July 26th, 2010

Chapter 73

Courageous but foolhardy, one perishes.
Courageous but not foolhardy, one's life is saved.
Between these two, one gains, the other loses.
Who knows what nature loathes?
Even the sage can hardly make a wise choice.
According to the way of heaven,
Without contending, one inevitably wins.
Without asking, one spontaneously receives a response.
Without invitation, success comes by itself.
Unintentionally, the heavenly way is well-devised.
The net of nature is all-embracing.
Although the spaces are large, nothing escapes.

            Translation by Chang Chung-yuan, 1975.
goban

73

A brave and passionate man will kill or be killed.
A brave and calm man will always preserve life.
Of these two which is good and which is harmful?
Some things are not favored by heaven. Who knows why?
Even the sage is unsure of this.

The Tao of heaven does not strive, and yet it overcomes.
It does not speak, and yet is answered.
It does not ask, yet is supplied with all its needs.
It seems to have no aim and yet its purpose is fulfilled.

Heaven's net casts wide.
Though its meshes are course, nothing slips through.
-
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Those who dare to be bold die.
Those who dare to be careful survive.
So--what do you want to do?

Why is life like that, you ask?
I don't know.

This is how Tao works:
It doesn't push itself,
and it always succeeds.
It acts silently, and it always reacts.
It can't be summoned;
it comes whenever it's ready.
It can't be rushed; it's always on time.

"Heaven casts a wide net,
with big holes,"
Lao Tzu used to say,
"but nothing ever gets by it."
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The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.