Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California
Chapter 10 Chapter 12 Index to All the Chapters Taoism Cloud Hands Blog
English Chinese Spanish
English and Chinese (Wade-Giles) Terms: The Value of Empty Space, Empty Cup, Spokes (fu), Axle, Wheel (ch'ê), Hub (ku), Clay (ch'ih), Mold or Shape (yen), Pots or Vessel (ch'i), Hollow, Door (hu), Window (yu), House or Room (shih), Benefit or Advantage (li), Space, Uncluttered, Open, Free, Empty or Vacant or Nothing (wu), Shared or United or Joined (kung), Usefulness or Purpose, Function (yung), Existence or Being or Something (yu), Non-Existence (wu yu), Thirty (san shih), Uses for the Non-Existent, 無用
Términos en Español: Valor de Espacio Vacío, Vacío Copa, Radios, Eje, Rueda, Cubo, Barro, Moldear, Forma, Olla, Tarro, Hueco, Puerta, Ventana, Casa, Habitación, Beneficio, Ventaja, Espacio, Despejado, Abierto, Libre, Vacante, Nada, Compartida, Reino, Unido, Utilidad, Finalidad, Función, Existencia, Ser, Inexistencia, Treinta, Usos de la Inexistente.
"The thirty spokes unite in the one nave; but it is on the empty space for
the axle, that the use of the wheel depends.
Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that their use depends.
The door and windows are cut out from the walls to form an apartment; but it is on the empty space within, that its use depends.
Therefore, what has a positive existence serves for profitable adaptation, and what has not that for actual usefulness."
- Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 11
"Thirty spokes unite in one nave and on that which is non-existent on the
hole in the nave depends the wheel's utility.
Clay is molded into a vessel and on that which is non-existent on its hollowness depends the vessel's utility.
By cutting out doors and windows we build a house and on that which is non-existent on the empty space within depends the house's utility.
Therefore, existence renders actual but non-existence renders useful."
- Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 11
"Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore benefit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there."
- Translated by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, 1989, Chapter 11
Cloud Hands Blog
"Thirty spokes surround one nave, the usefulness of the wheel is always in that empty innermost.
You fashion clay to make a bowl, the usefulness of the bowl is always in that empty innermost.
You cut out doors and windows to make a house, their usefulness to a house is always in their empty space.
Therefore profit comes from external form, but usefulness comes from the empty innermost."
- Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 11
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices By Mike Garofalo
"We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing
That the usefulness of the wheel depends.
We turn clay to make a vessel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing
That the usefulness of the vessel depends.
We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
And it is on these spaces where there is nothing
That the usefulness of the house depends.
Therefore just as we take advantage of what is,
We should recognize the usefulness of what is not."
- Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 11
- Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 11
san shih fu kung yi ku.
tang ch'i wu, yu ch'ê chih yung.
yen ch'ih yi wei ch'i.
tang ch'i wu yu ch'i chih yung.
tso hu yu yi wei shih.
tang ch'i wu, yu shih chih yung.
ku yu chih yi wei li.
wu chih yi wei yung.
- Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 11
Audio Version in Chinese of Chapter 11 of the Tao Te Ching
san shi fu gong yi gu. dang qi wu, you che zhi yong. shan zhi yi wei qi. dang qi wu you qi zhi yong. zao hu you yi wei shi. dang qi wu, you shi zhi yong. gu you zhi yi wei li. wu zhi yi wei yong. - Pinyin Romanization, Chapter 11, Daodejing
Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters and English (includes a word by word key) from YellowBridge
Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin Romanization, English and German by Dr. Hilmar Alquiros.
Laozi Daodejing: Chapters with Chinese characters, seal script, detailed word by word concordance, Pinyin, German, French and English.
Chinese and English Dictionary, MDGB
Chinese Character Dictionary
Dao De Jing Wade-Giles Concordance by Nina, Dao is Open
Dao De Jing English and Wade-Giles Concordance by Mike Garofalo
Tao Te Ching in Pinyin Romanization with Chinese characters, WuWei Foundation
Tao Te Ching in Pinyin Romanization
Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters and English
Tao Te Ching: English translation, Word by Word Chinese and English, and Commentary, Center Tao by Carl Abbott
Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, English, Word by word analysis, Zhongwen
Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition By Jonathan Star. Chinese characters, Wade-Giles Romanization, and a list of meanings for each character.
Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters: Big 5 Traditional and GB Simplified
Convert from Pinyin to Wade Giles to Yale Romanizations of Words and Terms: A Translation Tool from Qi Journal
Chinese Characters, Wade-Giles and Pinyin Romanizations, and 16 English Translations for Each Chapter of the Daodejing by Mike Garofalo.
Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin and Wade Giles Romanization spellings, English; a word for word translation of the Guodian Laozi Version.
Lao Zi's Dao De Jing: A Matrix Translation with Chinese Text by Bradford Hatcher.
"The thirty spokes of a carriage wheel uniting at the nave are made useful by the hole in the centre, where nothing exists.
Vessels of moulded earth are useful by reason of their hollowness.
Doors and windows are useful by being cut out.
A house is useful because of its emptiness.
Existence, therefore, is like unto gain, but Non-Existence to use."
- Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 11
spokes unite around the nave;
From their not-being (loss of their individuality)
Arises the utility of the wheel.
Mold clay into a vessel;
From its not-being (in the vessel's hollow)
Arises the utility of the vessel.
Cut out doors and windows in the house (-wall),
From their not-being (empty space) arises the utility of the house.
Therefore by the existence of things we profit.
And by the non-existence of things we are served."
- Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 11
"Thirty spokes are joined together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that allows the wheel to function.
We mold clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes the vessel useful.
We fashion wood for a house,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes it livable.
We work with the substantial,
but the emptiness is what we use."
- Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 11
"Though thirty spokes may be joined in one hub, the utility of the carriage lies in what is not there.
Though clay may be moulded into a vase, the utility of the vase lies in what is not there
Though doors and windows may be cut to make a house, the utility of the house lies in what is not there.
Therefore, taking advantage of what is, we recognize the utility of what is not."
- Translated by Jan J. L. Duyvendak, 1954, Chapter 11
"Thirty spokes meet in one hub, but the
need for the cart existed when as yet it was not.
Clay is fashioned into vessels, but the need for the vessel existed when as yet it was not.
Doors and windows are cut out to make a house, but the need for the house existed when as yet it was not.
Hence there is a profitableness in that which is and a need in that which is not."
- Translated by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, 1905, Chapter 11
Tao Te Ching Translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo
Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching Translated by John C. WuLao-Tzu and the Tao-Te-Ching Translated by Livia Kohn
Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way Translated by Moss Roberts
"Thirty spokes will converge
In the hub of a wheel;
But the use of the cart
Will depend on the part
Of the hub that is void.
With a wall all around
A clay bowl is molded;
But the use of the bowl
Will depend on the part
Of the bowl that is void.
Cut out windows and doors
In the house as you build;
But the use of the house
Will depend on the space
In the walls that is void.
So advantage is had
From whatever is there;
But usefulness rises
From whatever is not."
- Translated by Raymond Blackney, 1955, Chapter 11
upon a single hub;
It is on the hole in the center that the use of the cart hinges.
We make a bowl or cup 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;
It is the empty spaces that make the room livable.
Thus, take advantage of what is visible, by making use of what is not visible."
- Translated by J. L. Trottier, 1994, Chapter 11
Walking the Way: 81 Zen Encounters with the Tao Te Ching by Robert Meikyo Rosenbaum
The Tao of Zen by Ray Grigg
Tao Te Ching: Zen Teachings on the Taoist Classic by Takuan Soho
Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face: Scripture, Ritual, and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China by Christine Mollier
"Although the wheel has thirty spokes its utility lies
in the emptiness of the hub.
The jar is made by kneading clay, but its usefulness consists in its capacity.
A room is made by cutting out windows and doors through the walls, but the space the walls contain measures the room's value.
In the same way matter is necessary to form, but the value of reality lies in its immateriality.
Or thus: a material body is necessary to existence, but the value of a life is measured by its immaterial soul."
- Translated by Dwight Goddard and Henri Borel, 1919, Chapter 11
"Thirty spokes, uniting in a nave, were
employed in olden times before the invention of carriages.
Clay made into utensils was employed before the time of palaces
and dwellings when there were no sacrificial vases, goblets, or
A door and a window, hewn in a hill-side, did duty for a residence before the erection of houses. Wherefore, the possession of these things may be regarded as beneficial, while their former absence may be said to have been useful in that it led to the necessity of their being made."
- Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 11
Further Teachings of Lao-Tzu: Understanding the Mysteries (Wen Tzu) Translated by Thomas Cleary
The Lunar Tao: Meditations in Harmony with the Seasons By Deng Ming-DaoAwakening to the Tao By Lui I-Ming (1780) and translated by Thomas Cleary
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices By Mike Garofalo
Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings with Selections from Traditional Commentaries Translation and commentary by Brook ZiporynThe Inner Chapters of Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi) Translated by A. C. Graham
"Thirty spokes share one hub.
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the cart.
Knead clay in order to make a vessel.
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the vessel.
Cut out doors and windows in order to make a room.
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the room.
Thus what we gain is Something, yet it is by virtue of Nothing that this can be put to use."
- Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 11
are made one by holes in a hub,
By vacancies joining them for a wheel's use;
The use of clay in moulding pitchers
Comes from the hollow of its absence;
Doors, windows, in a house,
Are used for their emptiness:
Thus we are helped by what is not
To use what is."
- Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 11
"Thirty spokes unite in a nave, but the nothingness in the hub
Gives to the wheel its usefulness, for thereupon it goes round;
The potter kneads the clay as he works, with many a twist and rub,
But in the nothingness within, the vessel's use is found;
Doors and windows cut in the walls thereby a room will make,
But in its nothingness is found the room' s utility;
So the profit of existences is only for the sake
Of non-existences, where all the
use is found to be."
- Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 11
"A wheel is made of thirty perceptible spokes, but it turns due to the imperceptible central axis of the hub.
Vessels are made of perceptible clay, but it is their imperceptible hollow that is useful.
The imperceptible holes which make the doors and windows of a house, are its essentials.
It is the imperceptible that produces effects and results."
- Translated by Derek Bryce, 1999, Chapter 11
Language Versions of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing)
Tao Te Ching en Español
Lao Tsé Tao Te Ching Traducido al español por Anton Teplyy
Tao Te Ching Traducido por Stephen Mitchell, versión española
Tao Te Ching Traducido al español por el Padre Carmelo Elorduy
Tao Te Ching en Español
Lao Tzu-The Eternal Tao Te Ching Traducido al español por Yuanxiang Xu y Yongjian Yin
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices By Mike Garofalo Maduración Duraznos: Estudios y Prácticas Taoístas por Mike Garofalo
Tao Te Ching - Wikisource
Tao Te Ching Traducido al español por William Scott Wilson.
Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching Traducido al español por Javier Cruz
Tao te king Translated by John C. H. Wu, , versión española
Daodejing Español, Inglés, y Chino Versiones Lingüísticas de la Daodejing
"Treinta radios convergen en el centro de una rueda,
pero es su vacío
lo que hace útil al carro.
Se moldea la arcilla para hacer la vasija,
pero de su vacío
depende el uso de la vasija.
Se abren puertas y ventanas
en los muros de una casa,
y es el vacío
lo que permite habitarla.
En el Ser centramos nuestro interés,
pero del No-Ser depende la utilidad."
- Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 11
"Treinta radios se unen en el centro;
Gracias al agujero podemos usar la rueda.
El barro se modela en forma de vasija;
Gracias al hueco puede usarse la copa.
Se levantan muros en toda la tierra;
Gracias a la puertas se puede usar la casa.
Así pues, la riqueza proviene de lo que existe,
Pero lo valioso proviene de lo que no existe."
- Translated by Antonio Rivas Gonzálvez, 2004, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 11
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Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching
Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
Daodejing by Laozi: Chapters with Chinese characters, seal script, detailed word by word concordance, Pinyin (tone#), German, French and English. This is an outstanding resource for serious students of the Tao Te Ching.
Yellow Bridge Dao De Jing Comparison Table Provides side by side comparisons of translations of the Tao Te Ching by James Legge, D. T. Suzuki, and Dwight Goddard. Chinese characters for each paragraph in the Chapter are on the left; place your cursor over the Chinese characters to see the Hanyu Pinyin (1982) Romanization of the Chinese character and a list of meanings.
Center Tao. Includes a brief commentary on each Chapter. A keyword glossary for each chapter is provided.
Tao Te Ching Commentaries - Google Search
Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Hanyu Pinyin (1982) Romanization, English and German by Dr. Hilmar Alquiros.
Translators' Index, Tao Te Ching Translators Sorted Alphabetically by Translator, Links to Books and Online Versions
Taoism and the Tao Te Ching: Bibliography, Resources, Links
Spanish Language Translations of the Tao Te Ching, Daodejing en Español
Concordance to the Daodejing
Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Wade-Giles (1892) and Hanyu Pinyin (1982) Romanization spellings, English; a word for word translation of the Guodian Laozi Dao De Jing Version. From the Dao is Open website.
Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition By Jonathan Star. Translation, commentary and research tools. New York, Jeremy P. Tarcher, Penguin, 2001. Concordance, tables, appendices, 349 pages. A new rendition of the Tao Te Ching is provided, then a verbatim translation with extensive notes. Detailed tables for each verse provide line number, all the Chinese characters, Wade-Giles (1892) Romanization, and a list of meanings for each character. An excellent print reference tool!
Two Visions of the Way: A Study of the Wang Pi and the Ho-Shang Kung Commentaries on the Lao-Tzu. By Professor by Alan Kam-Leung Chan. SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture. State University of New York Press, 1991. Index, bibliography, glossary, notes, 314 pages. ISBN: 0791404560.
Chinese Reading of the Daodejing Wang Bi's Commentary on the Laozi with Critical Text and Translation. By Professor Rudolf G. Wagner. A SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture. English and Mandarin Chinese Edition. State University of New York Press; Bilingual edition (October 2003). 540 pages. ISBN: 978-0791451823. Wang Bi (Wang Pi, Fusi), 226-249 CE, Commentary on the Tao Te Ching.
Chapter 11 in the Rambling Taoist Commentaries by Trey Smith. The Rambling Taoists are Trey Smith and Scott Bradley.
The Philosophy of the Daodejing By Hans-Georg Moeller. Columbia University Press, 2006, 176 pages.
Valley Spirit, Gu Shen, Concept, Chapter 6
Tao Te Ching English Translations from Terebess Asia Online. Over 30 translations.
Lao-tzu's Taoteching Translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter). Includes many brief selected commentaries for each Chapter draw from commentaries in the past 2,000 years. Provides a verbatim translation and shows the text in Chinese characters. San Francisco, Mercury House, 1996, Second Edition, 184 pages. An invaluable resource for commentaries.
Reading Lao Tzu: A Companion to the Tao Te Ching with a New Translation By Ha Poong Kim. Xlibris, 2003, 198 pages.
Chapter 11, Line by Line Comparisons of 27 Translations of the Tao Te Ching Compiled by the St. Xenophon Wayist Seminary
Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation By Roger T. Ames and David T. Hall. Ballantine, 2003, 256 pages.
Thematic Index to the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching
Lao Tzu: Te-Tao Ching - A New Translation Based on the Recently Discovered Ma-wang-tui Texts (Classics of Ancient China) Translated with and introduction and detailed exposition and commentary by Professor Robert G. Henricks. New York, Ballantine Books, 1992. Includes Chinese characters for each chapter. Bibliography, detailed notes, 282 pages.
Lieh-Tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living. Translated by Eva Wong. Lieh-Tzu was writing around 450 BCE. Boston, Shambhala, 2001. Introduction, 246 pages.
Revealing the Tao Te Ching: In-depth Commentaries on an Ancient Classic. By Hu Huezhi. Edited by Jesse Lee Parker. Seven Star Communications, 2006. 240 pages.
Cloud Hands Blog Mike Garofalo writes about Taoism, Gardening, Taijiquan, Walking, Mysticism, Qigong, and the Eight Ways.
Tao Te Ching: A New Translation and Commentary. By Ellen Chen. Paragon House, 1998. Detailed glossary, index, bibliography, notes, 274 pages.
The Tao and Method: A Reasoned Approach to the Tao Te Ching. By Michael Lafargue. New York, SUNY Press, 1994. 640 pages. Detailed index, bibliography, notes, and tables. An essential research tool.
The Whole Heart of Tao: The Complete Teachings From the Oral Tradition of Lao Tzu. By John Bright-Fey. Crane Hill Publishers, 2006. 376 pages.
Chapter 11 of the Dao De Jing by Laozi
Comments, Related Thoughts, Reflections
"Experiencing the present purely is being
empty and hollow; you catch grace as a man fills his cup under a waterfall."
- Annie Dillard
Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching
This webpage was last modified or updated on May 25, 2014.
This webpage was first distributed online on February 7, 2011.
Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu, Zhuang Zhou, Master Chuang) 369—286 BCE
The Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) circa 500 BCE
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