dawei

[DDJ Meaning] Chapter 76

Recommended Posts

David Hinton 2002

76
People are soft and weak in life,
hard and strong in death.
The ten thousand plants and trees are soft and frail in life,
withered and brittle in death.
Things hard and strong follow death's ways and things soft and weak follow life's:
so it is that strong armies never overcome and strong trees always suffer the axe.
Things great and strong dwell below.
Things soft and weak dwell above.

 


Dwight Goddard 1919

76
When a man is living he is tender and fragile. When he dies he is hard and stiff. It is the same with everything, the grass and trees, in life, are tender and delicate, but when they die they become rigid and dry.
Therefore those who are hard and stiff belong to death's domain, while the tender and weak belong to the realm of life.
Therefore soldiers are most invincible when they will not conquer. When a tree is grown to its greatest strength it is doomed. The strong and the great stay below; the tender and weak rise above.

 

 

Bradford Hatcher 2005

76

People, while they live, are adaptable & soft
When they are dead, are hard & stiff
The myriad beings, the plants and the trees,
while they live, are supple & delicate
When they are dead, are weathered & tough
And so the hard & inflexible are companions to death
The adaptable & soft are companions to life
This is why the unbending military will not,
in due course, be triumphant
The rigid tree is then struck down
The strong & great belong underneath
The adaptable & soft belong above

 

 

Wing-Tsit Chan 1963

76 

When man is born, he is tender and weak. At death he is stiff and hard. 
All things, the grass as well as the trees, are tender and supple while alive. When dead, they are withered and dried. 
Therefore the stiff and the hard are companions of death. The tender and the weak are companions of life. 
Therefore, if the army is strong, it will not win. If a tree is stiff, it will break. 
The strong and the great are inferior, while the tender and the weak are superior. 

 

 

Gu Zhengku 1993

76

While alive, a man's body is supple;
When dead, it becomes hard.
While alive, grass and trees are supple;
When dead, they become dry and stiff.
Thus the hard and strong is of the dying sort;
The supple and weak is of the living sort.
That is why the army, having grown strong, will be wiped out,
And the tree, when grown up, will be cut down.
Thus the strong and big is inferior
To the weak and supple.

 


Ch'u Ta-Kao 1904

76

Man when living is soft and tender; when dead he is hard and tough. All animals and plants when living are tender and fragile; when dead they become withered and dry. Therefore it is said: the hard and the tough are parts of death, the soft and the tender are parts of life. This is the reason why soldiers when they are too tough cannot carry the day; the tree when it is too tough will break. The Position of the strong and great is low, and the position of the weak and tender is high.

 


Flowing Hands 1987

76

A man is born to this Earth gentle and weak.
At his death, he becomes hard and rigid.
Young green plants are tender and supple.
At their death, they are brittle and dry.
Therefore the rigid and unbending are the followers of death.
The gentle and flexible are the followers of life.
So when engaged in war, an army without flexibility will never win.
The soft and yielding can overcome the hard and strong. 
 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to see activity on this thread again. 

 

This is a good set of interpreters.

 

David Hinton is most poetic and evokes a reflective and meditative response. I keep Hinton's anthology of Chinese poetry close at hand and find myself referring to it more often than I imagined when I bought it. There seems to be a gap between what we can know and what we can say ... not unlike what is pointed out in chapter one ... that can only be filled by the poetic. 

 

Flowing Hands often captures the best meaning overall. But all those in between seem to excel in the expression of different lines.

 

Overall, this chapter has a lot to do with the cycle of life. As much as we may want to remain supple and yielding in an attempt to extend life, it is not possible in the physical sense. Perhaps there is something to be gained by suppleness and yielding of mind.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gia Fu Feng

 

76
A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.


Therefore the stiff and unbending is 
the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.


Thus an army without flexibility never 
wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.


The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plats are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.

 

This translation is from Wudang School It deals with the gate of life and death, turning around to go through the gate of life and how to apply martial skill is evident.

 

Soft and supple is important because there is great strength in softness using the word weakness is misleading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.

 

Unless you wish  a suicidal exit from life, you will concern yourself only with which attitude to take that expresses Tao in Life, or how to live well.  In life it is Yin-Yang, therefore you should attempt to have good TaiChi, rather than only softness.


Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.

 

Often old people are very soft and spongy, but a young baby is full of elastic springyness.   

Which is more yin and which more yang ?
WuXing states birth is Wood (Full Yang).


Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.

 

A tree that is overbending also is easily broken, and many armies like the Roman were stiff and successful.

TaiChi means the completion of the Bagua which is what you should master.
Becoming bendingness is not a correct idea.

But Laozi is probably trying to over-emphasise how he sees the world and its deficiencies, therefore he overemphasises yin, but as he personally walked out of the world he may not be a good guide for those that wish to stay in it.


The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.

 

Everyone falls, so don't get ahead of yourself.

But in this world TaiChi is the best as it follows Tao's natural expression in this world.

 

If we wish to be spiritual and return to the Source, then we must reverse the flow of identity back to the Source.   

The practice of doing so involves discipline and surrender so TaiChi is once again recreated in your practice.
The Male/Female polarity are permanent at all levels of existence.

There is only the following of it, or the ignorance of it.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s all about going with the flow.

 

Let go, go with the flow or try to fight it and suffer.

 

This also reminds me of how to deal with an attack. You don’t fight it or build wall, you let go and let it flow through.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, rideforever said:

A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.

 

Unless you wish  a suicidal exit from life, you will concern yourself only with which attitude to take that expresses Tao in Life, or how to live well.  In life it is Yin-Yang, therefore you should attempt to have good TaiChi, rather than only softness.


Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.

 

Often old people are very soft and spongy, but a young baby is full of elastic springyness.   

Which is more yin and which more yang ?
WuXing states birth is Wood (Full Yang).


Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.

 

A tree that is overbending also is easily broken, and many armies like the Roman were stiff and successful.

TaiChi means the completion of the Bagua which is what you should master.
Becoming bendingness is not a correct idea.

But Laozi is probably trying to over-emphasise how he sees the world and its deficiencies, therefore he overemphasises yin, but as he personally walked out of the world he may not be a good guide for those that wish to stay in it.


The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.

 

Everyone falls, so don't get ahead of yourself.

But in this world TaiChi is the best as it follows Tao's natural expression in this world.

 

If we wish to be spiritual and return to the Source, then we must reverse the flow of identity back to the Source.   

The practice of doing so involves discipline and surrender so TaiChi is once again recreated in your practice.
The Male/Female polarity are permanent at all levels of existence.

There is only the following of it, or the ignorance of it.

 

 

This verse is about making yourself soft; that's not slow or dumb. It's about sticking to a principle of no principle; therefore one can overcome the challenges that life throws at you. It is as simple as that.

Edited by flowing hands
typo
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, flowing hands said:

This verse is about making yourself soft; that's not slow or dumb. It's about sticking to a principle of no principle; therefore one can overcome the challenges that life throws at you. It is as simple as that.

 

I gave examples where this does not work in real life.

Why is the principle of being soft not true,  because reality is both soft and hard, and if you live well you incorporate both and complete internal external yin and yang, hence TaiChi.
Anything else is distortion.

If you wish no principle you simply stop reading any spiritual books and rejoin the crowd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Jonesboy said:

This also reminds me of how to deal with an attack. You don’t fight it or build wall, you let go and let it flow through.

 

It depends on the nature of the attack.

If the attack is weak you can push straight through and defeat, if it is hard then you allow it to fall in the void.
This is TaiChi, and this refers to life in the world.

 

Being soft makes more sense when you are in a state of surrender to the Source which might be what the author is actually alluding to.   Or if you are a renunciate and walking out of the city gates.   But in manifest worldly life, TaiChi is the correct principle, hence it is taught in Taijiquan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, rideforever said:

 

It depends on the nature of the attack.

If the attack is weak you can push straight through and defeat, if it is hard then you allow it to fall in the void.
This is TaiChi, and this refers to life in the world.

 

Being soft makes more sense when you are in a state of surrender to the Source which might be what the author is actually alluding to.   Or if you are a renunciate and walking out of the city gates.   But in manifest worldly life, TaiChi is the correct principle, hence it is taught in Taijiquan.

 

One  doesn’t deal with negative energy by attacking, grasping or pushing through.

 

It is always about letting go. Chapter 68 describes it well.

 

Gu Zhengku 1993
68

He who is good at being a commander
Does not display his bravery;
He who is good at fighting
Does not burst into anger;
He who is good at defeating his enemy
Does not brace himself to engage in a tough battle;
He who is good at employing men
Humbles himself before them;
This is called the virtue of non-contention;
This is called making use of others' strength;
This is called conformability to the Tao of heaven.

Edited by Jonesboy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, rideforever said:

 

I gave examples where this does not work in real life.

Why is the principle of being soft not true,  because reality is both soft and hard, and if you live well you incorporate both and complete internal external yin and yang, hence TaiChi.
Anything else is distortion.

If you wish no principle you simply stop reading any spiritual books and rejoin the crowd.

The principle of no principle does not rely on describing things as'male' or 'female' or of Tai Ji, it simply uses collective wisdom that teaches us that a soft principle brings about a better conclusion. Our spiritual book the DDJ is about that; of letting go of rigid ideas. Remember it is a great book, but it is about how one can perceive the world and oneself to the benefit of all. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, flowing hands said:

The principle of no principle does not rely on describing things as'male' or 'female' or of Tai Ji, it simply uses collective wisdom that teaches us that a soft principle brings about a better conclusion. Our spiritual book the DDJ is about that; of letting go of rigid ideas. Remember it is a great book, but it is about how one can perceive the world and oneself to the benefit of all. 

 

So it is about preceiving and not being?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Jonesboy said:

One  doesn’t deal with negative energy by attacking, grasping or pushing through.

 

You have changed the question.  Originally you asked how you deal with an attack, now you talk about how to deal with negative energy, that's different.

If someone tries to hurt you or your loved ones, will you do nothing, will you be a coward ?

 

It is very easy for Westerners to conveniently forget they are guarded by nuclear weapons, then they can dream all they want.  This kind of perception is simply delusion caused by having it too easy and not seeing how things work, and having other people always look after you.

 

 

Edited by rideforever

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, flowing hands said:

How you perceive the world is how you will act!

 

Perceiving is local mind which is much different than being the stream of the universe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Jonesboy said:

 

Perceiving is local mind which is much different than being the stream of the universe.

If you act like the stream of the universe and perceives its properties then you will have achieved this!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, rideforever said:

 

You have changed the question.  Originally you asked how you deal with an attack, now you talk about how to deal with negative energy, that's different.

 

It is very easy for Westerners to conveniently forget they are guarded by nuclear weapons.

 

This is a DDJ discussion which is about spiritual stuff to me, being, not nuclear weapons.

 

Also, interesting that you’re Tai Chi is about war and nukes and not the conflicts within.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, flowing hands said:

If you act like the stream of the universe and perceives its properties then you will have achieved this!

 

You don’t act like.

 

You are.

 

A huge difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jonesboy said:

 

You don’t act like.

 

You are.

 

A huge difference.

I think you are being provocative for the sake of it and I'm not wasting my time on you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, flowing hands said:

I think you are being provocative for the sake of it and I'm not wasting my time on you.

 

I’m truly not trying to be provocative. I am just pointing out there is a difference between thinking and being.

 

To me the DDJ is a road map to being not a guide on social behavior and norms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Jonesboy said:

 

I’m truly not trying to be provocative. I am just pointing out there is a difference between thinking and being.

 

To me the DDJ is a road map to being not a guide on social behavior and norms.

 

at some level, it may be a difference without a distinction... we are  thinking beings... but I understand your point is more about flowing with it (being one with it) and SFH is saying you act like it (is being one with it).    Glad to see the discussion. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, dawei said:

 

at some level, it may be a difference without a distinction... we are  thinking beings... but I understand your point is more about flowing with it (being one with it) and SFH is saying you act like it (is being one with it).    Glad to see the discussion. 

 

That would lead to a fun discussion on clarity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites