Written more than two thousand years ago, the Tao Teh Ching — or "The Classic of the Way and Its Virtue" — has probably had a greater influence on Asian thought that any other single book. It is also one of the true classics of world literature. Traditionally attributed to the near-legendary Old Master, Lao Tzu, the Tao Teh Ching teaches that the qualities of the enlightened sage or ideal ruler are identical with those of the perfected individual. Lao Tzu's words are useful in developing a sense of balance and harmony in everyday life. To follow the Tao or Way of all things and realize their true nature is to embody humility, spontaneity, and generosity.I took various translations of this book to class when my Religions of the World class studied Taoism. There are only 81 "verses" or sayings, and number 11 is probably my favorite. I gave you Ursula K. Le Guin's version of verse 11 back in March. Here's the translation by John C. H. Wu, from this newest version.
Thirty spokes converge upon a single hub;So which of these two translations most appeals to you? I think I prefer Ursula K. Le Guin's version. As you can tell from the title of her version's post, I like the phrase "where the pot's not."
It is on the hole in the center that the use of the cart hinges.
We make a vessel from a lump of clay;
It is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful.
We make doors and windows for a room;
But it is these empty spaces that make the room livable.
Thus, while the tangible has advantages,
It is the intangible that makes it useful.
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