Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Line by Line - Verse 15, Line 7

grave like a guest (in awe of his host);
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~

Courteous, like visiting guests.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~

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

They were polite, like a guest at a party.
~ Ron Hogan rendition, from Beatrice.com, 2004 ~
Most people are on their best behavior when visiting in someone else's home. While you habitually might track mud into your own home, you make sure to clean the mud off your shoes (or take them off) when visiting another person's abode. When at home, you might simply stack the dishes after dinner, but as a guest, you offer to rinse your plate and help with the dishes.

For those of you in a monogamous relationship, do you remember the first time you met your potential in-laws? In such a situation, most people put on their best behavior. We try not to offend. We don't act pushy. We might say, "Yes sir" or "Yes ma'am" more often than usual. In essence, we go out of our way to be pleasant and respectful.

Why don't we treat every person and situation in the same way?

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

1 comment:

  1. Ever read of Alan Watts' term "irrducible rascality"? Basically, it comes down to a recognition that we're all rascals at heart, and when your comfortable with someone, you can drop the pretense of politeness, and thus refer to your best friend lovingly as "that old bastard". It's that seed of rascality that makes us individuals, human. Without it, we may be blissfully one with Tao, sure. But so is a rock.


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