verse for today (*):
There was something formless and perfect
before the universe was born.
It is serene. Empty.
Infinite. Eternally present.
It is the mother of the universe.
For lack of a better name,
I call it the Tao.
It flows through all things,
inside and outside, and returns
to the origin of all things.
The Tao is great.
The universe is great.
Earth is great.
Man is great.
These are the four great powers.
Man follows the earth.
Earth follows the universe.
The universe follows the Tao.
The Tao follows only itself.
(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
There is something formlessly created
Born before Heaven and Earth
So silent! So ethereal!
Independent and changeless
Circulating and ceaseless
It can be regarded as the mother of the world
I do not know its name (translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
Identifying it, I call it "Tao"
Forced to describe it, I call it great
Great means passing
Passing means receding
Receding means returning
Therefore the Tao is great
Heaven is great
Earth is great
The sovereign is also great
There are four greats in the universe
And the sovereign occupies one of them
Humans follow the laws of Earth
Earth follows the laws of Heaven
Heaven follows the laws of Tao
Tao follows the laws of nature
The great Paradox in Zero always was. (translation by Jeremy M. Miller, 2013)
The great Paradox in Zero is lively Bliss.
Perhaps there could be layers of destruction:
But that is the human wrestling with mortality,
And the human wrestling with the feminine.
Zero has no Form.
Causation is Its tease.
Beginning and End are games the Mother plays with all beings.
But they are games.
Games can give way to Infinity.
*) The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic.
It was written around the 6th century BC by the sage Lao Tzu.
The short text consists of 81 brief chapters, or verses.
Every day we issue a "verse of the day" for contemplation, in two leading English translations, that nevertheless differ substantially, and since December 8th 2013, we have a radically different third translation:
"Nothingness and Zero"
A Post New-Age Approach to Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, published by courtesy of the translator and interpreter.
© Copyright 2013 Jeremy M. Miller. All rights reserved.
Acknowledgments: The hundreds of prior translations, especially that by Arthur Waley.
To Pythagoras, who understood Zero and taught It; and to Chuang Tzu, the ideal poetic student.
The I Ching is based on the number 2, with its 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 (26) = 64 hexagrams.
The Tao Te Ching is based on the number 3, with its 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 81 chapters.
We now offer it in three translations.
Perhaps, when reflecting on the three interpretations, the true meaning will emerge.
These 81 verses simply rotate; every day the next number, and after 81, number 1 will appear again.
This is done deliberately; if you want to read the complete text, you should purchase the resp. translations by Stephen Mitchell, Derek Lin or Jeremy M. Miller below.
(All three available in Kindle edition as well.)
If you missed yesterday's verse, you can still read it at I Ching Online Original (version 2), which is always one day behind.
More books about Tao Te Ching: