Translation: Tao Te King – Chapter 39. At the source of the spring

Chapter 39. At the source of the spring

Few things have through oneness persisted since the ancient times and they are:

Picture of earth pumping up some ferrous water in Iceland
Hengill at 64° 02′ 53.56″ N, 21° 13′ 21.59″ W. CC-BY-SA 3.0 by artist and uploader Hansueli Krapf.

Translucency of the sky;

Solidity of the earth;

Bobylessness of spirits;

Wateriness of the valleys;

Lives of all of creation;

Excellence of kings and fürsts.

All these persist  through oneness.

The sky if it were not for its translucency, would be in danger of darkening. The earth, did it not have its solidness would be in danger of being undone.

Spirits, if they were not bodyless would be in danger of dying.

Valleys without this wateriness would be in danger of becoming barren.

All creation would be in danger of perishing if it did not have this life-force.

Fürsts and kings, without this glory and greatness would be at risk of vanquish.

Thus we see that glory is caused by that which is without peculiarity and greatness is based on and upheld b y that which is of no significance.

This is why fürsts and kings call themselves “orphans”, “secluded” and “wheelless carriages”.

Do they not recognized that their excelence is based on those who are below them?

Who can deny this?

Undoubtedly a wheelless carriage is no carriage at all.

It is harsh for man to live secluded but harsh is also for a jewel to be lost in a crowd like and ordinary stone.¹


Mr. Ervast: “This whole chapter would appear in satire style.”

Own translation from 1925 Finnish translation by Pekka Ervast (ISBN 951-8995-01-X) with kind permission of Ruusu-Ristin Kirjallisuusseura ry.

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