verse for today (*):
Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.
Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.
The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.
(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
While alive, the body is soft and pliant (translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
When dead, it is hard and rigid
All living things, grass and trees,
While alive, are soft and supple
When dead, become dry and brittle
Thus that which is hard and stiff
is the follower of death
That which is soft and yielding
is the follower of life
Therefore, an inflexible army will not win
A strong tree will be cut down
The big and forceful occupy a lowly position
While the soft and pliant occupy a higher place
Be soft and be immortal. (translation by Jeremy M. Miller, 2013)
Be the bully and be destroyed.
How many times must this lesson be taught?
*) The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic.
It was written around the 6th century BC by the sage Lao Tzu.
The short text consists of 81 brief chapters, or verses.
Every day we issue a "verse of the day" for contemplation, in two leading English translations, that nevertheless differ substantially, and since December 8th 2013, we have a radically different third translation:
"Nothingness and Zero"
A Post New-Age Approach to Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, published by courtesy of the translator and interpreter.
© Copyright 2013 Jeremy M. Miller. All rights reserved.
Acknowledgments: The hundreds of prior translations, especially that by Arthur Waley.
To Pythagoras, who understood Zero and taught It; and to Chuang Tzu, the ideal poetic student.
The I Ching is based on the number 2, with its 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 (26) = 64 hexagrams.
The Tao Te Ching is based on the number 3, with its 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 81 chapters.
We now offer it in three translations.
Perhaps, when reflecting on the three interpretations, the true meaning will emerge.
These 81 verses simply rotate; every day the next number, and after 81, number 1 will appear again.
This is done deliberately; if you want to read the complete text, you should purchase the resp. translations by Stephen Mitchell, Derek Lin or Jeremy M. Miller below.
(All three available in Kindle edition as well.)
If you missed yesterday's verse, you can still read it at I Ching Online Original (version 2), which is always one day behind.
More books about Tao Te Ching: