Tao Te Ching – Verse 41 – When a superior man hears of the Tao, he immediately begins to embody it

41
When a superior man hears of the Tao,
he immediately begins to embody it.
When an average man hears of the Tao,
he half believes it, half doubts it.
When a foolish man hears of the Tao,
he laughs out loud.
If he didn’t laugh,
it wouldn’t be the Tao.

Thus it is said:
The path into the light seems dark,
the path forward seems to go back,
the direct path seems long,
true power seems weak,
true purity seems tarnished,
true steadfastness seems changeable,
true clarity seems obscure,
the greatest art seems unsophisticated,
the greatest love seems indifferent,
the greatest wisdom seems childish.

The Tao is nowhere to be found.
Yet it nourishes and completes all things.

(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
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Higher people hear of the Tao
They diligently practice it
Average people hear of the Tao
They sometimes keep it and sometimes lose it
Lower people hear of the Tao
They laugh loudly at it
If they do not laugh, it would not be the Tao

Therefore a proverb has the following:
The clear Tao appears unclear
The advancing Tao appears to retreat
The smooth Tao appears uneven
High virtue appears like a valley
Great integrity appears like disgrace
Encompassing virtue appears insufficient
Building virtue appears inactive
True substance appears inconstant
The great square has no corners
The great vessel is late in completion
The great music is imperceptible in sound
The great image has no form
The Tao is hidden and nameless
Yet it is only the Tao
That excels in giving and completing everything

(translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
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Fools take nothingness to be just as it hides.
Fools laugh that in Zero is all, outside it is inside it.
The darkest is the most Light;
Moving forward halts progress;
The mountains are illusions;
Proximity to Zero appears as folly;
Pure white appears blurred;
Peace appears as war;
Power appears weak;
Vivid is transparent;
The most vast castle has no walls;
The Well of healing water appears partly empty;
Great music hides in Silence;
The Great Being, so great, may be formless;
Nothingness is nameless;
Zero is hidden;
Touching one verse here brings fulfillment.

(translation by Jeremy M. Miller, 2013)
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from I Ching Online

 

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