dawei

[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 27

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Legge 1891

27 
The skilful traveller leaves no traces of his wheels or 
footsteps; the skilful speaker says nothing that can be found fault 
with or blamed; the skilful reckoner uses no tallies; the skilful 
closer needs no bolts or bars, while to open what he has shut will be 
impossible; the skilful binder uses no strings or knots, while to 
unloose what he has bound will be impossible. In the same way the 
sage is always skilful at saving men, and so he does not cast away any 
man; he is always skilful at saving things, and so he does not cast 
away anything. This is called 'Hiding the light of his procedure.'

Therefore the man of skill is a master (to be looked up to) by him 
who has not the skill; and he who has not the skill is the helper of 
(the reputation of) him who has the skill. If the one did not honour 
his master, and the other did not rejoice in his helper, an 
(observer), though intelligent, might greatly err about them. This is 
called 'The utmost degree of mystery.' 


Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904
27

A good traveler leaves no track; A good speaker leaves no error; A good reckoner needs no counter;
A good closer needs no bars or bolts, And yet it is impossible to open after him. A good fastener needs no cords or knots, And yet it is impossible to untie after him.
Even if men be bad, why should they be rejected? Therefore the Sage is always a good saviour of men, And no man is rejected; He is a good saviour of things, And nothing is rejected: This is called double enlightenment.
Therefore good men are had men's instructors, And bad men are good men's materials.
Those who do not esteem their instructors, And those who do not love their materials, Though expedient, are in fact greatly confused. This is essential subtlety.


Derek Lin 1994

27
Good traveling does not leave tracks
Good speech does not seek faults
Good reckoning does not use counters
Good closure needs no bar and yet cannot be opened
Good knot needs no rope and yet cannot be untied
Therefore sages often save others
And so do not abandon anyone
They often save things
And so do not abandon anything
This is called following enlightenment
Therefore the good person is the teacher of the bad person
The bad person is the resource of the good person
The one who does not value his teachers
And does not love his resources
Although intelligent, he is greatly confused
This is called the essential wonder

 

Skilled travelers in the journey of life follow the path of nature. They do not force their way through obstacles or trample over the paths of other travelers. Therefore, they leave no signs of their passing. Similarly, those who are skillful in the art of conversation do not use words to highlight the faults of others. Such actions breed contention - and conflicts leave many tracks indeed!
There are those who are good at capturing people's attention, imagination, and heart. They do not need to lock people in to keep them around. People would naturally not wish to leave. They can also be skillful in bonding with people. When they have connected with people at a deep level, it is a bond that is stronger than any knots tied with ropes.
This is how sages deal with people. Because of their genuine virtue, they maintain a captive audience without having to physically force anyone to be present. They cherish everyone and all things, and it becomes clear to the people that the sage would never abandon them. This is part of the powerful bond that the sage naturally establishes with others.
One reason why sages don't give up on anyone is that everyone plays a role in the overall stage of life. Everyone has an impact on everyone else, and it is up to an individual to make use of that impact. A good person can serve as a teacher and be a great example for us to emulate. Not-so-good individuals is just as useful, because we can observe the negative consequences of their negative actions, and learn from that as what not to do.
In this way, the sages see everyone as valuable teachers or resources. They do not praise the good people and condemn the bad, because they feel genuine love and affection for all of them. Most of us are not quite that way - we quickly develope likes and dislikes, preferences and aversions in dealing with others. We lack the ability to deal everyone with the same degree of universal love that sages possess; we can only look upon this essential aspect of their character with a sense of wonder.
Perhaps one day, when we have reached a certain level of cultivation, we can also possess the essential wonder of universal love. When that happens, we will no longer see people we despise - only people who represent certain aspects of the greater oneness that is also us.


Ellen Marie Chen 1989

27
Good (shan) running leaves no tracks,
Good speech has no flaws,
Good counting uses no counters,
A good lock uses no bolts yet cannot be opened,
A good knot uses no rope yet cannot be untied.
Hence the sage is always good at saving people,
Therefore no one is rejected.
He is always good at saving things,
Therefore nothing is rejected.
This is called following the light (ming).
Therefore the good person,
Is the not-good (pu-shan) person's teacher.
The not-good (pu-shan) person,
Is the good person's capital.
One who does not honor (kuei) the teacher,
Or love (ai) the capital,
Is greatly confounded though knowledgeable (chih).
This is called the important mystery (miao).

 

Hua Ching Ni

27
One who is good at running leaves no tracks.
One who is good at talking has no flaws in his speech.
One who is good at calculating makes no use of counting tools.
One who is good at shutting things makes no use of bolt and bar, yet no one can open what he has shut.
One who is good at tying makes no use of cords and knots, yet no one can untie what he has fastened.
One of natural, integral virtue is good at helping all people impartially.
Thus, no one is abandoned.
Because he is good at protecting and preserving all things,
nothing is ever thrown away.
This is called "embodying the light of the subtle truth."
Hence, the people on the Universal Integral Way are teachers of those off the Way.
However, if the student does not value the teacher,
and the teacher does not tend the student well,
though they both may be intelligent enough,
this leads only to further separation.


Flowing Hands

27
When you are at one with the Dao, nothing is left undone.
For a Man can walk without leaving any trace.
A good speaker always knows his part.
A good door requires no lock;
for there is nothing behind that door that thieves and bandits will want to steal.
A good teacher will always stay with a bad student,
until his work is done.
If the student is not cared for, how can the teacher be respected.
To become a good teacher always use the Dao first,
if this doesn't succeed, words must be used.
When words are used great confusion can arise,
thats why the Ancient Masters offered the Dao and said little.

 

Added:

 

Lin Yutang 1948

27
A good runner leaves no track. 
A good speech leaves no flaws for attack. 
A good reckoner makes use of no counters. 
A well-shut door makes use of no bolts, 
   And yet cannot be opened. 
A well-tied knot makes use of no rope, 
   And yet cannot be untied.

Therefore the Sage is good at helping men; 
   For that reason there is no rejected (useless) person. 
He is good at saving things; 
   For that reason there is nothing rejected. 
    - This is called stealing the Light.

Therefore the good man is the Teacher of the bad. 
And the bad man is the lesson of the good.

He who neither values his teacher 
Nor loves the lesson 
Is one gone far astray, 
   Though he be learned. 
   - Such is the subtle secret.

 

LY notes:

Without indulging in metaphysical terminology, Laotse is just as mystical as Chuangtse. "A good runner leaves no track" , etc, refers to the principle of reaching harmony and order without relying upon external devices and solutions. The futility of such devices is well shown in Chuangtse's discussion of the futility of the treatise for the purpose of keep peace, See 19.1.   If peace, order, and the pursuit of happiness are invisible things, obviously they cannot be really obtained by visible means. 

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This chapter has always been of value to me.

 

I normally, in my real life, try to be as invisible as possible.  

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

This chapter has always been of value to me.

 

I normally, in my real life, try to be as invisible as possible.  

 

 

You're invisible ?  That ought to be pretty handy. :)

 

As for my opinion on this chapter, I don't like it , because it reinforces the polemic of good and bad.

Since it declares some things as being good , the flip side is the judgement of some things being bad. 

Remember the jazz where judgement of things being beautiful , implies a judgement , , or the creation of conceptual badness. 

Recognize , that I am not the one from whom this translation or idea arises TTC Ch 2

 

Lin Yutang

When the people of the Earth all know beauty as beauty,
There arises (the recognition of) ugliness.
When the people of the Earth all know the good as good,
There arises (the recognition of) evil.

Therefore:
Being and non-being interdepend in growth;
Difficult and easy interdepend in completion;
Long and short interdepend in contrast;
High and low interdepend in position;
Tones and voice interdepend in harmony;
Front and behind interdepend in company.

Therefore the Sage:
Manages affairs without action;
Preaches the doctrine without words;
All things take their rise, but he does not turn away from them;
He gives them life, but does not take possession of them;
He acts, but does not appropriate;
Accomplishes, but claims no credit.
It is because he lays claim to no credit
That the credit cannot be taken away from him

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Stosh said:

You're invisible ?  That ought to be pretty handy. :)

 

It really is a handy capability.  But don't try to take the association too far.  There are limits.  When you touch things you are no longer invisible.

 

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Chapter 27 to me is one of the most powerful and profound chapters in the Tao Te Ching. In this chapter, it directly describes how the path (and enlightenment) is different than in many other traditions.

 

As it says...

 

Hence the sage is always good at saving people,
Therefore no one is rejected.
He is always good at saving things,
Therefore nothing is rejected.
This is called following the light (ming).

 

Enlightenment is not found by simply working on yourself. In chapter 28, it goes on to specifically outline the path.

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38 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

It really is a handy capability.  But don't try to take the association too far.  There are limits.  When you touch things you are no longer invisible.

 

That sounds sad. :(  Yknow, Lin 's piece also suggests , the 'forest for the trees' approach too , right?  (That the door which looks no different from the wall is effectively invisible as well.) 

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

Chapter 27 to me is one of the most powerful and profound chapters in the Tao Te Ching. In this chapter, it directly describes how the path (and enlightenment) is different than in many other traditions.

 

As it says...

 

Hence the sage is always good at saving people,
Therefore no one is rejected.
He is always good at saving things,
Therefore nothing is rejected.
This is called following the light (ming).

 

Enlightenment is not found by simply working on yourself. In chapter 28, it goes on to specifically outline the path.

 

Yes, quite a profound idea... as was stated above, 'Even if men be bad, why should they be rejected?'.

 

Seems you quoted Chen... Marblehead has good company in liking her translations now :)

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20 minutes ago, dawei said:

 

Yes, quite a profound idea... as was stated above, 'Even if men be bad, why should they be rejected?'.

 

Seems you quoted Chen... Marblehead has good company in liking her translations now :)

 

Yes, thought it was a decent version. :) 

 

I also like this point too as it also highlights some of the differences we have discussed with other traditions. This time from SFH...

 

To become a good teacher always use the Dao first,
if this doesn't succeed, words must be used.
When words are used great confusion can arise,
thats why the Ancient Masters offered the Dao and said little.

 

Using the Dao is the hidden gateway.  But, if one is not ready for such a "sharing" path, you teach with words, which are often confusing.  Directly sharing is always best if possible.

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When one understands the Dao has no roles for a man to fulfill, or rules that can be broken, or lessons to pass on, he is freed. ( meow)

Edited by Stosh
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Hope you don't mind me joining in.

 

I, too, favor the Lin Yutang translation. This verse sums up the lesson in this chapter for me. 

 

He who neither values his teacher Nor loves the lesson Is one gone far astray, Though he be learned.
-Such is the subtle secret.

 

The phrase "... gone far astray ..." seems almost idiomatic to English, conveying more than just the words. Hence, most meaningful in this chapter.

 

One thing I notice in Lin's translation is that there is not comment on what good and evil "interdepend in".  I've always found that interresting.

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7 minutes ago, OldDog said:

Hope you don't mind me joining in.

 

I, too, favor the Lin Yutang translation. This verse sums up the lesson in this chapter for me. 

 

Ok, added him to the list above... 

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3 hours ago, OldDog said:

Hope you don't mind me joining in.

 

I, too, favor the Lin Yutang translation. This verse sums up the lesson in this chapter for me. 

 

He who neither values his teacher Nor loves the lesson Is one gone far astray, Though he be learned.
-Such is the subtle secret.

 

The phrase "... gone far astray ..." seems almost idiomatic to English, conveying more than just the words. Hence, most meaningful in this chapter.

 

One thing I notice in Lin's translation is that there is not comment on what good and evil "interdepend in".  I've always found that interresting.

Yep, very significant. What word would you suggest as the unbiased subject of that polemic set? 

.Imo... VERY significant and apparently VERY subtle. :)

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I am not certain what you mean by polemic. It's not a word in my working vocabulary.

 

My understanding of this chapter is that it begins by calling examples of dualities and how they arise. At this point, I do not see a judgement, as such, just simply an observation. It is the ordinary mind that assigns value and renders judgement. The chapter goes on to say that the sage attends to his activities without actions or words; that is without distinguishing between things based on arbitrary value. As a result he is unencumbered by such distinctions, accomplishes his end and when his work is done retires.

 

I think the TTC deliberately does not mention interdependency of good and evil. To do so might imply a morality which is yet another arbitrary valuation of ordinary mind and leads to confusion and contention. Therefore the sage is silent.

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The interdependency of good and evil is the thing being used to enlighten us to the interdependent nature of the other things.

Doesnt this sage have goals like teaching?

The point is that he approaches his goals using a sort of reverse psychology or daoist alchemy. 

its this interdependency which makes this approach feasible. The effective teacher asks questions, which sets the stage for the student to bring the resolutions into being. Or he sets an example which inspires etc and so forth. The effective teacher sets the scene for the student to grow. 

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9 hours ago, OldDog said:

 

I think the TTC deliberately does not mention interdependency of good and evil. To do so might imply a morality which is yet another arbitrary valuation of ordinary mind and leads to confusion and contention. Therefore the sage is silent.

Great observation, in my opinion.  I think the same could be said about Chuang Tzu.

 

 

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I have spent a lot of time lately, prompted largely by this chapter, considering the arising of interdependent pairs; so called opposites. I had to challenge my thinking by considering that my understanding may be superficial; that is, simple recognition of opposing pairs only gets you to the surface. Recognition that they are complementary rather than opposing begins to scratch that surface. The idea of two things opposing is almost a value judgement leading to preference of one over the other. Complementary understanding allows you to see pairs simply as interdependent. At this level, you can begin to see the confusion and contention that wrestling with distinctions and categories can bring; how such mental juggling becomes time consuming and ultimately detracts from one's ability to accomplish anything. 

 

I don't know how many layers deep such analysis has to go. I do sense that one who has been through the process ( the sage ) can reach a point where action is possible without being encumbered by the interdependencies. Thus, recognizing them is the first step in abandoning them. Is this what is meant by all things being leveled in Tao?

 

So, to Stosh's point, what is the teaching of the sage or one who understands all things being leveled? Seems like one can begin by recognizing arisings but if the recognition is superficial the risk is in having perpetuated superficiality. How does a sage teach going further? Is this one of those things that cannot be expressed through words?

 

I guess I am rambling a bit. I'll take a breath here.

Edited by OldDog
Supply missing word
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Remember, we don't have to see things as opposites or even as complimentary.  We can see things simply as just being.

 

Look at the tree.  It just is.  Go deeper and we will likely end up with complimentaries and opposites.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Marblehead said:

Remember, we don't have to see things as opposites or even as complimentary.  We can see things simply as just being.

 

Look at the tree.  It just is.  Go deeper and we will likely end up with complimentaries and opposites.

 

 

 

I think LZ is quite clever in showing the unity of opposites... he can speak of One and Two at the same time.   SO whereas we often try to show ho opposites make up the whole, or how the whole is just one, when have you seen One = Two ?

 

One and two could be left and right, up and down.   And it is not always opposites, just here one aspect and another aspect are not really different aspects. 

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Yes, All is One .... Ten Thousand Things. This is an important and subtle point in LZ and a little more developed in CZ. 

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