Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Line by Line - Verse 45, Lines 1-2

Who thinks his great achievements poor
Shall find his vigour long endure.

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

Great accomplishment seems imperfect,
Yet it does not outlive its usefulness.

~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~

Great perfection seems flawed
Its function is without failure

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

The greatest achievements
may look like mistakes,
but you will always be able
to build upon them.

~ Ron Hogan rendition, from Beatrice.com, 2004 ~
For Derek Lin,
"Great perfection" here can be read as a synonym for the Tao. "Flaw" in this context means a lack of completeness. This flaw that we may perceive in the Tao is due to our limited human perspective.
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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