THE FEMININE TAO 
CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT
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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
The Woman Crookback (Chuang-Tzu) | Be a Pattern to the World
Women's Prehistoric Jomon Pottery

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Tao Te Ching: Chapter 28
translated by Stephen Mitchell (1988)

Know the male,
yet keep to the female:
receive the world in your arms.
If you receive the world,
the Tao will never leave you
and you will be like a little child.

Know the white,
yet keep to the black:
be a pattern for the world.
If you are a pattern for the world,
the Tao will be strong inside you
and there will be nothing
      you can't do.

Know the personal
yet keep to the impersonal;
accept the world as it is.
If you accept the world,
the Tao will be luminous inside you
and you will return to your primal self.

The world is formed from the void,
like utensils from a block of wood.
The Master knows the utensils
yet keeps to the block:
thus she can use all things.*

---
[*] ROBIN WANG [Philosopher] comments:
"Literally, wuji is 'without limit' ['without cutting']
or defining boundaries, an inchoate state that in the world
may be likened to a ravine carved out by water flowing
wherever the land is at its lowest point, or to unhewn
wood that is unmarked but by human hands still full
of potential."

Chinese Character for Riverbed, Xi
RIVERBED / RIVER VALLEY /
BROOK (谿 = Xi)
Pictograph = Riverbed + Valley
"Be a riverbed to the world."


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 28
translated by Tolbert McCarroll (1982)

Develop the strength of a man,
      but live as gently as a woman.
Become a brook and receive all things under heaven.
If you are such a brook
      then Virtue will constantly flow into you
      and you will become a simple child again.

Know the pure
      but live the life of the sullied.
Become a fountain to all things under heaven.
If you bccome such a fountain
      then you will have abundant Virtue
      and you will return to the state of
      the Uncarved Block.

When the Uncarved Block is cut up into pieces,
      it is turned into specialized instruments.
But the True Person makes use of it whole
      and becomes the master of the instruments.

Hence, it is said, "The finest carver cuts little."

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 28
translated by Stephany Lane Yarbrough (2010)

Knowing the masculine
While keeping to the feminine
Channels virtue
And returns to Innocence.

Knowing the white
While keeping to the black
Becomes a model for the world
And returns to the Absolute and Freedom.

Knowing honor
While keeping in humility
Receives the world
And returns to wholeness.

Primal energy in its simplicity is diversified
And thus becomes useful.
The Wise know the usefulness of tools
While keeping to the simplicity of Being.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 28
trans. by R. T. Ames & D. L. Hall (2003)

Know the male
Yet safeguard the female [*]
And be a river gorge to the world.
As a river gorge to the world,
You will not lose your real potency (de),
And not losing your real potency,
You return to the state of a newborn babe.

Know the clean
Yet safeguard the spoiled
And be a valley to the world.
As a valley to the world
Your real potency will be ample,
And with ample potency,
You return to the state of unworked wood.

Know the white
Yet safeguard the black
And be a model for the world,
Your real potency will not be wanting,
And with your potency not wanting,
You return to the state of the limitless.

When unworked wood is split,
It is made into utensils.
When the sages are employed,
They are made into head officials.

There is no cutting, however, in the
very best tailoring.      

---
[*] TS'AO TAO CH'UNG [Taoist Nun]:
"The female is the mother.
All creatures revere their mother.
The sage recognizes the male
but upholds the female.      
Hence all creatures turn to the sage."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 28
translated by Chao-Hsiu Chen (2004)

Recognize the male - the yang,
      guard the female - the yin.
      Be a valley under Heaven.
Be a valley under Heaven and the constant virtue
      will not fade away.
One will become like a little child again.

Recognize the white - the yang,
guard the black - the yin.
Be a model under Heaven.
Be a model under Heaven and the constant virtue
      will not fade away.
One will return to the infinite.

Recognize the glory, guard the disgrace.
Be a valley under Heaven.
Be the valley under Heaven
and return again to the uncarved block.

When the block is carved up
it is transformed into useful wares.
The sage will use them with equal heart.
Therefore the great law will not crumble.

---
TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) know (2) it (3) the masculine
(4) keep (5) it (6) the feminine
(7) act (8) in heaven (9) below
(10) as a river's valley

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) act (2) in heaven (3) below (4) as a river valley
(5) acting (6) in heaven (7) below (8) as a river's valley
(8) the constant (9) Virtue (Te 德) (10) is consequently (11) sufficient
(12) to return (13) again (14) to (15) uncarved wood [original nature]
Chinese Character for Uncarved Block, Pu
UNCARVED BLOCK / PLAIN WOOD
(樸 = Pu)
Pictograph = Wood with Gather Firewood
with Hands (phonetic)
"When your constancy in virtue (te) is complete
you return to the state of the 'uncarved block.'"

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 28
translated by Charles Muller (1997)

Know the Masculine, cleave to the Feminine
Be the valley for everyone.
Being the valley for everyone
You are always in virtue without lapse
And you return to infancy.

Know the White, cleave to the Black
Be a model for everyone.
Being the model for everyone
You are always in virtue and free from error
You return to limitlessness.
Know Glory but cleave to Humiliation
Be the valley for everyone.
When your constancy in virtue (te) is complete
You return to the state of the "uncarved block." [*]

The block is cut into implements.
The sage uses them to fulfill roles.

Therefore the great tailor does not cut.

---
[*] KARI HOHNE [translator] comments:
"Our need for conformity can lead us away from our center,
although experience always returns us to our authentic nature.
The Tao Te Ching is therefore translated to mean
a book that cultivates te when one follows Tao.

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 28
translated by J. H. McDonald (1996)

Know the masculine,
but keep to the feminine:
and become a watershed to the world.
If you embrace the world,
the Tao will never leave you
and you become as a little child.

Know the white,
yet keep to the black:
be a model for the world.
If you are a model for the world,
the Tao inside you will strengthen
and you will return whole to your
eternal beginning.      

Know the honorable,
but do not shun the disgraced:
embracing the world as it is.
If you embrace the world with compassion,
then your virtue will return you to
the Uncarved Block.     

The block of wood is carved into utensils
by carving void into the wood.
The Master uses the utensils, yet prefers
to keep to the block     
because of its limitless possibilities.
Great works do not involve discarding
substance.     

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 28
translated by Ursula K. Le Guin (1998)

Knowing man
and staying woman,
be the riverbed of the world.
Being the world's riverbed
of eternal unfailing power*
is to go back again to be newborn.

Knowing light
and staying dark,
be a pattern to the world.
Being the world's pattern
of eternal unerring power
is to go back again to boundlessness.

Knowing glory
and staying modest,
be the valley of the world.
Being the world's valley
of eternal inexhaustible power
is to go back again to the natural.

Natural wood is cut up
and made into useful things.
Wise souls are used
to make into leaders.

Just so, a great carving
is done without cutting.

---
[*] ZEN MASTER DOGEN (13th c.)
in the HOTSU BODAI SHIN says:
"When the ocean dries up, the bottom remains,
though a person dies, the [bodhi] mind remains."

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching / Chapter Twenty-Eight in Seal Script
(Zhuanshu 篆文, with Wang Pi / Wang Bi Version)

Chapter 28 Seal Script & Interlinear English
TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) know (2) it (3) the masculine
(4) keep (5) it (6) the feminine
(7) act (8) in heaven (9) below (10) as a river's valley

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) acting (2) in heaven (3) below (4) as a valley stream
(5) commonly (6) Te / Virtue (7) never (8) departs
(9) returning (10) home again (11) to [being] (12) a newborn (14) infant

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) know (2) what (3) shines forth
(4) guard (5) what is (6) left out
TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) act (2) in heaven (3) below (4) as a pattern
(5) [if you] act (6) in heaven (7) below (8) as a pattern,
(9) commonly (10) Te / virtue (11) will not (12) be wanting
(13) so you return (14) home again (15) to (16) im- (17) mortality
(18) knowing (19) what (20) glory is
(21) but guarding (22) what is (23) humble

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) act (2) in heaven (3) below (4) as a river valley
(5) acting (6) in heaven (7) below (8) as a river's valley
(8) the constant (9) Virtue (Te 德) (10) is consequently (11) sufficient
(12) to return (13) again (14) to (15) uncarved wood [original nature]

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT LINES
(1) uncarved wood (2) carved (3) consequently (4) creates (5) vessels
(6) sagely (7) people (8) use (9) the same (10) so (11) to create (12) officials (13) of senior rank
(14) just so (15) great (16) fashioning (17) [becomes] not (18) carving
Tao Te Ching: Chapter 28
translated by Timothy Freke (1999)

To be filled with the masculine power of Yang,
follow the feminine nature of Yin.
Be empty like a valley,
where water gathers to form a stream.
Gather Natural Goodness,
until you are like a little child again.

To be filled with light,
acknowledge what is dark.
Be an example to the world.
Allow the stream of Natural Goodness
to carry you back to the Infinite.

To be filled with honor,
be humble about your shortcomings.
Be empty as a valley.
Follow the flow of Natural Goodness,
to the Sea of Primal Simplicity.

The Wise are aware of the Whole,
while interacting with the parts.
This is how they can help without harming.

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