THE FEMININE TAO 
CHAPTER EIGHT
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Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) (Intro) : 32 Nature Mystic Chapters :
gender-inclusive translations, citations from commentary, seal scripts :

01, 04, 06, 07, 08    09, 10, 11, 15, 21, 22, 23    26, 28, 29, 32, 35,
40, 43, 45, 47    48, 49, 51, 52, 56, 63, 67    70, 73, 77, 79.
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Hymning the Tao Te Ching
(Literal 81 Chapter Chinese-English Study Version)
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Hyperlinked Bibliography: Women Authors on the Tao Te Ching
The Woman Crookback (Chuang-Tzu) | Picturing Tao: riding the wave (above)
Women's Prehistoric Jomon Pottery

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Chinese Character 水, Shui, Water
WATER / Pictograph =
Streams Flowing Together (水 = Shui)

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by Tolbert McCarroll (1982)

The highest good is like water.
For water benefits the ten thousand things without striving.


(1) The highest (2) good (3) is like (4) water
(5) water (6) is good at (7) benefiting (8) the ten thousand (9) things
(10) and (11) does not (12) contend

It settles in places that people avoid
and so is like the Tao.

In choosing your home look to the land.
In preparing your heart go deep.
In associating with others value gentleness.
In speaking exhibit good faith.
In governing provide good order.
In the conduct of business be competent.
In action be timely.

When there is no strife, nothing goes amiss.

---


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by Stephen Mitchell (1988)

The supreme good is like water, [*]
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places
people disdain. [**]      
Thus it is like the Tao.

In dwelling, live close to the ground. [***]
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don't compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.

---
[*] ISABELLA MEARS [translator, 1916/1922] says:
"Heavenly love is like water. Water blesses all
things, it does not hurt them."
---
[**] D. C. LAU [translator] says:
"We can easily understand why lower terms are preferred, for these terms are very often expressed in a negative form, and negative terms have not the same limiting function that positive terms have...it is the limiting function that makes specific terms unfit for describing the tao."
---
[***] OTAGAKI RENGETSU [Buddhist nun] says:
"From dawn to dusk spending the day gathering clay:
surely Buddha would not think this a trifling matter."


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by Dwight Goddard (1919)

True goodness is like water, in that it benefits
      everything and harms nothing.

Like water it ever seeks the lowest place,
      the place that all others avoid.
      It is closely kin to the Tao.


(1) It resides (2) where most (3) people
(4) the same (5) place (6) despise
(7) Thus (8) very near (9) to (10) the Tao/Way

For a dwelling it chooses the quiet meadow;
      for a heart the circling eddy.

In generosity it is kind;
      in speech it is sincere;
      in authority it is order;
      in affairs it is ability;
      in movement it is rhythm.

Inasmuch as it is always peaceable
      it is never rebuked.

---

Chinese Character 信, Xin, Ones Word
ONE'S WORD
Trust, Good Faith, Letter (信 = Xin)
Pictograph = Person + Word
"In speech the goodness is in one's word."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by D. C. Lau (1963)

Highest good is like water.
Because water excels in benefiting the myriad creatures without
contending with them and settles where none would like to be,
it comes close to the way.

In a home it is the site that matters;
In quality of mind it is depth that matters;
In an ally it is benevolence that matters;
In speech it is good faith that matters;
In government it is order that matters;
In affairs it is ability that matters;
In action it is timeliness that matters.


(1) for residing (2) the good is in (3) the grounding (4) for heart (5) the good is in (6) depth
(1) for giving (2) the good is in (3) kindness (4) for speaking (5) the good is in (6) one's word
(1) for righting things (2) the good is in (3) governing (4) for business (5) the goodness is in (6) skill
(1) for activity [itself] (2) the good is in (3) the timing

It is because it does not contend that it is never at fault.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by Ursula K. Le Guin (1998)

True goodness
is like water.
Water's good
for everything.
It doesn't compete.

It goes right
to the low loathsome places, [*]
and so finds the way.

For a house,
the good thing is level ground.
In thinking,
depth is good.
The good of giving is magnanimity;
of speaking, honesty;
of government, order.
The good of work is skill,
and of action, timing.

No competition,
so no blame.

---
[*] ELLEN M. CHEN comments:
"To Confucius water was the symbol of intelligent activity. The wise rejoice in water, while the virtuous rejoice in the mountains. The Tao Te Ching speaks of water as nearest Tao for a different reason by dwelling at the lowest places, water receives all the rejects of the world into itself."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by Chao-Hsiu Chen (2004)

The greatest good is like water:
      it benefits all life without being noticed.

It flows even to the lowliest places
      where no one chooses to be
      and so it is very close to the Tao.

It settles only in quiet locations.

Its deepest heart is always clear.

It offers itself with great goodness.

It keeps its rhythm as it keeps its promises.

It governs tributaries as it governs its people.

It adapts to all necessities.

It moves at the right moment.

It never flaunts its goodness
      and so it never attracts any blame.

---

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching / Chapter Eight in Seal Script
(Zhuanshu 篆文, with Wang Pi/Wang Bi Version)
Seal Script Tao Te Ching Chapter 8
Chapter 8 Seal Script & Interlinear English

(1) the highest (2) good (3) is like (4) water
(5) water (6) is good at (7) benefiting (8) the ten thousand (9) things
(10) and (11) does not (12) contend


(1) it resides (2) where most (3) people (4) the same (5) place (6) despise
(7) thus (8) very near (9) to (10) the Tao/Way


(1) for residing (2) the good is in (3) the grounding (4) for heart (5) the good is in (6) depth
(1) for giving (2) the good is in (3) kindness (4) for speaking (5) the good is in (6) one's word
(1) for righting things (2) the good is in (3) governing (4) for business (5) the goodness is in (6) skill
(1) for activity [itself] (2) the good is in (3) the timing

(1) surely (2) only (3) not (4) contending
(5) hence (6) none (7) are singled out
Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by Kwan-Yuk Claire Sit (2010)

Great good is like water.
Water is good at nourishing all things.
It also strives to settle in places people detest.
So it is close to Tao
Goodness is to dwell lowly on the Earth;
      still the mind in the deep of an abyss;
      give freely after the way of Heaven'
      speak sincerely;
      govern justly;
      work efficiently;
      act in a timely way.
Not striving with others procures no reproach.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by R. T. Ames & D. L. Hall (2003)

The highest efficiency is like water.
It is because water benefits everything
Yet vies to dwell in places loathed
by the crowd      
That it comes nearest to proper way-making.

In dwelling, the question is where is
the right place.      
In thinking and feeling, it is how deeply.
In giving, it is how much like nature's bounty.
In speaking, it is how credibly.
In governing, it is how effectively.
In serving, it is how capably.
In acting, it is how timely.

It is only because there is no communication
in proper way-making      
That it incurs no blame.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by J. H. McDonald (1996)

The supreme good is like water,
which benefits all of creation
without trying to compete with it.
It gathers in unpopular places.
Thus it is like the Tao.

The location makes the dwelling good.
Depth of understanding makes the mind good.
A kind heart makes the giving good.
Integrity makes the government good.
Accomplishments make your labors good.
Proper timing makes a decision good.

Only when there is no competition
will we all live in peace.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by Frank J. MacHovec (1962)

The highest motive is to be like water: water is essential to all life,
yet it does not demand a fee or proclaim its importance.
Rather, it flows humbly to the lowest level, and in so doing
it is much like Tao.

In the home the truly wise love the humble earth,
the foundation on which the home is built;
in the heart they love what is genuine;
in friendship they are compassionate;
in words they are sincere;
in government they foster peace and good will;
in business they work with quiet efficiency.

Serenity is the goal of Tao; through it nothing is lost. [*]

---
[*] SUN BU-ER (PU-EHR) [Immortal Sister] comments:
"The weak water of the isle of immortals
will never fail to buoy you up."

Chinese Character 爭, Zheng, Contend
CONTENDING
Strive, Compete, Quarrel (爭 = Zheng)
Pictograph: Hands + Pulling
  "Like water, benefiting all without contending" = Tao  

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by Shrine of Wisdom (1924)

The highest excellence is like water, it benefits those in the most
inaccessible places without striving. It occupies the lowest level,
which men avoid. Therefore it is analagous to Tao.

It has the virtue of gravity, which finds its own place.

It has the virtue of the heart, which knows the silent deeps.

It has the virtue of the good, which bestows the fullest gifts.

It has the virtue of the words which speak the greatest truths.

It has the virtue of the order which ensures the perfect peace.

It has the virtue of the service which uses the highest skill.

It has the virtue of the rhythm which is unfailing in its timelessness.

Therefore, since it does not strive, it is serene without reaction.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by Walter Gorn Old (1904)

The greatest virtue is like water;
it is good to all things.      
It attains the most inaccessible places
without strife.      
Therefore it is like Tao.
It has the virtue of adapting itself to its place.
It is virtuous like the heart by being deep.
It is virtuous like speech by being faithful.
It is virtuous like government in regulating.
It is virtuous like a servant in its ability.
It is virtuous like action by being in season.
And because it does not strive
it has no enemies.      


(1) surely (2) only (3) not (4) contending
(5) hence (6) none (7) are singled out

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by Red Pine (1996)

The best are like water
bringing help to all
without competing [*]
choosing what others avoid
hence approaching the Tao
dwelling with earth
thinking with depth
helping with kindness
speaking with truth
governing with peace
working with skill
moving with time
and because they don't compete
they aren't maligned

---
[*] LI HUNG-FU [16th c. commentator] says:
"How do we know they don't compete? Everyone else chooses nobility. They alone choose humility. Everyone else chooses the pure. They alone choose the base. What they choose is what everyone else hates. Who is going to compete with them?"

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