We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
Thirty spokes join in one hub
In its emptiness, there is the function of a vehicle
Mix clay to create a container
In its emptiness, there is the function of a container
Cut open doors and windows to create a room
In its emptiness, there is the function of a room
Therefore, that which exists is used to create benefit
That which is empty is used to create functionality
(translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
It is the gaps that define.
That definition is perfect.
Ornate vessels hold water —
So it is Nothingness which has been defined, not the vessel.
The unwise have been tricked.
(translation by Jeremy M. Miller, 2013)
from I Ching Online