Tao Te Ching – Verse 45 – True perfection seems imperfect, yet it is perfectly itself

45
True perfection seems imperfect,
yet it is perfectly itself.
True fullness seems empty,
yet it is fully present.

True straightness seems crooked.
True wisdom seems foolish.
True art seems artless.

The Master allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out of the way
and lets the Tao speak for itself.

(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
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Great perfection seems flawed
Its function is without failure
Great fullness seems empty
Its function is without exhaustion
Great straightness seems bent

Great skill seems unrefined
Great eloquence seems inarticulate
Movement overcomes cold
Stillness overcomes heat
Clear quietness is the standard of the world

(translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
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Perfection has no contours.
Fullness is one with emptiness.
There are no straight paths to truth.
Skill is lazy in its restfulness.
Eloquence distracts.
Doing Nothing is better than doing something,
Because something is uncomfortable,
And uncomfortable are all things.
They can be spoken of, but that gives little solace.
They are not Nothingness.

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

 

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