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[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 14

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Legge

 

14 
We look at it, and we do not see it, and we name it 'the Equable.'

We listen to it, and we do not hear it, and we name it 'the Inaudible.'

We try to grasp it, and do not get hold of it, and we name it 'the Subtle.'

With these three qualities, it cannot be made the subject of description; and hence we blend them together and obtain The One.

Its upper part is not bright, and its lower part is not obscure. 
Ceaseless in its action, it yet cannot be named, and then it again returns and becomes nothing.

This is called the Form of the Formless, and the Semblance of the Invisible; this is called the Fleeting and Indeterminable.

We meet it and do not see its Front; we follow it, and do not see its Back.

When we can lay hold of the Tao of old to direct the things of the present day, and are able to know it as it was of old in the beginning, this is called (unwinding) the clue of Tao. 


Lau

 

14 
What cannot be seen is called evanescent; 
What cannot be heard is called rarefied; 
What cannot be touched is called minute.

These three cannot be fathomed 
And so they are confused and looked upon as one.

Its upper part is not dazzling; 
Its lower part is not obscure. 
Dimly visible, it cannot be named 
And returns to that which is without substance. 
This is called the shape that has no shape, 
The image that is without substance. 
This is called indistinct and shadowy. 
Go up to it and you will not see its head; 
Follow behind it and you will not see its rear.

Hold fast to the way of antiquity 
In order to keep in control the realm of today. 
The ability to know the beginning of antiquity 
Is called the thread running through the way. 


Feng/English

 

14
Look, it cannot be seen - it is beyond form. 
Listen, it cannot be heard - it is beyond sound. 
Grasp, it cannot be held - it is intangible. 
These three are indefinable; 
Therefore they are joined in one.

From above it is not bright; 
From below it is not dark: 
An unbroken thread beyond description. 
It returns to nothingness. 
The form of the formless, 
The image of the imageless, 
It is called indefinable and beyond imagination.

Stand before it and there is no beginning. 
Follow it and there is no end. 
Stay with the ancient Tao, 
Move with the present.

Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.



Jonathan Star

 

14
Eyes look but cannot see it
Ears listen but cannot hear it
Hands grasp but cannot touch it
Beyond the senses lies the great Unity ? invisible, inaudible, intangible
What rises up appears bright
What settles down appears dark
Yet there is neither darkness nor light just an unbroken dance of shadows
From nothingness to fullness and back again to nothingness
This formless form
This imageless image cannot be grasped by mind or might
Try to face it
In what place will you stand?
Try to follow it
To what place will you go?
Know That which is beyond all beginnings and you will know everything here and now
Know everything in this moment and you will know the Eternal Tao


Flowing Hands Transmission

 

14  
Look, it can never be seen, for it has no form. 
Listen, it can never be heard, it is beyond sound. 
Grasp, it can never be held, it is intangible. 
Although it can never be seen, heard or held, its spirit is always there. 
For it is formed from nothing and so returns to nothing. 
It is beyond description, But it is the Mother of the Ten Thousand Things. 
It has no beginning and no end, but it is great. 
Stay with this (in your heart) the ancient Dao, but move with the present.  
Knowing the Dao is the ancient beginning of all things. 

 

Ni Eludication

 

14
Look at it, but you cannot see it.
Because it is formless, you call it invisible.
Listen to it, but you cannot hear it.
Because it is soundless, you call it inaudible.
Grasp it, but it is beyond your reach.
Because it is subtle, you call it intangible.
These three are indescribable and imperceptible,
but in the mystical moment you see it, hear it and grasp it,
the Unseen, Unheard and Unreachable presents itself as the indefinable essence.
Confront it, and you do not see its face.
Follow it, and you do not see its back.
It does not appear bright when viewed at the zenith,
nor does it appear dark when viewed at the nadir.
There is nothing that can make this subtle essence of the universe distinct.
When you try to make it clear to yourself, it evasively reverts to Nothingness.
You may call it the Form of the Formless or the Image of the Imageless.
Yet the elusive, subtle essence remains nameless.
If you hope to meet it,
it has no part you can call front.
If you hope to follow it,
it has no place you can call behind.
Yet it can be observed in the constant regularity of the universe.
The constancy of the universe of antiquity is the constancy of the present time.
If one knows the Primal Beginning, one may thus know the truth of the universal subtle Way.

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I once tried my hand at translating this chapter and re-visited it... here is my version:

 

1. To look and not see it, this is [why Dao is] styled hidden.
2. To listen and not hear it, this is [why Dao is] styled silent.
3. To grasp and not obtain it, this is [why Dao is] is styled even and level.
4. These three are beyond measure,
5. Yet they form a Dao-Unity
6. This Dao-Unity:
7. Above Dao-Unity, there is no brightness to reach
8. Below Dao-Unity, there is no darkness to regard
9. The endless cycle cannot be named
10. It reveals the [ten thousand to the] original state of Wu-realm.
11. This is called [uniting] the Formless [to its] Form; [uniting] the Wu-realm [to its] appearance.
12. This is called suddenly viewing at a distance [the Dao-Unity].
13. Face it, there is nothing beyond it [Dao-Unity]
14. Follow it, there is nothing behind it [Dao-Unity]
15. To grasp Dao today is to live today
16. This is to know the [Way of the] ancient beginnings
17. This is called, The perpetual Way, Dao.

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On 5/26/2017 at 6:56 AM, Marblehead said:

This is one of the concepts that led me to declare Dao a verb and not a noun.

 

 

I've seen you say this many times.... and I think it would be good to fully explain this on some level.

 

I came to grips with with in CH. 1:1.   Way as [called] Way is not Eternal Way.

 

While visiting a daoist monastery in china many years ago, I was hit with:   Dao as Dao'ing is not Dao

 

 

 

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Yeah, maybe if I ever get my thoughts well enough together I could speak to it.  Haven't thought about it recently except the little pieces I share with Y'all.

 

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7 minutes ago, dawei said:

Dao as Dao'ing is not Dao

 

Just to share this meaning...

 

Dao [as perceived] as Dao'ing [in present time] is not Dao [of eternity]

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1 minute ago, dawei said:

 

Just to share this meaning...

 

Dao [as perceived] as Dao'ing [in present time] is not Dao [of eternity]

I had no way to respond to that and even after your help I still don't. 

 

Many times I have used the word "Tzujan" in place of Dao.  That's about as close as I can get.

 

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6 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

I had no way to respond to that and even after your help I still don't. 

 

Many times I have used the word "Tzujan" in place of Dao.  That's about as close as I can get.

 

 

It may be interesting to look at the Form=Void in relation to this formula too... but maybe we're getting off the chapter.

 

Dao [as a part of my senses] is called Dao [as a part of form] but is not <understood> as Dao [as a part of non-form, void].

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[Pulls hair after reading the word "Void".]

 

Form and Formless.  Impossible to describe the Formless.  All we can talk about is Form.  We can, however associate the processes in Form with likely similar process within the Formless.

 

But then, why would we want to do that?

 

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7 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

[Pulls hair after reading the word "Void".]

 

Form and Formless.  Impossible to describe the Formless.  All we can talk about is Form.  We can, however associate the processes in Form with likely similar process within the Formless.

 

But then, why would we want to do that?

 

 

But I think this chapter suggests that they are two sides of the same spectrum..

 

To name or talk one side, is ultimately to know the other nameless side. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, dawei said:

 

But I think this chapter suggests that they are two sides of the same spectrum..

 

To name or talk one side, is ultimately to know the other nameless side. 

 

 

I didn't want to go that far with the concept.  In fact, I can't go that far.  I still hold to the understanding that Manifest (yu) is a subset of Mystery (wu).  It still stands that Manifest (the physical universe) is only 4% of what the totality consists of (that would be Mystery).

 

But I won't argue against this understanding of yours.  How could I?

 

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15 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

I didn't want to go that far with the concept.  In fact, I can't go that far.  I still hold to the understanding that Manifest (yu) is a subset of Mystery (wu).  It still stands that Manifest (the physical universe) is only 4% of what the totality consists of (that would be Mystery).

 

But I won't argue against this understanding of yours.  How could I?

 

 

I think we're getting closer and closer in our arguments and understanding... thanks :)

 

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On 5/27/2017 at 3:59 PM, Marblehead said:

 

Many times I have used the word "Tzujan" in place of Dao.  That's about as close as I can get.

 

 

Good choice (-:

From DDJ25:

Man follows Earth.
Earth follows heaven.
Heaven follows the Tao.
Tao follows tzujan.

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Here is my view on Chapter 14...

 

The light of the "One"  (not Dao here) cannot be seen. It is beyond form.

The light cannot be heard (is not the high pitched sound that some hear).

The light cannot be held (locked into form, as that would be energy).

The light is undefinable.

There is nothing "higher" that can exist.

There is nothing "lower" or less formless.

And it is all a continual spectrum.

It emerges from the Dao, and is the formless motion of the Dao.

It is undefinable and beyond "mind".

Trying to chase it is hopeless as mind has no end.

Simply stay present and "reside" in the moment.

Knowing this is the essence of realizing the Tao.

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I was having some trouble understanding this one earlier. It reminds me of the Heart Sutra a bit.

 

Form does not differ from emptiness; emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness; emptiness itself is form. So too are feeling, cognition, formation, and consciousness...

Shariputra, all Dharmas are empty of characteristics. They are not produced, not destroyed, not defiled, not pure; and they neither increase nor diminish. Therefore, in emptiness there is no form, feeling, cognition, formation, or consciousness...

 

There is something in this chapter of Lao Tsu that I need to figure out. I'm going to meditate on it.

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I wonder why not much is said about the terms in this chapter: invisible, inaudible, intangible 夷yi, 希xi and 微wei and if those terms are used in other chapters or have different meaning in other aspects of Daoism?

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19 minutes ago, Mig said:

I wonder why not much is said about the terms in this chapter: invisible, inaudible, intangible 夷yi, 希xi and 微wei and if those terms are used in other chapters or have different meaning in other aspects of Daoism?

True that.  These are considered attributes of Dao.  And if we could speak of wu (mystery) I would no longer be mystery, would it?

 

I can't recall Chuang Tzu expanding on these concepts directly either.

 

But then, it has been said:

 

Those who speak do not know and those who know do not speak.

 

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Le Erh Xian Shi is giving us another description in words of the indescribable, the unknowable. But gives us an indication of how we can know. An elusion to self cultivation and a change of perception.

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38 minutes ago, flowing hands said:

 An elusion to self cultivation and a change of perception.

 

Please explain more :)

 

This seems to be the embodiment of Laozi... how to orient ourselves to Dao. 

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I like the moral to the closing of this chapter. To move with the times, but never forget to return to the ancient of the Dao.

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