That Which Reveals Virtue: Cautious, Grave, Reserved, Illusive,
Unpretentious, Simple, Humble, Still, Empty;
Qualities of Masters of the Dao: Subtle, Profound, Penetrating, Spiritual 顯德
"The skilful masters of the Dao in old times, with a subtle and exquisite
Comprehended its mysteries, and were deep also so as to elude men's knowledge.
As they were thus beyond men's knowledge, I will make an effort to describe of what sort they appeared to be.
Shrinking looked they like those who wade through a stream in winter;
Irresolute like those who are afraid of all around them;
Grave like a guest in awe of his host;
Evanescent like ice that is melting away;
Unpretentious like wood that has not been fashioned into anything;
Vacant like a valley, and dull like muddy water.
Who can make the muddy water clear?
Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear.
Who can secure the condition of rest? Let movement go on, and the condition of rest will gradually arise.
They who preserve this method of the Dao do not wish to be full of themselves.
It is through their not being full of themselves that they can afford to seem worn and not appear new and complete."
- Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 15
"Those of yore who have succeeded in becoming masters are subtle, spiritual,
profound, and penetrating.
On account of their profundity they cannot be understood.
Because they can not be understood, therefore I endeavor to make them intelligible.
How cautious they are!
Like men in winter crossing a river.
How reluctant! Like men fearing in the four quarters their neighbors.
How reserved! They behave like guests.
How elusive! They resemble ice when melting.
How simple! They resemble rough wood.
How empty! They resemble the valley.
How obscure! They resemble troubled waters.
Who by quieting can gradually render muddy waters clear?
Who by stirring can gradually quicken the still?
He who cherishes this Reason is not anxious to be filled.
Since he is not filled, therefore he may grow old;
Without renewal he is complete."
- Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 15
"The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious,
The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable.
Because it is unfathomable,
All we can do is describe their appearance.
Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream.
Alert, like men aware of danger.
Courteous, like visiting guests.
Yielding like ice about to melt.
Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood.
Hollow, like caves.
Opaque, like muddy pools.
Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?
Who can remain still until the moment of action?
Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment.
Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change."
- Translated by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, 1989, Chapter 15
"Long ago the
land was ruled with a wisdom
Too fine, too deep, to be fully understood
And, since it was beyond men's full understanding,
Only some of it has come down to us, as in these sayings:
'Alert as a winter-farer on an icy stream,'
'Wary as a man in ambush,'
'Considerate as a welcome guest,'
'Selfless as melting ice,'
'Green as an uncut tree,
'Open as a valley,'
And this one also, 'Roiled as a torrent,
Why roiled as a torrent?
Because when a man is in turmoil how shall he find peace
Save by staying patient till the stream clears?
How can a man's life keep its course
If he will not let it flow?
Those who flow as life flows know
They need no other force:
They feel no wear, they feel no tear,
They need no mending, no repair."
- Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 15
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
"In olden times the ones who were considered worthy to
be called masters were subtle, spiritual, profound, wise. Their thoughts could
not be easily understood.
Since they were hard to understand I will try to make them clear.
They were cautious like men wading a river in winter.
They were reluctant like men who feared their neighbors.
They were reserved like guests in the presence of their host.
They were elusive like ice at the point of melting.
They were like unseasoned wood.
They were like a valley between high mountains.
They were obscure like troubled waters.
They were cautious because they were conscious of the deeper meanings of life and its possibilities.
We can clarify troubled waters by slowly quieting them.
We can bring the unconscious to life by slowly moving them.
But he who has the secret of the Tao does not desire for more.
Being content, he is able to mature without desire to be newly fashioned."
- Translated by Dwight Goddard and Henri Borel, 1919, Chapter 15
"Of old, those who were leaders in good actions examined mysteries with
deep penetration; searching deeply, they did not understand; even
Masters did not understand; therefore their actions were void of
They were timid, as those who cross a torrent in winter; irresolute, as those who fear their neighbours; grave, as strangers before their host; they effaced themselves as ice that melts; they were rough as undressed wood, empty as a valley, confused as troubled water.
Who is able by quietness to make pure the troubled heart?
Who is able by repose to become conscious of Inner Life?
He who safely maintains his consciousness of Life will find it to be inexhaustible.
Therefore he will be able, though not faultless, to renew perfectness."
- Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 15
"Of old those that were the best officers of Court
Had inner natures subtle, abstruse, mysterious, penetrating,
Too deep to be understood.
And because such men could not be understood
I can but tell of them as they appeared to the world:
Circumspect they seemed, like one who in winter crosses a stream,
Watchful, as one who must meet danger on every side.
Ceremonious, as one who pays a visit;
Yet yielding, as ice when it begins to melt.
Blank, as a piece of uncarved wood;
Yet receptive as a hollow in the hills.
Murky, as a troubled stream —–
(Tranquil, as the vast reaches of the sea,
Drifting as the wind with no stop.)
Which of you an assume such murkiness,
To become in the end still and clear?
Which of you can make yourself insert,
To become in the end full of life and stir?
Those who possess this Tao do not try to fill themselves to the brim,
And because they do not try to fill themselves to the brim,
They are like a garment that endures all wear and need never be renewed."
- Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 15
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
The sage of old was profound and wise; like a man at a ford, he took great care, alert, perceptive and aware. Desiring nothing for himself, and having no desire for change for its own sake, his actions were difficult to understand. Being watchful, he had no fear of danger; being responsive, he had no need of fear. He was courteous like a visiting guest, and as yielding as the springtime ice. Having no desires, he was untouched by craving. Receptive and mysterious, his knowledge was unfathomable, causing others to think him hesitant. Pure in heart, like uncut jade, he cleared the muddy water by leaving it alone. By remaining calm and active, the need for renewing is reduced." - Translated by Stan Rosenthal, 1984, Chapter 15
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Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching
Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
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 romanization, and a list of meanings for each character. An excellent reference tool!
Yellow Bridge Dao De Jing Comparison Table, Chapter 15 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 Pinyin romanization of the Chinese character and a list of meanings.
The Complete Works of Lao Tzu: Tao Teh Ching & Hua Hu Ching Translation and elucidation by Hua Ching Ni.
Tao Te Ching Commentaries - Google Search
Translators' Index, Tao Te Ching Translators Sorted Alphabetically by Translator, Links to Books and Online Versions
Tao Te Ching: A Bibliography and Index of Translations on the Web
Chapter 15 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 15
Das Tao Te King von Lao Tse The largest collection of very nicely formatted complete versions of the Tao Te Ching. The collection includes 209 complete versions in 27 languages, plus 28 Chinese versions. There are 112 English language versions of the Tao Te Ching available at this website. A variety of search methods and comparision methods are provided, as well a a detailed index. Offline as of 5/11/2013.
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 15, 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.
Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching
Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Grove, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California
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