Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Line By Line - Verse 11, Lines 5-6

The door and windows are cut out (from the walls) to form an apartment;
but it is on the empty space (within), that its use depends.

~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~

Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~

Cut open doors and windows to create a room In its emptiness,
there is the function of a room

~ Derek Lin translation, from Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths, 2006 ~

A house is made out of wood or brick,
but you live in the space between the walls.

~ Ron Hogan rendition, from, 2004 ~
These lines represent the third couplet in this verse that seeks to show that the space/emptiness/void is what makes life functional. Again, these metaphors are being employed in order for us to see how they apply to our minds and hearts.

Just like trying to navigate through a room that is clogged with far too many furnishings, it can be hard to maneuver around a mind filled up with hubris and hyperbole.

To view the Index page for this series to see what you may have missed or would like to read again, go here.

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