dawei

[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 36

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Derek Lin 1994

 

36

 

If one wishes to shrink it
One must first expand it
If one wishes to weaken it
One must first strengthen it
If one wishes to discard it
One must first promote it
If one wishes to seize it
One must first give it
This is called subtle clarity
The soft and weak overcomes the tough and strong
Fish cannot leave the depths
The sharp instruments of the state
Cannot be shown to the people

If we wish to reduce something, to make something smaller, we must first expand it. After it is stretched out, it will naturally shrink back down to size.
Similarly, if we wish to weaken something, we must first strengthen it. The seed of weakness invariably exists in the greatest of strengths.
In order for something to be discarded or abandoned, it is first promoted. The world is full of examples of things that are hyped up and then thrown away and forgotten without a second thought.
In order to get something, we must first give it. For instance, if we wish to be treated kindly, we must start by treating others with kindness. This works because the Tao process is circular; the principle underlying all interactions is one of dynamic, universal energy exchange.
We say that these illuminated insights are subtle, because they seem to be the very opposite of our habitual thought patterns. To understand them is to become enlightened in the subtle workings of the Tao.
That which is gentle, soft and weak seems to yield to that which possesses toughness, strength and aggressiveness, but the yielding is deceptive, for in the end the soft overcomes the hard.
It is the nature of the Tao to remain hidden. Just as the fish does not leave the depths and a country does not display its weapons and inner workings to the people, a sage remains deeply immersed in the Tao and does not utilize his or her insights against people who are more shallow.


Ellen Marie Chen 1989

 

36

 

What is to be reduced,
Must first be expanded.
What is to be weakened,
Must first be made strong (ch'iang).
What is to be abolished,
Must first be established.
What is to be taken away,
Must first be given.
This is called the subtle illumination (wei ming).
The soft and weak overcome the hard and strong.
Fish must not leave the stream.
Sharp weapons (ch'i) of a state,
Must not be displayed.


Ni 1979

 

36

 

If you hope to expand, you should first contract.
If you hope to become strong, you should first weaken yourself.
If your ambition is to be exalted, humiliation will follow.
If you hold fast to something, it will surely be taken away from you.
This is the operation of the subtle law of the universe.
The law of the universe is subtle, but it can be known.
The soft and meek can overcome the hard and strong.
The strength of a country must not be displayed.
Just as fish cannot leave the deep,
one must never stray from one's true nature.


J. McDonald

 

36 

 

If you want something to return to the source, 
you must first allow it to spread out. 
If you want something to weaken, 
you must first allow it to become strong. 
If you want something to be removed, 
you must first allow it to flourish. 
If you want to possess something, 
you must first give it away.

This is called the subtle understanding 
of how things are meant to be.

The soft and pliable overcomes the hard and inflexible.

Just as fish remain hidden in deep waters, 
it is best to keep weapons out of sight. 


Ta-Kao 1904

 

36

 

In order to contract a thing, one should surely expand it first.
In order to weaken, one will surely strengthen first. 
In order to overthrow, one will surely exalt first. 
In order to take, one will surely give first!
This is called subtle wisdom. 
The soft and weak can overcome the hard and strong.
As the fish should not leave the deep 
So should the sharp implements of a nation not be shown to anyone!

 

 

Flowing Hands 1987

 

36

 

That which shrinks, must first have expanded.
That which fails, must first have succeeded.
In the nature of things, nothing is truly constant,
for nature is constantly flowing, giving birth and then returning.
This is the nature of all things.
By observing nature we can see its workings.
The soft and yielding will always overcome the strong and rigid.
In a strong wind, a tree will never fall that bends to the force.
If it remains inflexible and rigid, it will surely fall.
The Dao is always soft and yielding.
Therefore it always remains at one and will never fall.
For it is eternal.
 

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1 hour ago, Boundlesscostfairy said:

So is this about the spiritual concept of slack?

 

And bending to things, not breaking them..?

It's all about flexibility.

 

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For me Ch.36 speaks to the relativity of opposites and the notion of change and reversion, which is a central taoist theme.

 

Emptiness and fullness alternate, and their relations are not fixed. Past years cannot be recalled; time cannot be arrested. The succession of growth and decay, of increase and diminution, goes in a cycle, each end becoming a new beginning. In this sense only may we discuss the ways of truth and the principles of the universe. The life of things passes by like a rushing, galloping horse, changing at every turn, at every hour. - Chuangtse (Lin Yutang)

Edited by OldDog
Gramatical and attribution
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On 3/17/2018 at 7:19 PM, dawei said:

Flowing Hands 1987

 

36

 

In the nature of things, nothing is truly constant,
for nature is constantly flowing, giving birth and then returning.
This is the nature of all things.
 

 

This really spoke to me as I was reviewing an ancient text called Heng Xian (Primordially Before All) where it said:

 

A Philosophical Translation of the Heng Xian
Erica F. Brindley & Paul R. Goldin & Esther S. Klein

Published online: 27 April 2013

 

Dusky and disquiet, seeking that which engenders them9: difference engenders difference,


returning engenders returning, divergence engenders opposition, opposition engenders
divergence, and dependence engenders dependence.昏昏不寧,求其所生。異生異,歸生
歸, 違生非, 非生違, 依生依。
[Things] seek, desiring to reproduce of their own accord.10 Reproduction is the
process of engendering life. 求, 欲自復。復,(End 3; begin 4) 生之生行。

 

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CONFESSION...  I can't seem to muster the energy to keep this series going.   I'm happy if someone with more energy and time wants to continue it.

 

Title:   [DDJ Meaning] Chapter XX

 

Translators:   I tended to use some that are not in our past series but can look back at what has been shared so far. 

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In order to expand our understanding we must grow in both directions on a scale.
Grow through expansion, and grow through contraction.
Then you can grow, and you are in balance.
Then you become competent.
Then you become an everyman, a master of all seasons.

If reading these words we interpret them as an excuse not to engage or grow, then we are looking for cheap answers, and will shrivel up meaninglessly.

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In some respects I am responsible for starting this. I really wanted to show how different translation arrive at differing meanings and how we have lost what Le Erh really wanted us to try and understand. It brings me back to the reason why he wanted to teach me the DDJ because it really had become an old dusty, philosophical work, pondered over by academics who basically categorized it as philosophical concept that one really couldn't get ones head around. But it isn't, its a vibrant, self cultivation manual, full of life and spirit; a work that was made by a man who spent his life in self cultivation at the highest level.

 

It is the words of a god/Immortal (and you can't get any better than that).

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20 hours ago, flowing hands said:

In some respects I am responsible for starting this. I really wanted to show how different translation arrive at differing meanings and how we have lost what Le Erh really wanted us to try and understand. It brings me back to the reason why he wanted to teach me the DDJ because it really had become an old dusty, philosophical work, pondered over by academics who basically categorized it as philosophical concept that one really couldn't get ones head around. But it isn't, its a vibrant, self cultivation manual, full of life and spirit; a work that was made by a man who spent his life in self cultivation at the highest level.

 

It is the words of a god/Immortal (and you can't get any better than that).

 

Yes, and I'm glad you asked for it but not sure it is going as you hoped.  In any case, it beats repeating another round of getting pedantic on individual words and try and just get an overall impression, feeling and sense of the meaning of a chapter(s). 

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Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.

 

Do they ?   The men who went to the Moon were not soft and weak.   They had spirit and persistence.

 

Things alternate.

 

Yes, and then ?   So what ?
Are you saying it means something ?
What do the seasons mean ?
Is it just a show ?
No.   They are growing something.

Yin-Yang is an engine at the centre of this universe to grow something.

 

A nation's weapons must not be displayed.

 

Well, following rules is for people who live without intelligence.   True intelligence is flexible and takes account of many things.

Taoism does not wish to go to the Moon, it wishes to yield back to the source of the yin-yang.   An ultimate death.
Some beings like the feeling of this direction of "growth".

 

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2 hours ago, rideforever said:

Yin-Yang is an engine at the centre of this universe to grow something.

I like that.

 

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