THE FEMININE TAO 
CHAPTER TEN
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Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) (Intro) : 32 Nature Mystic Chapters :
gender-inclusive translations, calligraphy, 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
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Picturing Tao (photo above: A Child's Path)
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Tao Te Ching: Chapter 10
translated by Chao-Hsiu Chen (2004)

Can one hold the soul in the body,
hold the mind in the spirit,
and keep them as one?

Can one concentrate the energy of life
and keep it supple like a newborn child?

Can one study everything and really know everything
without making a mistake?

Can one govern the nation with all the right actions
and really love the people?

Can one always make a decision with the right mind?

Can one empty the mind and fill it with the brightness of wisdom
and learn to step back from this knowledge?

Can one give life and grow life and yet claim no possession?

Can one supervise and benefit others,
yet exercise no authority and rely on no pride?

This is what is called the mysterious virtue.

---


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 10
translated by Stephen Mitchell (1988)

Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child's? [*]
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.

---
[*] EMILIE CONRAD-DA'OUD comments:
"The young child is pure fluidity. It isn't
aware of any separation, so all its movements
are spontaneous and alive and whole and perfect.
If an adult body becomes truly supple, though,
there's a quality to its movement that the child's
doesn't have, a texture of experience, a fourth
dimension of time."


Chinese Character for Understanding, Ming
UNDERSTAND / REALIZE
Know, Clear and Evident (明 = Ming)
Pictograph = (small) Sun, (large) Moon

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 10
translated by J. H. McDonald (1996)

Nurture the darkness of your soul
until you become whole.
Can you do this and not fail?
Can you focus your life-breath until you become
supple as a newborn child?
While you cleanse your inner vision
will you be found without fault?
Can you love people and lead them
without forcing your will on them?
When Heaven gives and takes away
can you be content with the outcome?
When you understand all things
can you step back from your own understanding?

Giving birth and nourishing,
making without possessing,
expecting nothing in return.
To grow, yet not to control:
This is the mysterious virtue.

---

Chinese Character for Love, Ai
LOVE / Cherish, Protect (愛 = Ai)
"In loving the people and governing the state,
Can you practice non-action?"

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 10
translated by Ellen M. Chen (1989)

In bringing your spiritual and bodily souls to embrace the One,
Can you never depart from it?

In concentrating your breath to attain softness,
Can you be like an infant?


(1) concentrating (2) spirit (3) achieving (4) tenderness
(5) can you be (6) like (7) a newborn (8) child (9) now

In cleansing your mirror of the dark,
Can you make it spotless?

In opening and closing heaven's gate,
Can you be the female?

In being enlightened and comprehending all,
Can you do it without knowledge?


(1) realizing (2) clarity (3) [all] four (4) directions
(5) can you be (6) un- (7) knowing (8) now

In loving the people and governing the state,
Can you practice non-action?

To give birth, to nurture,
To give birth yet not to claim possession,
To act (wei) yet not to hold on to,
To grow (chang) yet not to lord over,
This is called the dark virtue.

---

Chinese Character for Obscure, Xuan vspace=
OBSCURE / DARK / MYSTIC
Distant, Abstruse (玄 = Xuan)
Pictograph = Cover what is already Obscure
"This is the Mystic Virtue (Te)."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 10
translated by Frank J. MacHovec (1962)

Can you control your mind so that it never strays from the way of Tao?

Can you control your breathing so that it is soft and gentle like a new-born babe?

Can you purify yourself so that you are perfect?
Can you love all the people, rule them, and remain unknown?
And do so without interference?

Can you play the same role always?

Give birth; provide nourishment; do this without being possessive.
Give help without obligation. Lead without dominating.
This is the Mystic Virtue (Te).

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 10
translated by Tolbert McCarroll (1982)

While carrying your active life on your head
      can you embrace the quiet spirit in your arms,
      and not let go?
While being fully focused on your vital breath
      can you make it soft like that of a newborn babe?
While cleaning your inner mirror
      can you leave it without blemish?
While loving the people and ruling the country
      can you dispense with cleverness?
While opening and closing the gates of heaven
      can you be like a mother bird?
While penetrating the four quarters with your insight
      can you remain simple?

Help the people live!
Nourish the people!


(1) birthing (2) the same
(3) nurturing (4) the same

Help them live yet lay no claim to them.
Benefit them yet seek no gratitude.
Guide them yet do not control them.
This is called the hidden Virtue.


(1) birthing (2) and yet (3) not (4) possessing
(5) doing (6) and yet (7) not (8) depending on
(9) lasting long (10) and yet (11) not (12) taking charge
(13) yes this (14) is called (15) dark (16) virtue

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 10
translated by Walter Gorn Old (1904)

By conserving the natural and spiritual powers
it is possible to escape dissolution.

By restraining the passions and letting gentleness have its sway
it is possible to continue as a child.

By purging the mind of impurities
it is possible to remain untainted.

By governing the people with love
it is possible to remain unknown.

By continual use of the Gates of Heaven
it is possible to preserve them from rust.

By transparency on all sides it is possible to remain unrecognized.

To bring forth and preserve, to produce without possessing,
to act without hope of reward, and to expand without waste,
this is the supreme virtue.

---

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching / Chapter Ten in Seal Script
(Zhuanshu 篆文, with Wang Pi/Wang Bi Version)
Chapter 10 Seal Script & Interlinear English

(1) Carrying (2) spirit (3) and bodily soul (4) embracing (5) the one
(6) are you able (7) to do (8) without (9) separation (10) now?

(1) concentrating (2) your vital force (ch'i) (3) achieving (4) tenderness
(5) can you be (6) like (6) a newborn (7) child (8) now?

(1) Cleansing (2) and clearing (3) your mystic (4) vision
(5) are you able (6) to be without (7) flaws (8) now?

(1) Loving (2) the realm (3) and healing (4) the people
(5) can you do (6) without (7) acting (8) now?

(1) Heaven's (2) gate (3) opening (4) and closing
(5) can you (6) [still] do (7) the female part (8) now?

(1) realizing (2) clarity (3) [all] four (4) directions
(5) can you [still] be (6) un- (7) knowing (8) now

(1) birthing (2) the same
(3) nurturing (4) the same

(1) birthing (2) and yet (3) not (4) possessing
(5) doing (6) and yet (7) not (8) depending on
(9) lasting long (10) and yet (11) not (12) taking charge
(13) yes this (14) is called (15) dark (mystic) (16) virtue

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 10
translated by John Chalmers (1868)

Chinese Character for Opening, Kai
OPENING (開 = Kai)
(Pictograph = door leaves spread evenly)
  "In opening and shutting the heavenly
doors ... no creaking."  

By husbanding the animal and spiritual souls
and embracing unity, it is possible to prevent their separation.
By undivided attention to the passion-nature,
and increasing tenderness, it is possible to be a little child.
By putting away impurity from the hidden eye of the heart,
it is possible to be without spot.
By loving the people, and so governing the nation,
it is possible to be unknown.
In opening and shutting the heavenly doors (mouth, nostrils, etc.)
it is possible to have no creaking.
One may be bright and transparent on all sides, and yet be unknown.

To produce and to nourish, to produce and have not,
to act and expect not, to enlarge and cut not off, —
this is called sublime virtue.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 10
translated by Arthur Waley (1934)

Can you keep the unquiet physical-soul from straying,
Hold fast to the Unity, and never quit it?
Can you, when concentrating your breath,
Make it soft like that of a little child?
Can you wipe and cleanse your vision of the Mystery till all is without blur?
Can you love the people and rule the land,
Yet remain unknown?
Can you in opening and shutting the heavenly gates play always the female part?
Can your mind penetrate every corner of the land,
But you yourself never interfere?
Rear them, then, feed them,
Rear them, but do not lay claim to them.
Control them, but never lean upon them;
Be chief among them, but do not manage them.
This is called the Mysterious Power.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 10
translated by Sanderson Beck (2002)

Can you embrace the One with your soul,
and never depart from the Way?
Can you concentrate your vital force
to achieve the gentleness of a new-born baby?
Can you cleanse and purify your mystic vision
until it is clear?
Can you love the people and govern the state
without interfering?
Can you play the role of the female
in opening and closing the doors of heaven?
Can you understand all and penetrate all
without using the mind?

To give birth and to nourish,
to give birth without taking possession,
to act without obligation,
to lead without dominating —
this is mystical power.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 10
translated by Shrine of Wisdom (1924)

      By blending heart and mind in united singleness of purpose, it is possible to reach the Indivisible.
      By restraining the passions and letting gentleness have sway, it is possible to become as a little child.
      By purging the mind of phantasy, it is possible to attain to clear vision.
      By loving people with inner service, it is possible to remain unknown.
      By going in and out of the Gates of Heaven, it is possible to become as the Mother-bird. [*]
      By pure transparency in all directions it is possible to know and yet remain unknown.
      To quicken and to give birth;
      To give birth and to nourish;
      To nourish but not to own;
      To actuate but not to rule;
      To rule but not to excel;
      This is called Profound Teh.

---
[*] SHRINE OF WISDOM says:
"The Mother-Bird is Fenghuang (鳳凰), the Phoenix Bird of mystical Resurrection."

 

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