Laozi’s Dao De Jing (core 33 chapters)
Translated by LI Siming, 2011
1. Temporariness of names, functionality and origin of nothingness vs. beingness
The Dao that can be spoken is not the enduring and unchanging Dao.
The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.
Nothingness, is the origin of heaven and earth;
Beingness, is the mother of all things.
Abide in nothingness, one see deep wisdom;
Abide in beingness, one see boundless creation.
Both arise from same source but have different names, together they are called mystery.
Lie in the deepest of mystery, is the gate to all wisdom and wonder.
2. Dualistic nature of worldly standards, vs. non-dual lifestyle of sage
Everyone know what is beauty, because of the concept of non-beauty;
Everyone know what is virtue, because of the concept of non-virtue;
Therefore, beingness and nothingess creates each other,
difficult and easy forms each other,
long and short calibrates each other,
high and low leans toward each other,
tone and sound harmonises each other,
front and back follows each other.
Therefore the sage manages affairs without the concept of doing anything,
and he educates other through his speechless living.
All things do their works without slightest complaint,
they give born to others without claiming ownership.
they do things without telling others what they have done,
and they retire when their job is done.
Because of their retirement, their achievement is eternal.
4. Qualities, unknown qualities of the Dao
The Dao is like a vessel; we use it and it has no limit.
It is deep, like the source of everything.
It does not have sharpness, dissolves disputes, blends brightness, and is ordinary like dust.
It can not be seen but appears to exist.
I do not know who give birth to it, it appears to exist before god.
5. Impartiality and endless capacity of the Dao
Heaven and earth do not fixate on benevolent; they deal with all things as if they are grass dogs.
The sages do not fixate on benevolent; they deal with people as if they are grass dogs.
If we look at the space between heaven and earth, isn’t it like a musical wind chamber?
When emptied it is without limit, when moved it gives out limitlessly.
Excessive speechs exhaust ones reasons, it is better to stay centered.
6. Feminine quality of the Dao
The valley-like spirit does not die, it is the mysterious femininity.
The door of this mysterious femininity, is the root of heaven and earth.
It exist gently and steadily, we use it and it has no limit.
7. Heaven’s endless and Earth’s timeless
Heaven extends endlessly and earth stays timelessly.
The reason why heaven and earth are endless and timeless is because,
they do not create and live for themselves, and thus can live forever.
Therefore the sage puts his self last and found their Self comes first;
he treats his self as if it were foreign to him and found their Self continued.
Is it not because of them being selfless? Therefore they can fulfill their Self.
8. The Dao-like water
The highest virtue is like that of water.
Water benefits everything and does not fight, it positions itself at place everyone dislike,
and therefore is close to the Dao.
It is excellent at: positioning itself, rooting its mind, giving out benevolence,
maintaining its integrity, governing things, manifesting its abilities, and
moving at the appropriate time.
It does not fight with/for anything, and therefore draw no grudge.