I enjoy reading extracts from the Tao Te Ching and comparing how different writers have translated the wisdom from the original Chinese. The truth is not in the words, but in how the essence of the Tao is felt by the reader. Notice the feelings that arise in these two offerings on Chapter 16.

the Tao

“Empty your mind of all thoughts.

Let your heart be at peace.

Watch the turmoil of beings,

but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe

returns to the common source.

Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don’t realize the source,

you stumble in confusion and sorrow.

When you realize where you come from,

you naturally become tolerant, disinterested,

amused, kindhearted as a grandmother,

dignified as a king.

Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,

you can deal with whatever life brings you,

and when death comes, you are ready.”

~ Mitchell, Stephen. Tao Te Ching (Perennial Classics) . Harper Perennial. Kindle Edition.

ocean at night
Source: Pinterest

And now reflect on this translation.

“Seek the reality of emptiness and stillness,
The great constants of existence.
Though life abounds, its creations rise and fall.
Eventually all return, in their own way, to Tao.
To return to Tao is to embrace stillness,
The relentless way of nature.

The flow of nature does not change.
To see its constancy is to know the intricacies of the ordinary,
Revealing patterns of the grand.

To ignore this constant is to mistake the eternal for the mundane,
Bringing unharmonious selfish action and discord,
Pathologies to humanity.

Accepting the constant means opening the mind.
This leads to compassion and impartiality,
A respect for all that Tao provides and takes away,
And an understanding that all return to the ultimate reality of Tao.

Life is fleeting,
Tao is constant: An eternal emptiness, full to bursting”.

~ Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David. Tao Te Ching (p. 25). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

It isn’t the words, the practices or the beliefs that matter. It is how we allow ourselves to feel into what we see, rather than evaluate and revert to the mind and it’s propensity to analyze and judge the experience.

Embracing a new way of perceiving and being in the world.

About Val Boyko

Val Boyko is originally from Scotland and came to the United States over 25 years ago. At "Find Your Middle Ground" Val brings together her experience as a life coach, yoga teacher and mentor, to inspire awakening to the light and inspiration within us all. This blog is a place of exploration and discovery as we all explore finding harmony and peace, in the highs and lows of life 💛

14 comments on “Tao Wisdom from Two Translators

  1. That place I touched, that moment of a total acceptance, being fully open, a peace, a oneness, no need to think at all…and a love so profound. And the one thing I remembered the most when I ‘came back’ was…I had ‘let go’ towards it as it is our natural state…but Spirit blocked me and I had to come back. But it changed me, I floated for weeks after it…ok, I’m still floating, how could you not be changed after that 😀 May we all, regardless of our beliefs, journey’s, pathways find ourselves within to ‘be’ in that place too Val. Great post dear lady, and standing in that pathway to express it so well 😀❤️🙏🏽

    Liked by 1 person

  2. From my perspective, different words definitely leave different feelings. What do you do with the differences?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great question. Differences are a part of life … and living fully we take time to be with them. It’s interesting to observe what comes up when we take different stances. The ego-mind will always reject and rebel when it feels threatened . That is the space to pay loving attention to.🙏🏼

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So well said Val, it is indeed how we FEEL and what we feel, dream and intend, is what we manifest in the world.. Great Quotations.. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! So awesome Sue, to dive beyond the reality and embrace all that is possible. Thank you for being here and present with love 💖


  4. A great difference in style, many choices offer whatever resonates best for each individual. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i’ve just been reading these very books, LOL. amazing, ennit? deeep breath. XOXOXOXOX

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Calm self-awareness allows the Tao to surface and illuminate our journey as the path unfolds before us.

    These words are simple. Mastering them is hard. ~ Tao Te Ching

    Liked by 1 person

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