February 21st, 2013

goban
  • trevoke

42

The Tao begot one.
One begot two.
Two begot three.
And three begot the ten thousand things.

The ten thousand things carry yin and embrace yang.
They achieve harmony by combining these forces.

Men hate to be "orphaned," "widowed," or "worthless,"
But this is how kings and lords describe themselves.

For one gains by losing
And loses by gaining.

What others teach, I also teach; that is:
"A violent man will die a violent death!"
This will be the essence of my teaching.
-
-
Chapter 42 starts out
with some cosmic mumbo-jumbo
about Tao making one,
one making two,
two making three,
and three making everything else.

I don't know what it means,
and, frankly,
I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Let's get to the practical part:
Men hate to be called
powerless, insignificant, or unworthy,
but that's how
Masters describe themselves.

Because when we lose, we've won.
And when we succeed, we've failed.

Other people will tell you
what I'm telling you now:
"Live by the sword, die by the sword."
That's pretty much what Chapter 42
boils down to.
(See Chapter 46 for more details.)
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The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.

Chapter 42

42.1 The Way produces one;
       one produces two,
       two produce three,
       three produce all beings:
42.2 all beings bear yin and embrace yang,
       with a mellowing energy for harmony.
42.3 The things people dislike are
       only to be alone, lacking, and unworthy;
       yet these are what monarchs call themselves.
42.4 Therefore people may gain from loss,
       and may lose from gain.
42.5 What others teach,
       I also teach.
       The strong cannot master their death:
       I take this to be the father of teachings.

Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation