#Click on a sentence 1 2 3 4 5 Chapter 14 Chapter 16 Back to index #

Ch. 15 Sentence 1
Beck The wise have ancient mystic wisdom and profound understanding, too deep to comprehend.
Blackney The excellent masters of old, Subtle, mysterious, mystic, acute, Were much too profound for their times.
Bynner Long ago the land was ruled with a wisdom Too fine, too deep, to be fully understood
Byrn The Sages of old were profound and knew the ways of subtlety and discernment.
Chan Of old those who were the best rulers were subtly mysterious and profoundly penetrating; Too deep to comprehend.
Cleary Skilled warriors of old were subtle, mysteriously powerful, so deep they were unknowable.
Crowley The adepts of past ages were subtle and keen to apprehend this Mystery, and their profundity was obscurity unto men.
Hansen Those in ancient times who were good at deem:acting as scholars Were subtlety mysterious and profoundly receptive Unfathomably deep.
LaFargue The Excellent shih of ancient times penetrated into the most obscure, the marvelous, the mysterious. They had a depth beyond understanding.
Legge The skillful masters (of the Tao) in old times, with a subtle and exquisite penetration, comprehended its mysteries, and were deep (also) so as to elude men's knowledge.
Lindauer Those ancients who valued action in the tao Were insightful, versatile, far-reaching, coherent.
LinYutan The wise ones of old had subtle wisdom and depth of understanding, So profound that they could not be understood.
Mabry The Sages of old were scholars who knew well the ways of subtlety, mystery and discernment.
McDonald The best rulers of old had fine natures, mysterious, too deep, they could not be understood.
Merel The enlightened possess understanding So profound they can not be understood.
Mitchell The ancient Masters were profound and subtle. Their wisdom was unfathomable.
Muller The ancient masters of the Tao Had subtle marvelous mystic penetration A depth that cannot be known.
Red Pine The ancient masters of the Way aimed at the indiscernible and penetrated the dao
Ta-Kao In old times the perfect man of Tao was subtle, penetrating and so profound that he can hardly be understood.
Walker A sage is subtle, intuitive, penetrating, profound. His depths are mysterious and unfathomable.
Wieger The ancient Sages were subtle, abstract, profound, in a way that cannot be expressed in words.
World Those who live in oneness manifest the Infinite in simple ways. Their awareness is the awareness of Infinity.
Wu The ancient adepts of the Tao were subtle and flexible, profound and comprehensive. Their minds were too deep to be fathomed.

Ch. 15 Sentence 2
Beck Because they can not be comprehended, they can only be described by analogy: cautious, like crossing a stream in winter; alert, like one aware of danger on all sides; courteous, like a visiting guest;
Blackney 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,
Bynner 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 an ambush,' 'Considerate as a welcome guest,'
Byrn 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 an frozen stream in winter. Alert as if surrounded on all sides by the enemy. Courteous as a guest.
Chan And because they cannot be comprehended, I can only describe them arbitrarily: Cautious, like crossing a frozen stream in the winter, Being at a loss, like one fearing danger on all sides, Reserved, like one visiting,
Cleary Just because they are unknowable, I will try to describe them. Their wariness was as that of one crossing a river in winter, their caution was as that of one in fear of all around; their gravity was as that of a guest,
Crowley Since then they were not known, let me declare their nature. To 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;
Hansen Now, precisely because unfathomable, We must force a description of them. Cautious: like crossing a stream in winter. Ambivalent: like fearing those on all sides. Exacting: like being a guest
LaFargue They were simply beyond understanding. The Appearance of their forceful presence: Cautious, like one crossing a stream in winter timid, like one who fears the surrounding neighbours reserved, like guests
Legge 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);
Lindauer Penetrating, one cannot understand In the end it is only that one cannot understand So there is more than appears to their actions. So resigned, like fording a river in winter Just so, like respecting all four neighbors So reserved, like making an appearance
LinYutan And because they could not be understood, Perforce must they be so described: Cautious, like crossing a wintry stream, Irresolute, like one fearing danger all around, Grave, like one acting as guest,
Mabry Their wisdom was beyond comprehension. Because they were beyond comprehension, I can only describe their appearance: They were cautious, as if crossing a river in winter. They were hesitant, as if fearing danger from all sides, They were polite, as if they were guests.
McDonald And because such men could not be fully grasped at once, they appeared to be cautious, like wading a stream in winter; at a loss, like one fearing and having to deal with danger on every side; reserved, like one who pays a visit;
Merel Because they cannot be understood I can only describe their appearance: Cautious as one crossing thin ice, Undecided as one surrounded by danger, Modest as one who is a guest,
Mitchell There is no way to describe it; all we can describe is their appearance. They were careful as someone crossing an iced-over stream. Alert as a warrior in enemy territory. Courteous as a guest.
Muller It is exactly because that they are unknowable That we are forced to pay attention to their appearance. Hesitant, like one crossing an ice-covered river. Ready, like one afraid of his neighbours on all sides. Dignified, like a guest.
Red Pine you would never know them I describe them with reluctance they were careful as if crossing a river in winter cautious as if worried about neighbours reserved like guests
Ta-Kao Because he cannot be understood, I shall endeavour to picture him: He is cautious, like one who crosses a stream in winter; He is hesitating, like one who fears his neighbours; He is modest, like one who is a guest;
Walker The best one can do is describe his appearance: The sage is alert as a person crossing a winter stream; as circumspect as a person with neighbours on all four sides; as respectful as a thoughtful guest;
Wieger Therefore I am going to use illustrative comparisons in order to make myself as clearly understood as possible. They were circumspect like on who crosses an ice-covered river; prudent like one who knows that his neighbours have their eyes on him; reserved like a guest in front of his host.
World Their knowing cannot be described but only experienced. All that can be described is their acts and their appearance and the perception of them. They are; alert when crossing unfamiliar space, cautious in hostile lands, humble as a guest,
Wu Because they are unfathomable, One can only describe them vaguely by their appearance. Hesitant like one wading a stream in winter; Timid like one afraid of his neighbours on all sides; Cautious and courteous like a guest;

Ch. 15 Sentence 3
Beck self-effacing, like ice beginning to melt; genuine, like a piece of uncarved wood; open and receptive, like a valley; freely mixing, like muddy water.
Blackney 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!
Bynner 'Selfless as melting ice,' 'Green as an uncut tree,' 'Open as a valley,' And this one also, 'Roiled as a torrent.'
Byrn Fluid as melting ice. Whole as an uncarved block of wood. Receptive as a valley. Turbid as muddied water.
Chan Supple and pliant, like ice about to melt. Genuine, like a piece of uncarved wood, Open and broad, like a valley, Merged and undifferentiated, like muddy water.
Cleary their relaxation was as that of ice at the melting point. Simple as uncarved wood, open as valleys, they were as inscrutable as murky water.
Crowley 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.
Hansen Mutable: like ice on the point of melting Unaffected: like uncarved wood. Munificient: like a valley Obscure: like muddied water
LaFargue yielding, like ice about to melt unspecified, like the Uncarved Block all vacant space, like the Valley everything mixed together, like muddy water.
Legge 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.
Lindauer So melting, like ice halfway released So genuine, like their true nature So spacious, like a valley So well mixed, like muddy water.
LinYutan Self-effacing, like ice beginning to melt, Genuine, like a piece of undressed wood, Open-minded, like a valley, And mixing freely, like murky water.
Mabry They were always growing, like the puddle from a melting cube of ice. They were genuine, like an uncarved block of wood. They were as open-minded as a valley. They were open to infinite possibilities, like a turbulent storm.
McDonald 15.3 pliant and yielding, as ice when it begins to melt; genuine, like a piece of raw wood; open-minded like a valley; and blending freely like a troubled, muddy stream of water.
Merel Unbounded as melting ice, Genuine as unshaped wood, Broad as a valley, Seamless as muddy water.
Mitchell Fluid as melting ice. Shapable as a block of wood. Receptive as a valley. Clear as a glass of water.
Muller Loose, like ice about to melt. Straightforward, like an uncarved block of wood. Open, like a valley. Obscure, like muddy water.
Red Pine ephemeral like melting ice simple like uncarved wood open like valleys and murky like puddles
Ta-Kao He is yielding, like ice that is going to melt; He is simple, like wood that is not yet wrought; He is vacant, like valleys that are hollow; He is dim, like water that is turbid.
Walker as yielding as melting ice; as simple as uncarved wood; as open as a valley; as chaotic as a muddy torrent.
Wieger They were indifferent like melting ice (which is neither one thing nor the other). They were unsophisticated like a tree trunk (the rough bark of which conceals the excellent heartwood). They were empty like a valley (with reference to the mountain that form it). They were accommodating like muddy water, (they, the clear water, not repelling the mud, not refusing to live in contact with the common people, not forming a separate group).
World indifferently transforming as melting ice, possessing the infinite potential of an unremarkable piece of uncarved wood, mysterious as an unexplored valley, perplexing as muddy water
Wu Yielding like ice on the point of melting; Simple like an uncarved block; Hollow like a cave; Confused like a muddy pool;

Ch. 15 Sentence 4
Beck Who can make sense of a muddy world? Let it be still, and it becomes clear. Who can remain calm, and through activity come back to life?
Blackney Who, running dirty, comes clean like still waters? Who, being quiet, moves others to fullness of life?
Bynner 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?
Byrn 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?
Chan Who can make muddy water gradually clear through tranquillity? Who can make the still gradually come to life through activity?
Cleary Who can, in turbidity, use the gradual clarification of stillness? Who can, long at rest, use the gradual enlivening of movement?
Crowley Who can clear muddy water? Stillness will accomplish this. Who can obtain rest? Let motion continue equably, and it will itself be peace.
Hansen Who can, while muddy, using calmness gradually become clear? Who can, while at ease, using activity gradually come to life.?
LaFargue Who is able, as muddy water, by Stilling to slowly become clear? Who is able, at rest, by long drawn-out movement to slowly come to life?
Legge 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.
Lindauer Who is able to gently calm muddy water, clearing it? Who is able to endure gently stirring tranquillity so it gives birth?
LinYutan Who can find repose in a muddy world? By lying still, it becomes clear. Who can maintain his calm for long? By activity, it comes back to life.
Mabry Who can wait for the storm to stop, to find peace in the calm that follows?
McDonald Find repose in a muddy world by lying still; be gradually clear through tranquillity. You can assume such murkiness, to become in the end still and clear. And maintain your calm long in between. So make yourself inert, to get in the end full of life and stir. By such activity come back to life.
Merel Who stills the water that the mud may settle, Who seeks to stop that he may travel on,
Mitchell Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?
Muller Who can be muddled, and use clarity to gradually become lucid? Who can be calm, and use constant application for eventual success?
Red Pine but a puddle becomes clear when it's still and stillness becomes alive when it's roused
Ta-Kao Who is able to purify the dark till it becomes slowly light? Who is able to calm the turbid till it slowly clears? Who is able to quicken the stagnant till it slowly makes progress?
Walker Why "chaotic as a muddy torrent"? Because clarity is learned by being patient in the heart of chaos. Tolerating disarray, remaining at rest, gradually one learns to allow muddy water to settle and proper responses to reveal themselves.
Wieger (To seek purity and peace by separating from the world is to overdo things. They can be found in the world). Purity is to be found in the trouble (of this world) through (interior) calm, on condition that one does not let the impurity of the world affect oneself. Peace is to be found in the movement (of this world) by one who knows how to take part in this movement, and who is not exasperated through desiring that is should be stopped.
World Can you see the calm in turbulent waters; the clarity in murky water? Can you allow the tides of Infinite change to move you from stillness to motion and action to inaction; experiencing but not contemplating the change?
Wu And yet who else could quietly and gradually evolve from the muddy to the clear? Who else could slowly but steadily move from the inert to the living?

Ch. 15 Sentence 5
Beck Those who embrace this Way do not over-extend themselves. Because they do not over-extend themselves, they do not wear out and are not replaced.
Blackney It is he who, embracing the Way, is not greedy; Who endures wear and tear without needing renewal
Bynner 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.
Byrn The Master doesn't seek fulfilment. For only those who are not full are able to be used which brings the feeling of completeness.
Chan He who embraces this Tao does not want to fill himself to overflowing. It is precisely because there is no overflowing that he is beyond wearing out and renewal.
Cleary Those who preserve this Way do not want fullness. Just because of not wanting fullness, it is possible to use to the full and not make anew.
Crowley The adepts of the Dao, 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 privilege.
Hansen She who embraces this guiding discourse doesn't desire fulfilling. Now precisely because not fulfilled, she can obscure and not newly fabricate.
LaFargue Whoever holds onto this Tao does not yearn for solidity. He simply lacks solidity, and so what he is capable of: Remaining concealed, accomplishing nothing new.
Legge They who preserve this method of the Tao 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.
Lindauer Those who maintain this tao have no desire for fullness In the end only lack fullness So be able to be shabby yet perfect the new.
LinYutan He who embraces this Tao Guards against being over-full. Because he guards against being over-full, He is beyond wearing out and renewal.
Mabry The person who is able to wait patiently in this peace will eventually know what is right. Those who respect the Tao do not go to extremes. Not going to extremes, they are inconspicuous and content.
McDonald Who hugs this dao doesn't want to fill himself to overflowing. It's just because he guards against being over-full, there's no overflowing, and next he is like a garment that endures all, beyond wearing out and renewal.
Merel Who desires less than what may transpire, Decays, but will not renew.
Mitchell The Master doesn't seek fulfilment. Not seeking, not expecting, she is present, and can welcome all things.
Muller The one who holds to this path does not crave fulfilment. Precisely because he does not crave fulfilment He can be shattered And do without quick restitution.
Red Pine those who treasure this Way don't try to be full not trying to be full they can hide and stay hidden
Ta-Kao He who follows these principles does not desire fullness. Because he is not full, therefore when he becomes decayed he can renew.
Walker Those who aspire to Tao don't long for fulfillment. They selflessly allow the Tao to use and deplete them; They calmly allow the Tao to renew and complete them.
Wieger He who keeps to this rule of not being consumed by sterile desires arising from his own fancy, will live willingly in obscurity, and will not aspire to renew the world.
World Those who live in oneness do not seek fullness because at every moment they are aware of their infinite fullness and the infinite pregnancy of all things. They are aware of their infinite potential within which the limitations of fullness resides.
Wu He who keeps the Tao does not want to be full. But precisely because he is never full, He can remain like a hidden sprout, And does not rush to early ripening.