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[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 34

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Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904
34

 

The great Tao pervades everywhere, both on the left and on the right.
By it all things came into being, and it does not reject them. Merits accomplished, it does not possess them. It loves and nourishes all things but does not dominate over them.
It is always non-existent; therefore it can be named as small.
All things return home to it, and it does not claim mastery over them; therefore it can be named as great.
Because it never assumes greatness, therefore it can accomplish greatness.


David Hinton

34

 

Way is vast, a flood
so utterly vast it's flowing everywhere.
The ten thousand things depend on it:
giving them life and never leaving them it performs wonders but remains nameless.
Feeding and clothing the ten thousand things
without ruling over them,
perennially that free of desire,
it's small in name.
And being what the ten thousand things return to
without ruling over them,
it's vast in name.
It never makes itself vast and so becomes utterly vast.

 

Ellen Marie Chen 1989

34

 
The great Tao floods over,
To the left, to the right.
Ten thousand beings live by it,
And it does not reject them.
Work is accomplished (ch'eng), yet it has no name.
It clothes and nourishes ten thousand beings,
But does not lord over them.
Always without desire,
It may be named the small;
Ten thousand beings return (kuei) to it,
Yet it does not lord over them,
It may be named the great.
Because it never considers itself great,
Therefore it can accomplish (ch'eng) its greatness.


Witter Bynner
34

 

Bountiful life, letting anyone attend, 
Making no distinction between left or right. 
Feeding everyone, refusing no one,
Has not provided this bounty to show how much it owns,
Has not fed and clad its guests with any thought of claim;
And, because it lacks the twist
Of mind or body in what it has done,
The guile of head or hands,
Is not always respected by a guest.
Others appreciate welcome from the perfect host
Who, barely appearing to exist,
Exists the most.

 

John McDonald
34

 

The great Tao flows unobstructed in every direction. 
All things rely on it to conceive and be born, 
and it does not deny even the smallest of creation. 
When it has accomplished great wonders, 
it does not claim them for itself. 
It nourishes infinite worlds, 
yet it doesn't seek to master the smallest creature. 
Since it is without wants and desires, 
it can be considered humble. 
All of creation seeks it for refuge 
yet it does not seek to master or control. 
Because it does not seek greatness; 
it is able to accomplish truly great things. 

 

Flowing Hands
34

 

The great Dao flows everywhere.
The Ten Thousand Things all depend upon it.
It flows and fulfils its purpose and takes no credit or claim to fame,
for its giving of life.
It nourishes the Ten Thousand Things and yet it does not rule them.
The Ten Thousand Things all return to it, but it still makes no claim to possess them.
For it is great.
It never shows its greatness.
But its greatness can be seen in the manifestations of the Ten Thousand Things.
It is elusive, but it can be found.

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50 minutes ago, oranssi said:

An egoless Dao and not necessarily without ego.

That could be argued from a religious perspective.  I doubt it could from a philosophical perspective.

 

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The SFH version of this chapter is in a way dramatically different. It ends with...

 

It is elusive, but it can be found.

 

That is a bold statement that the other versions do not touch upon. Any thoughts?

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1 minute ago, Jeff said:

The SFH version of this chapter is in a way dramatically different. It ends with...

 

It is elusive, but it can be found.

 

That is a bold statement that the other versions do not touch upon. Any thoughts?

I have talked about this before.  I agree with Flowing Hands.  It can be "realized" spiritually but it is still beyond the manifest so we can't show it to anyone else.

 

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19 minutes ago, Jeff said:

The SFH version of this chapter is in a way dramatically different. It ends with...

 

It is elusive, but it can be found.

 

That is a bold statement that the other versions do not touch upon. Any thoughts?

 

As can be seen in other translations, like Chen :

 

It may be named the great.
Because it never considers itself great,
Therefore it can accomplish (ch'eng) its greatness.

 

In the chinese, there is a repeat of the character for 'great' in the last three lines.

 

The insightful turn that SFH makes is that while the passage starts and is mainly about Dao it introduces the ten thousand and it would be easy to just end with just the repetition... instead, SFH ties Dao to then thousand/manifestation and then shows what it really means to be 'great' (It is elusive, but it can be found.)

 

Not saying that was his intent but that is what I see. 

 

The Greatness of Dao is in being too vast [to describe] yet found in everything.   Seems a summation of many chapters. 

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Of course one can interpret many things as being this and that which certainly it can apply, but remember the DDJ is a book of self cultivation and the practices of Li Erh are hidden deep in the words.;)

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