January 21st, 2013

goban
  • trevoke

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.

Chapter 11

11.1 Thirty spokes join at a hub: their use for the cart is where they are not.
11.2 When the potter's wheel makes a pot, the use of the pot is precisely where there is nothing.
11.3 When you open the doors and windows for a room, it is where there is nothing that they are useful to the room.
11.4 Therefore being is for benefit, non being is for usefulness.

Thoma Cleary Translation