Thursday, January 27, 2011

Line by Line - Verse 21, Line 1

The grandest forms of active force
From Tao come, their only source.
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~

The greatest Virtue is to follow Tao and Tao alone.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~

The appearance of great virtue
Follows only the Tao

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

A Master stays focused on Tao.
Nothing else, just Tao.

~ Ron Hogan rendition, from, 2004 ~
I like the way in which Yen Ling-Feng explains this line (from Red Pine's book):
Virtue is the manifestation of the Way. The Way is what Virtue contains. Without the Way, Virtue would have no power. Without Virtue, the Way would have no appearance.
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. Yen Ling-Feng freakin' nailed it!

    I hate it when they translate "te" as "virtue." Virtue holds connotations in the English language that don't really fit a term that is more along the lines of strength, power, integrity, and the like. Virtue maybe in the sense of "the healing virtues of..." but most people take virtue to mean some sort of purity, morality, and chasteness, especially when reading "spiritual classics".


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