Saturday, October 29, 2011

Line by Line - Verse 49, Line 9

The sage has in the world an appearance of indecision, and keeps his mind in a state of indifference to all.
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~

The sage is shy and humble - to the world he seems confusing.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~

The sages live in the world
They cautiously merge their mind for the world

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

A Master throws himself
into the world completely,
forgetting everything he's been told.

~ Ron Hogan rendition, from, 2004 ~
As we slowly have worked our way through the TTC, I have often found Legge's translation to be stilted and lacking as much depth as the other two translations. For this line, however, I think he captures it well.

The wise person doesn't allow biases and preconceived notions to be the driver of decisions. It is when we approach the world indifferently -- we size up ALL the information available -- that more possibilities abound. Where others see roadblocks and dead ends, the sagacious individual can find a route around a seeming impasse.

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. Legge was no slouch, but he was a product of his moment in time.


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