dawei

[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 45

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David Hinton 2002

45
Great perfection seems flawed, but its usefulness never falters.
Great fullness seems empty, but its usefulness never runs dry.
Great rectitude seems bent low,
great skill seems clumsy,
great eloquence seems quiet.
Bustling around may overcome cold, but tranquility overcomes heat.
Master lucid tranquility and you'll govern all beneath heaven.

 


Chad Hansen 2009

45

Great completion is like deficiency. 
Its use does not 'corrupt'. 
Great filling is like being poured. 
Its use does not exhaust. 
Great straightforwardness is like being bent. 
Great skill is like clumsiness. 
Great distinction-debating is like shouting. 
Exercise conquers a chill. 
Rest conquers a fever. 
'Clear' and 'quiet' are deemed as correct for the social world. 

 

 

Moss Roberts 2001

45

Great successes may seem flawed,
But their benefits injure no one.
Great abundance may seem spent,
But its supply is endless.
Great honesty may seem unfair,
Great eloquence like reticence,
Great artistry like clumsiness,
But they stand the trial of use.
Keen cold yields to excitation,
And heat of passions to repose:
On reflection and repose rely
To rightly rule the world below the sky.

 

 

Lok Sang Ho 2002

45

The greatest accomplishment appears incomplete,
Yet it can meet the needs of the most demanding occasions.79
The greatest fulfillment appears to be weak and restrained.
Yet its use is limitless.
What is most straight appears to be bent.
What is most dexterous appears to be clumsy.
The most skilled of debaters use words sparingly.
Motion overcomes cold.
Stillness overcomes hot.80
Clearing up the muddiness of the mind
By allowing it to settle down to its natural stillness,
Will restore all things to their proper places.

 


Gu Zhengku 1993

45
 
The complete perfection seems flawed,
But its use can never be exhausted;
The fullest seems empty,
But its use can never come to an end;
The straightest seems bent;
The most skillful seems clumsy;
The most eloquent seems tongue-tied.
Movement overcomes cold;
Quiet overcomes heat.
So inaction and quiet help one
Become a leader of the world.

 

 

Lin Yutang 1948

45
 
The highest perfection is like imperfection, 
   And its use is never impaired. 
The greatest abundance seems meager, 
   And its use will never fail. 
What s most straight appears devious, 
The greatest skill appears clumsiness; 
The greatest eloquence seems like stuttering. 
Movement overcomes cold, 
(But) keeping still overcomes heat. 
Who is calm and quiet becomes the guide for the universe.

 

 

Flowing Hands 1987

45 

Great accomplishments are easily done.
For the man of Dao leaves things to their natural way.
That’s why great fullness seems empty, but it can never be used up.
When the Dao is present in the heart, you will act naturally; your actions and speech, may
seem awkward and blunt to lesser men.
Your views of the world may seem stupid also.
Resting still, the body is left in peace;
great movement exhausts the body and fevers the mind.
Stillness and tranquillity give a clear vision to the nature of all things.

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Still looking for a general key (or set of keys) to open up those kind of paradoxes. I have the impression that there must be a general principle (or a few general principles) behind them all. I have read lots of explanations for individual paradoxes, but I can't seem to remember them later on because I can't fit them into some kind of general scheme. 

 

I know what most of you are thinking now: there is no general scheme, you have to go beyond logic, the paradoxes are all expressions of non-duality. Maybe that is so. But I am not prepared to give up my search for a general rational interpretation yet.

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45

Great accomplishment seems imperfect,
Yet it does not outlive its usefulness.
Great fullness seems empty,
Yet cannot be exhausted.
Great straightness seems twisted.
Great intelligence seems stupid.
Great eloquence seems awkward.
Movement overcomes cold.
Stillness overcomes heat.
Stillness and tranquility set things in 
order in the universe.

 

I don't see any paradoxes, it's just poetic writing.
But let's taking it back home, and see it in action.

 

Where can we find "Great accomplishments" that seem "imperfect" and that "does not outlive its usefulness", meaning it remains useful right till the end of its life.

Is it too boring to say that if you do Qigong in the park, others might see you and say well that's not very good.   But actually it is good because it preserves your life.
What is Great accomplishment ?   Is it something small and good but unnoticed by the carnal foaming-mouthed masses.
Great fullness .... when you are full of spirit do you need your bling ?   Thus others might say he is empty-of-bling.
Bling can be exhausted when the credit cards run dry, but your spirit is not of this world.

 

Although being monkeys we must also play and muck around, and not read this text as a reason to be boring and stagnant old wise farts.

 

 

 

 

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In one sense the writing is poetic, as RF points out, but poetry itself is often paradoxical because by design it is trying to point to something that cannot be adequately expressed. 

 

RF's reflections are poetic and paradoxical themselves, seeking examples of great accomplisment and fullness in his own experience. Whether we understand that or not seems vague and the real meaning elusive.

 

Great eloquence seems awkward.

 

Understanding this we seek refuge what is simple and natural intuitively realizing that from the point of view of the great scheme of things ideas of greatness and value breakdown. That which is considered great may not be so great; that which is common and simple may be of real value.

 

 

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On 8/30/2018 at 5:24 AM, wandelaar said:

Still looking for a general key (or set of keys) to open up those kind of paradoxes. I have the impression that there must be a general principle (or a few general principles) behind them all. I have read lots of explanations for individual paradoxes, but I can't seem to remember them later on because I can't fit them into some kind of general scheme. 

 

I know what most of you are thinking now: there is no general scheme, you have to go beyond logic, the paradoxes are all expressions of non-duality. Maybe that is so. But I am not prepared to give up my search for a general rational interpretation yet.

 

My general key is that it is not about dualistic opposites;  this is about a spectrum or continuum of the same thing.    The daoist farmer story as told by Alan Watts in The Watercourse Way:

 

Quote

There was a farmer whose horse ran away. That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck. He said, “May be.” The next day the horse returned, but brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbors came exclaiming at his good fortune. He said, “May be.” And then, the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg.

Again the neighbors came to offer their sympathy for the misfortune. He said, “May be.” The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of the broken leg the farmer’s son was rejected. When the neighbors came in to say how fortunately everything had turned out, he said, “May be.”

 

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On 8/30/2018 at 5:24 AM, wandelaar said:

Still looking for a general key (or set of keys) to open up those kind of paradoxes. I have the impression that there must be a general principle (or a few general principles) behind them all. I have read lots of explanations for individual paradoxes, but I can't seem to remember them later on because I can't fit them into some kind of general scheme. 

 

I know what most of you are thinking now: there is no general scheme, you have to go beyond logic, the paradoxes are all expressions of non-duality. Maybe that is so. But I am not prepared to give up my search for a general rational interpretation yet.

The general key is that they aren't paradoxes , they are ironic. A yang thing taken to its extreme can be seen-understood as yin ,, and vice versa. 

Several of these translators have skewed the ironies by trying to make them acceptable in a linear way rather than a reciprocal-cyclical one. 

For instance 

"Great rectitude seems bent low" 

The humble person bowing- is doing the respectable thing , not disgracing himself, by physically lowering .  Which the author sees as exhibiting virtue. 

The 'proud' person refusing to be respectful , is being obnoxious. Which the author deems of low virtue, (spiritually low). 

In the real world things may actually spin the other way but..In a preponderance of situations , it pays to show due respect , and backfires to be obnoxious, (so the 'natural' consequences of the behaviors condone or confirm  this humble show of respect, as being of greater virtue.) 

Edited by Stosh
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The "untrained eye" of a non-Daoist....

 

A non-Daoist approach creates a wonderful show. People in jobs can always look busy without achieving anything in their day.

 

A Daoist approach goes against the grain, thus looking foolish, but the net result exceeds belief.

 

Non-Daoist is short-lived. Daoist is eternal.

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