these things are useful materials.
Constructed together in their non-being, they give rise to function.

--Chang Chung-yuan. 1975
goban

11

Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore benefit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.
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A wheel has spokes,
but it rotates around a hollow center.

A pot is made out of clay or glass,
but you keep things in the space inside.

A house is made of wood or brick,
but you live between the walls.

We work with something,
but we use nothing.
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The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.