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[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 40

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Derek Lin 1994

40

The returning is the movement of the Tao
The weak is the utilization of the Tao
The myriad things of the world are born of being
Being is born of non-being

 


Ellen Marie Chen 1989

40

Returning (fan) is the movement (tung) of Tao.
Weak (jo) is the functioning (yung) of Tao.
Ten thousand things under heaven are born of being (yu).
Being is born of non-being (wu).

 

 

Ni 1979

40

Returning to itself is how the subtle Way of the universe exercises itself.
Being gentle and yielding is how the subtle Way of the universe employs itself.
All things of the world come from the Manifest.
The Manifest comes from the unmanifest, subtle essence of the universe.


 

Tao-Ku 1904

40

Returning is the motion of Tao.
Weakness is the appliance of Tao.
All things in the Universe come from existence.
And existence from non-existence.

 

 

Lin Yutang 1948

40

Reversion is the action of Tao. 
   Gentleness is the function of Tao. 
The things of this world come from Being, 
   And Being (comes) from Non-being.

 

 

Flowing Hands 1987

40

The Dao is a constant flowing source of creativity; for everything is born of it,
and then returns to it.
Observe this motion of giving and taking, for the Dao gives as well as takes.
It is an on-going process.
If man gave as much as he took, the world would be in more balance.
But because he only knows about his own needs, he becomes blind to the whole.
And so he upsets the balance

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And I still don't like those words "weak" and "weakness".  I think Ni does it best with this concept.

 

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I agree with Marblehead ... weakness is not a word that conveys the concept very well. Suggests inability through lack of power. Ni says it well. 

 

I have always had trouble with the "return/returning". Suggests something positional ... or something had been departed from ... as if it were separate ... and where it went could have been anywhere. This may just be a personal bias with the word "return".

 

I like Lin Yutang's use of "reversion". It speaks to something being cyclic within itself ... without having lost or been separsted from its other condition(s). It has the same notion of change as is conveyed in the Yijing ... which I find satisfying.

 

This may be the most significant chapter in the DDJ.

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Yes, reversion and cycles are the best words, in my opinion, regarding these concepts.  "Return" causes much misunderstanding even though it really not incorrect.

 

 

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40
Returning is the motion of the Tao.
Yielding is the way of the Tao.
The ten thousand things are born of 
being.
Being is born of not being.

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Henricks does it a little differently:

 

1. "Reversal" is the movement of the Dao;
2. "Weakness" is the function of the Dao.
3. The things of the world originate in being,
4. And being originates in nonbeing.
 

 

But then I have spoken of my dislike for the word "weakness".  "Yielding" is more acceptable for me.

 

 

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20 hours ago, Marblehead said:

And I still don't like those words "weak" and "weakness".  I think Ni does it best with this concept.

 

 

I agree.  The meaning is one of ONENESS.  IF you are one, there is no reversion nor weakness.   The mind plays that game. 

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6 hours ago, rideforever said:

Returning is the motion of the Tao.

 

The Tao cannot be just returning or it would die, it circulates.   However from the perspective of a human it is returning that needs to be learnt.

 

7 hours ago, rideforever said:

Yielding is the way of the Tao.

 

And what is not yielding ?    Not yielding is the struggle that conscious beings experience in order to arise into individuality.   The struggle is like the grit in the oyster.   It is the means for individual arising.   Individual in the sense of the whole having spawned individuated centres each given some light.   The first manifestation of this endeavour is the false-self-beings who haven't quite got it.  Which is a painful phase that needs to be overcome.

 

7 hours ago, rideforever said:

Being is born of not being.

 

Also, in the not-beings are creatures who no longer return to manifestation.

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The Tao moves the other way

the Tao works through weakness

the things of this world come from something

something comes from nothing

‚ÄĒ-Lao Tzu‚Äôs Taoteching Translated by Red Pine

 

This is one of my favorite chapters, and Red Pine’s translation of this chapter speaks to me the most clearly.  Though I still keep coming back to it.

 

I think the¬†use of the word ‚Äúweakness‚ÄĚ is just right. ¬†Weak, like a baby is weak. ¬†Soft. ¬†Unformed. ¬†Plugged in to mom‚Äôs breast and drinking milk. ¬†

 

Weak things can become anything.

 

And they come from....

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A valley is powerful, it drains the mountain.
A better translation is ... returning, or holding, or carrying, or following, or allowing, or working with, or channelling.

A valley is formed over millions of years until it shaped by nature, shaped to perfection.
It carries the water, it carries the glaciers, and it is shaped as it carries.

As it yields so it is perfected, smoothed, so that it carries more.

As it yields it yields more.

It channels great forces skillful and carefully, using their power to create the channel.

And so it masters great power as if the great power was its, although the great power does not originate with the valley.

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On 23.8.2018 at 1:26 AM, dawei said:

Derek Lin 1994

40

The returning is the movement of the Tao
The weak is the utilization of the Tao
The myriad things of the world are born of being
Being is born of non-being

 

That's actually a remarkable statement. Not only is it seemingly at odds with the second thermodynamic law (according to which no energy, and therefore no matter, can ever be created or destroyed) - much like the Big Bang in most models, BTW -, it defines non-being NOT as 'nothing', but as a state of potentiality.

 

Compare this with ch. 21 (transl. by F. H. Baldour):

 

Tao, considered as an entity, is obscure and vague. 
Vague and obscure! 
Yet within it there is Form. 
Obscure and vague! 
Yet within it there is Substance. 
Vacuous and unfathomable! 
Yet within it there is Quintessential Energy‚ÄĒand this is supremely real.¬†

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Michael Sternbach said:

second thermodynamic law 

 

Does not take into account consciousness, and also seems to be standing on certain Constants that through measurement over time are not constant.
Therefore it is unsound.

Being is born of non-being simply means that when you move beyond the ordinary insane mental identity then you are in non-being (a different place), and that's where real life happens.
The limitation of floury words is obvious and a real teacher of meditation will transmit to you states of reality energetically.

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On 2/13/2019 at 11:09 AM, rideforever said:

A valley is powerful, it drains the mountain.
A better translation is ... returning, or holding, or carrying, or following, or allowing, or working with, or channelling.

A valley is formed over millions of years until it shaped by nature, shaped to perfection.
It carries the water, it carries the glaciers, and it is shaped as it carries.

As it yields so it is perfected, smoothed, so that it carries more.

As it yields it yields more.

It channels great forces skillful and carefully, using their power to create the channel.

And so it masters great power as if the great power was its, although the great power does not originate with the valley.

 

That's very cool and interesting.¬† I didn't understand chapter 40 this way¬†but can see it now.¬† ¬†It brings to mind a martial artist, accepting and channeling greater and greater forces.¬† It's also very cool and interesting that you assign agency to the valley.¬† I think most people would say the glacier cuts the valley, but you're saying the valley channels the glacier.¬† The valley¬†is lower, and the glacier has no real choice other than to flow there.¬† Awesome¬† ūüôā

 

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I'll try to articulate what Chapter 40 called up in my mind.  Reading it conjured up a very clear mental image.  I related it more to Laozi's "uncarved block" idea.

 

The Tao moves the other way

the Tao works through weakness

the things of this world come from something

something comes from nothing

‚ÄĒ-Lao Tzu‚Äôs Taoteching Translated by Red Pine

 

I felt/saw a big, formless blob when I read this.  The blob, with no structure or strength of its own, receives a transmission and suddenly has a form.  Then another form, and another.  The form constantly shifts taking on new appearances, new aspects, responding to the signals it receives.  Being perfect for the moment, every moment.

 

I have to dip into the Buddhist language a little bit to clarify...  The blob, because it knows it has no self-nature, can be anything.

 

Dipping into Christianity...  God the Mother, receiving the transmission of God the Father, becomes the world.

 

To me, it seems that Laozi is describing God the Mother.

 

"The Tao moves the other way"...  We start out strong and rigid with a clear idea of what we are and where we belong and what we're supposed to do...  And then those powerful, rigid, structural purposeful identities start to dissolve and we move backward,  becoming more like the baby, drinking from the Dao (mom's milk), dependent only on the Dao, and being shaped by the Dao.  I think we have to learn to be the baby before we can learn to be the mom.  

 

Christianity is my first language, Buddhism second language.  Still learning Daoism, and haven't studied Hinduism yet.

 

My question... Is there a native Daoist way to express the above?  Or does this mental construct fit at all in the Daoist framework?

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