Tao 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.

Tao Te Ching

Gia Fu Feng

“All things leave behind them the Obscurity
(out of which they have come), and go forward to embrace the
Brightness (into which they have emerged)”

J. Legge, Translator

(Sacred Books of the East, Vol 39) [1891]

“What men teach me, that I teach them again. Violent and overbearing men never die a natural death. It is my object to instruct men as a father [nourishes his children]”

Taoist Texts:
Ethical, Political, and Speculative

Frederic Henry Balfour

[Shanghai and London, 1884]

Balance, to not over extend. Be humble and grateful for what is enough. I like the “travel out of obscurity in to brightness.” However this particular translation doesn’t seem to work very well. Almost appears as if yin, being obscure is a lesser quality and yang, the brightness, a better one. This is not Taoism. Above all else however, be decent and kind. No matter the translation, this seems to be a hodge podge chapter. Perhaps the overall intent is to describe the ideal state – harmony and cooperation, and to contrast with how a top down system of rule, seperates the ruler, and to caution this ruler against forsaking or not providing for his people. Treating them poorly or violently will result in tragedy. I wonder if Lao Tzu had written his thoughts when he wasn’t leaving town, how different they would be? What do you think?


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