Translation: Tao Te King – Chapter 41. The similar and the different

Chapter 41. The similar and the different

When a wise man hears of the Tao he follows it.

Photograp of the hanging scroll titled
Inquiring of the Tao at the Cave of Paradise, hanging scroll by Dai Jin, color on silk, 210.5 x 83 cm. Located at the Palace Museum, Beijing. This painting is based on the story that the Yellow Emperor went out to the Kongtong Mountains to meet with the famous Taoist sage Guangchengzi. {{PD-old}}. Uploaded by Stout256

When one with ordinary intelligence hears of it he stays in it for a while and soon loses it.

When a fool hears of it he just laughs at it.

If such people wouldn’t mock it it could not properly be called the Tao.

Therefore, like the poets would say:

Who shines in Tao’s company, he disappears into the shadow,

His path in the Tao goes backwards,

And all his actions are murky.

The highest virtue has no name,

Dim seems the greatest purity,

True wisdom the most unsure,

Virtue you are born with the most wondrous.

Longest lasts the unchanging change,

Rectangularity does not make corners.

The biggest boat cannot be tied.

The loudest sound has never been heard.

The biggest creature does not wear shapes.

For the Tao is concealed and nameless, yet it is good in the beginning and the end.


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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.