May 14th, 2011

41

Those with stamina, knowing the way of life,
Steadily keep to it;
The unstable, knowing the way of life,
Keep to it or not according to occasion;
Stupid folks, knowing the way of life
And having once laughed at it, laugh again the louder.
If you need to be sure which way is right, you can tell by their laughing at it.
They fling the old charges:
'A wick without oil,'
'For every step forward a step or two back.'
To such laughers a level road looks steep,
Top seems bottom,
'White appears black,
'Enough is a lack,'
Endurance is a weakness,
Simplicity a faded flower.
But eternity comes to who goes straight round the circle,
Foundation is yours who can feel beyond touch,
Harmony belongs to who can hear beyond sound,
Pattern is seen by who can see beyond shape:
Life comes to who can tell beyond words
Fulfillment of the unfulfilled.

The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (The Witter Bynner version), Terebess Asia Online (TAO)
(with modifications)
goban

41

The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.
The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again.
The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud.
If there were no laughter, the Tao would not be what it is.

Hence it is said:
The bright path seems dim;
Going forward seems like retreat;
The easy way seems hard;
The highest Virtue seems empty;
Great purity seems sullied;
A wealth of Virtue seems inadequate;
The strength of Virtue seems frail;
Real Virtue seems unreal;
The perfect square has no corners;
Great talents ripen late;
The highest notes are hard to hear;
The greatest form has no shape;
The Tao is hidden and without name.
The Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfillment.
-
-
When a wise person hears about Tao,
he gets right with it.
When an ordinary person
hears about Tao,
he tries to get right with it,
but eventually gives up.
When a fool hears about Tao,
he just laughs and laughs.
If he didn't laugh, it wouldn't be Tao.

Here's what they find so funny:
The path to enlightenment
seems covered in shadows.
The way forward
feels like taking a step back.
The easiest path seems difficult.
Those with the most virtue
seem debased.
Those who are most pure
seem to be grubby and soiled.
The deepest thoughts appear shallow.
The greatest strength
looks like weakness.
What is most real
strikes us as imaginary.
The largest space has no boundaries.
The greatest talent
seems to produce nothing.
The greatest voice is unhearable.
The greatest beauty is invisible.

Tao is hidden to us
and it has no name.
It is the source and the strength of all things.
-

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.