Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California
Chapter 14 Chapter 16 Index to All the Chapters Taoism Cloud Hands Blog
English Chinese Spanish
English and Chinese (Wade-Giles) Terms: Good or Skilled or Best or Adept (shan), That Which Reveals Virtue: Cautious, Grave, Reserved, Illusive, Essential or Spiritual or of Subtle (miao), Unpretentious, Still or Content (an), Watchful or Alert (yu), Simple, Finished or Accomplished (ch'êng), Valley or Gorge (ku), Humble, Still, Empty, Wading or Fording (shê), Cautious or Careful (yü). Embrace or Hold (pao), Appearance or Demeanor (jung), Masters or Rulers or Military (shih); Qualities of Masters of the Dao: Subtle, Profound, Penetrating, Understand or Comprehend or Know (shih), Solid or Genuine (tun), Sages, Mysterious or Subtle or Keen (wei), Dark or Deep or Profound (hsüan), Murky Water (cho), Reserved or Grave (yen), Less is Better, Yield or Pliant (huan), Comprehensive or Penetrating or Visionary (t'ung), Guest, Don't Stir Up Trouble, Guest or Visitor (jung), Renewal, Longevity or Enduring (chiu), Fullness or Excess (ying), Watchful, Force or Effort (ch'iang), Spontaneity, Oh or ! (hsi), Acceptance, Wood or Uncut (p'u), Tao or Dao, Fear or Danger (wei), Ice (ping), Thaw or Melt (shih), Spiritual, Winter (tung), Obscure or Opaque (hun), River or Stream (ch'uan), Open or Empty or Broad (k'uang), Movement or Activity (tung), Four Sides (ssu lin), Grow Old or Wear Out (pi), Still or Tranquil (ching), Purify or Clearing (ch'ing), Alive or Living (shêng), Ancient or Old or Antiquity (ku), Renewed or Restored (hsin), 顯德
Términos en Español: Bueno, Especializada, Mejor, Cauteloso, Tumba, Reservado, Ilusorio, Esencial, Espiritual, Sutil, Sin Petensiones, Contenido, Vigilante, Alerta, Acabados, Cumplida, Valle, Vacío, Vadear, Abrazo, Retención, Apariencia, Comportamiento, Maestro, Sabio, Principados, Militar, Cualidades de Maestros de la Dao: Profundos, Penetrantes, Entender, Comprender, Saber, Sólidos, Genuinos, Misterioso, Oscuro, Agua, Reservados, Cuanto Menos, Mejor, Rendimiento, Integral, Penetrante, Visitante, No Crear Problemas, Invitado, Renovación, Longevidad, Duradera, Plenitud, Franquicia , Fuerza, Esfuerzo, Espontaneidad, Aceptación, Madera, Sin Cortes, Miedo, Peligro, Hielo, Deshielo, Fusión, Espiritual, Invierno, Opaco, Río, Arroyo, Abierto, Movimiento, Actividad, Cuatro Caras, Envejece, Tranquilo, Purificar, Borrado, Antigua, Vieja, Antigüedad, Actualizado, Restauradas.
"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
"Once upon a time
people who knew the Way
were subtle, spiritual, mysterious, penetrating,
Since they're inexplicable
I can only say what they seemed like:
Cautious, oh yes, as if wading through a winter river.
Alert, as if afraid of the neighbors.
Polite and quiet, like houseguests.
Elusive, like melting ice.
Blank, like uncut wood.
Empty, like valleys.
Mysterious, oh yes, they were like troubled water.
Who can by stillness, little by little
make what is troubled grow clear?
Who can by movement, little by little
make what is still grow quick?
To follow the Way
is not to need fulfillment.
Unfulfilled, one may live on
needing no renewal."
- Translated by Ursula K. le Guin, 1998, 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
"Those good at practicing Dao in antiquity
were subtle and wonderful, mysterious and penetrating.
They are too deep for us to know.
And precisely because they cannot be known,
so I am forced to figure them out.
as if crossing a river in winter!
as if afraid of the surrounding neighbors!
they were like guests!
they were like ice about to melt!
they were like a piece of natural wood!
they were like valleys!
they were like turbid water!
When left still, the turbid
slowly turns clear.
When roused, the quiet
gently comes to life
To keep this Dao
is not to desire to be filled.
And precisely because they do not desire to be filled,
they can, therefore, remain hidden
and stay unfinished."
- Translated by Joseph Hsu, 2008, Chapter 15
"The ancient masters and rulers,
So subtle and mysterious,
profound and penetrating,
Too deep to directly comprehend -
May be known by their appearance,
Cautious - As if crossing a frozen stream.
Watchful - As if fearing danger all around.
Courteous - As if a visiting guest.
Yielding - As if ice about to melt.
Genuine - As if a piece of uncarved wood.
Receptive - As if an open valley.
Opaque - As if in muddy waters.
Waiting quietly while the mud settles,
Remaining still until the moment for action,
They, who embrace this Tao,
Obtaining just that which is sufficient,
AlI needs are satisfied.
Thus they long endure."
- Translated by Alan B. Taplow, 1982, Chapter 15
Created by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California, © 2015 CCA 4.0
"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
Cloud Hands Blog
of old who knew the way
To origin and source within
Have seen the place where wholeness
And infinity begin
as one on a frozen stream
Or one who watches for the foe
Deferential as a guest
And generous as melting snow
as an uncarved block of wood
Expansive as a vale
Transparent just like water
Whose clarity will never fail
you keep yourself so still
That muddy water clears?
And wait until right action
- Translated by Jim Clatfelder, 2000, Chapter 15
"The ancient master workers of the Way
Had vision to perceive the subtlest force.
Too deep they were to recognize,
And since they can’t be recognized,
One can but strain to picture them:
Wary, as if wading a winter river;
Watchful, as if threatened from all sides;
Stately and restrained, like a guest;
Smooth and even, like melting ice;
Impassive, even as the spacious sea;
Unfettered, like a restless windstorm;
Rough and solid, like an unwrought bole;
Compact and dense, like something unrefined;
Wide and open-stretching, like a vale.
If sullied they kept calm and stayed pure;
If secure they moves with care and stayed alive. But who can do so now?
Those who embrace the Way do not grow too great;
And thus survive and overcome defeat."
- Translated by Moss Roberts, 2001, Chapter 15
"Long ago there were Ancient Ones
who were masters at practicing the Tao,
and who understood its subtle mysteries.
They were so profound we cannot really know them.
Since we cannot know them,
we can only describe them by their actions.
Prepared! like someone about to ford a river in winter.
Diplomatic! like someone respectful of their neighbors.
Courteous! like one who is a guest.
Expansive! like ice melting.
Natural! like uncarved wood.
Receptive! like a valley.
Blending! like swirling water.
What is muddy, when left still, will gradually become clear.
What is at rest, when moved, will gradually come to life.
Those who keep this Tao have no need for fulfillment.
Since they have no need for fulfillment,
they can remain unknown, and so be pure and complete."
- Translated by Amy and Rodric Sorrell, 2003, Chapter 15
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices By Mike Garofalo
"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
古之善為士者, 微妙玄通, 深不可識.
- Chinese Characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 15
"Oh" or noting or regarding or ! (hsi, 兮), they were (ch'i, 其) or to be, like or resemble or as (jo, 若) = 兮其若
ku chih shan wei shih chê, wei miao hsüan t'ung, shên pu
fu wei pu k'o shih.
ku ch'iang wei chih jung.
yü yen jo tung shê ch'uan.
yu hsi jo wei ssu lin.
yen hsi ch'i jo jung.
huan hsi jo ping chih chiang shih.
tun hsi ch'i jo p'u.
k'uang hsi ch'i jo ku.
hun hsi ch'i jo cho.
shu nêng cho yi ching chih hsü ch'ing.
shu nêng an yi chiu tung chih hsü shêng.
pao tz'u tao chê pu yü ying.
fu wei pu ying.
ku nêng pi pu hsin ch'êng.
- Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 15
Audio Version in Chinese of Chapter 15 of the Tao Te Ching
gu zhi shan wei shi zhe, wei miao xuan tong, shen bu ke shi. fu wei bu ke shi. gu qiang wei zhi rong. yu xi ruo dong she chuan. you xi ruo wei si lin. yan xi qi ruo rong. huan xi ruo bing zhi jiang shi. dun xi qi ruo pu. kuang xi qi ruo gu. hun xi qi ruo zhuo. shu neng zhuo yi jing zhi xu qing. shu neng an yi jiu dong zhi xu sheng. bao ci dao zhe bu yu ying. fu wei bu ying. gu neng bi er xin cheng. - Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 15
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 (tone#), 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 Chinese characters, Wade-Giles Romanization, and a list of meanings for each character by Jonathan Star
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 Dao De Jing Version.
Lao Zi's Dao De Jing: A Matrix Translation with Chinese Text by Bradford Hatcher.
"The Tao of those eminent for wisdom in
the olden times was subtle, mysterious, recondite, and
Its depths were unrecognizable by others.
The non-adepts, being unable to learn it, strove by main force, therefore, to act it out in practice.
They endured the hardships of their search as those who ford streams in the winter.
Cautious were they, as those who dread the ridicule of their neighbors.
Reverent were they, as those who entertain a visitor.
Expansive were they, as ice on the point of melting.
Simple and unpolished were they, as unhewn wood.
Vacant were they, as a ravine.
Undiscerning were they, as turbid water.
Who is able to make turbid water grow gradually clear by reducing it to quiescence?
Who is able to impart unending life to that which is at rest by setting it in perpetual motion?
Those who preserve this Tao desire no fullness; wherefore, having no fullness,
they are able to guard it in their hearts for ever and it never requires to be renewed."
- Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, 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
"In ancient times
the people knew the Great Integrity
with subtlety and profundity.
Because they are so unfathomable to us,
we can describe the ancients
only with great efforts.
They were —
cautious as those crossing an icy stream,
wary as those surrounded by dangers,
dignified as guests,
yielding as melting ice,
innocent as virgin wood,
open and broad as valleys,
merging freely as muddy water.
But today who can remain patient
while the mud so gradually clears?
Who can remain still
while the moment for action
so slowly emerges?
We observers of the Great Integrity,
who in our times,
like those ancients,
when never seeking fulfillment
are never unfulfilled."
- Translated by Ralph Alan Dale, 2006, Chapter 15
"The Sages of old were profound
and knew the ways of subtlety and discernment.
Their wisdom is beyond our comprehension.
Because their knowledge was so far superior
I can only give a poor description.
They were careful
as someone crossing a frozen stream in winter.
Alert as if surrounded on all sides by the enemy.
Courteous as a guest.
Fluid as melting ice.
Whole as an uncarved block of wood.
Receptive as a valley.
Turbid as muddied water.
Who can be still
until their mud settles
and the water is cleared by itself?
Can you remain tranquil until right action occurs by itself?
The Master doesn't seek fulfillment.
For only those who are not full are able to be used
which brings the feeling of completeness."
- Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 15
Created by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California, © 2015 CCA 4.0
"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
"In ancient times the skillful masters of Tao
were obscurely intelligent of subtle mysteries.
Deep, they were beyond possibility of being known.
Just because they cannot be known
I make an effort to describe them:
Shrinking, they were streams in winter:
Hesitating, they were as if fearing their neighbors:
Grave, they were as guests:
Evanescent, they were like ice going to melt:
Simple, they were like unwrought wood:
Capacious, they were like a valley:
Confused, they were like muddy water.
Who can as muddy, attain to the gradual clarifying proper to stillness?
Who can as at rest, attain to the gradual production proper to motion?
Those who preserve this Tao do not wish to be full.
Just because they are not full, therefore they can be worn out
and not new and complete."
- Translated by P. J. Maclagan, 1899, Chapter 15
"Profound indeed were the most excellent
among the ancients, penetrating, fathomless;
inasmuch as they were fathomless it becomes necessary to employ far fetched symbols when speaking of them.
Irresolute? as if fording a stream in winter.
Timid? as though fearful of their neighbours.
Grave? as if they were guests.
Elusive? like ice about to melt.
Simple? like raw material.
Expansive? like the space between hills.
Turbid? like muddy water.
Who can still the turbid and make it gradually clear;
or quiet the active so that by degrees it shall become productive?
Only he who keeps this Tao, without desiring fullness.
If one is not full it is possible to be antiquated and not newly fashioned."
- Translated by C. Supurgeon Medhurst, 1905, 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
"The ancient followers of Tao were shrewd and
Their knowledge was arcane, beyond comprehension.
There are no words to describe them well.
Cautious, as if fording a frozen river.
Watchful, as if dreading foes on all sides.
Courteous, as a guest.
Yielding, like ice on the thaw.
Simple, like uncut wood.
Wide open, like a valley.
Obscure, like muddy water.
Who can keep murky water still and cause it to clear?
Who can make what's inert active and bring it to life?
Those who embrace the Tao do not wish to become full.
Thus they can wear out without needing to be renewed."
- Translated by Agnieszka Solska, 2008, Chapter 15
"The adepts of past ages were subtle and keen to apprehend this Mystery,
and their profundity was obscurity unto men. Since then they were not
known, let me declare their nature.
all seeming, they were fearful as men that cross a torrent in winter
flood; they were hesitating like a man in apprehension of them that are
about him; they were full of awe like a guest in a great house; they were
ready to disappear like ice in thaw; they were unassuming like unworked
wood; they were empty as a valley; and dull as the waters of a marsh.
can clear muddy water? Stillness will accomplish this. Who can
obtain rest? Let motion continue equably, and it will itself be peace.
adepts of the Tao, conserving its way, seek not to be actively self-
conscious. By their emptiness of Self they have no need to show
their youth and perfection; to appear old and imperfect is their
- Translated by Aleister Crowley, 1918, Chapter 15
"The ancient scholar knew how to be perfect:
keep himself subtle, wonderful, profound and flexible.
He kept his mind so deep that it could not be fathomed!
Because it could not be fathomed, it could only be described superficially:
Hesitatingly, like one who is crossing a stream in winter;
Timidly, like one who is new to his surrounding neighbors;
Reservedly, like a new guest;
Yieldingly, like ice which is melting;
Honest, like Pure Matter;
Obscure, like muddy water;
and Capacious, like a deep valley.
Who can calmly make the muddy (chaotic) clear (orderly)?
Who can calmly change the static (matter) into dynamic (force)?
To return to Dao is to let the capacity of mind not be over-filled.
Only the mind which is not over-filled can renew the old and perfect the new."
- Translated by Tang Zi-Chang, 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
"In olden times those skilful in the Way had wonderful subtlety and mysterious penetration, so profound that it is impossible to understand them. Since, indeed, it is impossible to understand them, one can only try to the best of one's ability to describe their appearance.
How hesitant, like one who wades a stream in winter!
How circumspect, like one who fears his neighbours on all sides!
How reserved, like one who is a guest!
How fluid, like ice about to melt!
How solid, like uncarved wood!
How wide, like a valley!
How turbid, like muddy water!
What may allay the muddiness? Through stillness it will gradually become clear.
What may make repose lasting? Through movement it will gradually ensue.
Those who observed this Way did not desire to be full. Indeed, because they were not full, they could wear out without renewal." - Translated by Jan J. L. Duyvendak, 1954, Chapter 15
"Die vor alters tüchtig waren als Meister, waren im Verborgenen eins mit den unsichtbaren Kräften Tief waren sie, so daß man sie nicht kennen kann. Weil man sie nicht kennen kann, darum kann man nur mit Mühe ihr Äußeres beschreiben. Zögernd, wie wer im Winter einen Fluß durchschreitet, vorsichtig, wie wer von allen Seiten Nachbarn fürchtet, zurückhaltend wie Gäste, vergehend wie Eis, das am Schmelzen ist, einfach, wie unbearbeiteter Stoff, weit waren sie, wie das Tal, undurchsichtig waren sie, wie das Trübe. Wer kann das Trübe durch Stille allmählich klären? Wer kann wie sie die Ruhe durch Dauer allmählich erzeugen? Wer diesen Sinn bewahrt, begehrt nicht Fülle. Denn nur weil er keine Fülle hat, darum kann er gering sein, das Neue meiden und die Vollendung erreichen."
"The ancient masters of Tao:
So wise, so subtle and profound.
So deep in their understanding,
that they themselves were misunderstood;
Tentative, like crossing a stream in winter;
Hesitant like one aware of danger;
Courteous, like a visiting guest;
Subtle, like the melting of ice;
Simple, like the uncarved block;
Vacant, like a valley;
Obscure, like muddy water.
Who can be muddled and settling slowly become clear?
Who can remain still and stirring slowly come to life?
Move too hastily and it becomes cloudy again.
One who holds fast to the way
does not wish to be full.
Because one is never full
they are worn,
and yet can be newly made."
- Translated by Kari Hohne, 2009, Chapter 15
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
"The skillful masters of the olden time,
With penetration subtle and profound,
Pursued the mysteries of the abyss
To depths which modern knowledge cannot sound;
And as their labors were beyond our ken
I will try to picture something of these men.
Cautious they were, like one who comes to ford a wintry stream,
Irresolute, like one who enters some strange neighborhood,
Reserved, as one, a guest of some quite unknown host, would seem,
Changing, like the melting ice before a summer s flood,
Simple and unpretending as unseasoned blocks of wood,
Vacant, like a valley, and like turbid water dim.
But who can make the turbid water clear?
Leave it to rest, the mud will disappear;
But Who can make the turbid water rest?
Leave it to move, and rest will soon be here.
They who preserve the method of the Tao
Wish not to fill themselves with their own self,
And, empty of themselves, when growing old,
Are never laid, old-fashioned, on
- Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 15
"The Ancient Masters understood Mystery.
The depths of their wisdom was unfathomable,
so all we have are descriptions of
how they looked...
Careful, as if crossing a frozen river.
Alert, as if aware of danger.
Respectful, like a guest.
Yielding, like melting ice.
Simple, like uncarved wood.
Empty, like a valley.
Trying to understand
is like straining to see through muddy water.
Be still, and allow the mud to settle.
Remain still, until it is time to act.
Those who follow Tao don't seek to arrive anywhere,
so their journey is never over."
- Translated by Timothy Freke, 1999, Chapter 15
"The ancient wise men were skilful in their mysterious acquaintance with profundities. They were fathomless in their depths; so profound, that I cannot bring them forth to my mind. They were cautious, like one who crosses a swollen river. They were reserved, like one who doubts his fellows. They were watchful, like one who travels abroad. They were retiring, like snow beneath the sun. They were simple, like newly felled timber. They were lowly, like the valley. They were obscure, like muddy water. May not a man take muddy water and make it clear by keeping still? May not a man take a dead thing and make it alive by continuous motion? Those who follow this Tao have no need of replenishing, and being devoid of all properties, they grow old without need of being filled." - Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 15
Created by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California, © 2015 CCA 4.0
Tao Te Ching: An Illustrated Journey Translated by Stephen Mitchell
Tao Te Ching Translated by David Hinton
The Book of Tao: Tao Te Ching - The Tao and Its Characteristics Translated by James Legge
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices
Taoism: Growth of a Religion By Isabelle Robinet
Zhuangzi (Chuang Tsu), Daoist Scripture: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations, Notes
Zhuangzi: Basic Writings Translated by Burton Watson
Zhuangzi Speaks: The Music of Nature An illustrated comic by Chih-chung Ts'ai
Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons
"In primitive times, intelligent men had an intuitively penetrating grasp of reality which could not be stated in words. Since their instinctive beliefs have not been recorded for us, we can only infer them from old sayings which have come down to us. Regarding caution when crossing a stream in winter: the more nervous you are, the more likely you are to slip and fall. Regarding suspicion of enemies; the more you fear others, the more the will be afraid of you. Regarding courtesy as a guest: the longer you stay, the more you become indebted to your host. Regarding melting ice: the more you do to prevent it from melting, the quicker it melts. Regarding making furniture: the more you carve the wood, the weaker it gets. Regarding digging ditches: the steeper you slope their sides, the sooner they will wash down. Regarding muddy water: The more you try to stir the dirt out of it, the murkier it gets. What, then, should we do in order to clear the muddy water? Leave it alone and the dirt will settle out by itself. What, then, must we do in order to achieve contentment? Let each thing act according to its own nature, and it will eventually come to rest in its own way. Those who fully comprehend the true nature of existence do not try to push things to excess. And because they do not try to push things to excess, they are able to satisfy their needs repeatedly without exhausting themselves." - Translated by Archie J. Bahm, 1958, Chapter 15
The ancient followers of Tao: so wise, so subtle, so profound, so deeply understanding that they were themselves misunderstood. They must therefore be described: Cautious, like crossing a stream in mid-winter; observant, like moving in fear through hostile land; modest, retiring like ice beginning to melt; dignified, like an honored guest; genuine, like natural, untouched wood; receptive, like an inviting, open valley; friendly, like muddied water, freely mixing. Who can make sense of a world like cloudy water? Left alone and still, it becomes clear. Should this stillness be maintained? Moving hastily will surely cloud it again. How then can one move and not become clouded? Accept Tao and achieve without being selfish; being unselfish one endures the world’s wear, and needs no change of pace." - Translated by Frank J. Machovec, 1962, Chapter 15
"Dans l'Antiquité, ceux qui excellaient à pratiquer le Tao étaient déliés et subtils, abstraits et pénétrants. Ils étaient tellement profonds qu'on ne pouvait les connaître. Comme on ne pouvait les connaître, je m'efforcerai de donner une idée de ce qu'ils étaient. Ils étaient timides comme celui qui traverse un torrent en hiver. Ils étaient graves comme un étranger en présence de l'hôte. Ils s'effaçaient comme la glace qui se fond. Ils étaient rudes comme le bois non travaillé. Il étaient vides comme une vallée. Ils étaient troubles comme une eau limoneuse. Qui est-ce qui sait apaiser peu à peu le trouble de son cœur en le laissant reposer? Qui est-ce qui sait naître peu à peu à la vie spirituelle par un calme prolongé? Celui qui conserve ce Tao ne désire pas d'être plein. Il n'est pas plein de lui-même, c'est pourquoi il garde ses défauts apparents, et ne désire pas d'être jugé parfait."
"The Ancient masters of the Way of Nature ... The excellent masters of old, Subtle, mysterious, mystic, acute, Were much too profound for their times. Since they were not then understood, It is better to tell how they looked. Like men crossing streams in the winter, How cautious! As if all around there were danger, How watchful! As if they were guests on every occasion, How dignified! Like ice just beginning to melt, Self-effacing! Like a wood-block untouched by a tool, How sincere! Like a valley awaiting a guest, How receptive! Like a torrent that rushes along, And so turbid! Who, running dirty, comes clean like still waters? Who, being quiet, moves others to fullness of life? It is he who, embracing the Way, is not greedy; Who endures wear and tear without needing renewal." - Translated by Raymond Blakney, 1955, Chapter 15
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
"Los sabios perfectos de la antigüedad
eran tan sutiles, agudos y profundos
que no podían ser conocidos.
Puesto que no podían ser conocidos,
sólo se puede intentar describirlos:
Eran prudentes, como quien cruza un arroyo en invierno;
cautos, como quien teme a sus vecinos por todos lados;
reservados, como un huésped;
inconstantes, como el hielo que se funde;
compactos, como un tronco de madera;
amplios, como un valle;
confusos, como el agua turbia.
¿Quién puede, en la quietud, pasar lentamente de lo
turbio a la claridad?
¿Quién puede, en el movimiento, pasar lentamente
de la calma a la acción?
Quien sigue este Tao
no anhela la abundancia.
Por no estar colmado
puede ser humilde,
eludir lo vulgar
y alcanzar la plenitud."
- Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 15
"Los antiguos maestros poseían sutil sabiduría,
y profundo conocimiento, a tal grado que nadie podía entenderlos.
Tan sólo porque no podían ser entendidos me esfuerzo en ofrecer una imagen:
Eran prudentes como aquél que cruza un río en invierno.
Irresolutos, como aquél que está rodeado de peligros.
Reservados como los huéspedes.
Desprendidos, como el hielo que está por derretirse.
Auténticos, como trozos de madera no trabajada.
Amplios como los valles.
Mezclándose libremente con el agua turbia.
¿Quién puede recostarse en un lugar fangoso?
Este lugar se aclara quedándose quieto.
¿Quién puede mantener su calma durante mucho tiempo?
Actuando, la paz vuelve a la vida.
Quien abraza el Tao no desea estar lleno.
Precisamente porque nunca está lleno no puede agotarse ni puede renovarse."
- Translation from Logia Medio Dia, 2015, Capítulo 15
"Los sabios perfectos de la antigüedad eran tan sutiles, agudos y profundos que no podían ser conocidos. Puesto que no podían ser conocidos, sólo se puede intentar describirlos: Eran prudentes, como quien cruza un arroyo en invierno; cautos, como quien teme a sus vecinos por todos lados; reservados, como un huésped; inconstantes, como el hielo que se funde; compactos, como un tronco de madera; amplios, como un valle; confusos, como el agua turbia. ¿Quién puede, en la quietud, pasar lentamente de lo turbio a la claridad? ¿Quién puede, en el movimiento, pasar lentamente de la calma a la acción? Quien sigue este Tao no desea ser pleno. No siendo pleno puede quedar en lo viejo sin renovarse." - Spanish Version Online at RatMachines, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 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 Translations Online. Terebess Asia Online. 124 nicely formatted complete English language translations, on separate webpages, of the Daodejing. Alphabetical index by translators. Each webpage has all 81 chapters of the Tao Te Ching translated into English. An outstanding collection─ the Best on the Internet.
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 15 in the Rambling Taoist Commentaries by Trey Smith. The Rambling Taoists are Trey Smith and Scott Bradley.
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.
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.
Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching
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July 30, 2015.
This webpage was first distributed online on February 9, 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