THE FEMININE TAO 
CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE
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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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Tao Te Ching: Chapter 29
translated by Stephen Mitchell (1988)

Do you want to improve the world?
I don't think it can be done. [*]

The world is sacred. [**]
It can't be improved.
If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it.

There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.

The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the center of the circle.

---
[*] ELLEN M. CHEN says:
"Not only is the natural world a spirit vessel with a sacred life rhythm coming from Tao, every creature, as the preceding chapter points out, is also a vessel of Tao not to be tampered with by unholy acts of human desperation. Our role is to conserve the earth, not to dominate it or mutilate it."
---
[*] EMILY DICKINSON says:
"Who ponders this tremendous scene —
this whole Experiment of Green —
as if it were his own!"
---
[**] HO-SHANG-KUNG
[an ancient commentator] says:
"Spiritual things like peace and rest.
They cannot be governed by activity."

Chinese Character for Desire, Yu
DESIRE / LONGING
(欲 = Yu)
Pictograph = Gaping + Needs
"One who desires to take the world
and act upon it, I see that it
cannot be done."


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 29
translated by Ellen M. Chen (1989)

One who desires to take the world
        and act upon it,
I see that it cannot be done.

The world is a spirit vessel
Which cannot be acted upon. [*]
One who acts on it fails.
One who holds onto it loses.

Therefore things either move forward
        or follow behind;
They blow hot or blow cold;
They are strong or weak;
They get on or they get off.

Therefore the sage gets rid of over-doing,
Gets rid of extravagances,
Gets rid of excesses.

---

Chinese Character for Take Over, Qu
TAKE OVER / CONTROL (取= Qu)
Pictograph = Grab Ear with the Hand

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 29
translated by Holly Roberts (2005)

Though one may desire to control and change the world,
One cannot do so.
The world is a sacred vessel.
One seeking to change it will succumb to it.
One seeking to grasp it will lose it.

So it is that
sometimes one leads,
and sometimes one follows.
Sometimes [if the air is cool] one exhales warm,
and sometimes [if the air is warm] one exhales cool.
Sometimes one is strong,
and sometimes one is weak.
Sometimes one defeats,
and sometimes one is defeated.
Knowing this,
the sage avoids extremes, extravagances and excesses.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 29
trans. by Roger T. Ames and David L. Hall (2003)

If someone wants to rule the world, and goes about trying to do so,
I foresee that they will simply not succeed.
The world is a sacred vessel,
and it is not something that can be ruled.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) if (2) desiring (3) to take over (4) heaven (5) below (6) and (7) acting on (8) the same
(9) we (10) see (11) it is (12) not (13) obtained (14) so
(15) heaven (16) below (17) a spirit (18) vessel [is]
(19) [and] not (20) able to be (21) acted upon (22) either

Those who would rule it ruin it;
Those who would control it lose it.
In the way of things:
      Some move ahead while others follow behind;
      Some breathe to warm themselves while others breathe to cool themselves down;
      Some are strong while others are disadvantaged;
      Some accumulate while others collapse.
It is for this reason that the sages eschew the excessive, the superlative, and the extravagant.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 29
translated by Sanderson Beck (2002)

Those who take over the world and act upon it,
I notice, do not succeed.
The world is a sacred vessel, not to be
      tampered with.
Those who tamper with it, spoil it.
Those who seize it, lose it.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) act (2) on things (3) defeated by (4) same
(5) hold on (6) to things (7) lose (8) the same

Some lead, and some follow.
Some blow hot, and some blow cold.
Some are strong, and some are weak.
Some are up, and some are down.
Therefore the wise avoid excess, extravagance,
      and pride.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 29
translation by Tolbert McCarroll (1982)

Whoever wishes to take over the world [*]
will not succeed.
The world is a sacred vessel
and nothing should be done to it.
Whoever tries to tamper with it
will mar it.
Whoever tries to grab it
will lose it.

Hence, there is a time to go ahead
and a time to stay behind.
There is a time to breathe easy
and a time to breathe hard.
There is a time to be vigorous
and a time to be gentle.
There is a tine to gather
and a time to release.

Therefore, the True Person avoids extremes,
self-indulgence, and extravagance.

---
[*] SUNG CH'ANG HSING [Taoist master] comments:
"We can't control something as insignificant as a mustard seed. How can we control something as big as the world?"

Chinese Character for Extravagance, She
EXTRAVAGANCE (奢 = She)
Pictograph = Big + Things/Persons, etc.
"The sage avoids extremes, avoids
extravagance, avoids excess."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 29
translated by Red Pine (1996)

Trying to govern the world with force
I see this not succeeding
the world is a spiritual thing
it can't be forced
to force it is to harm it
to control it is to lose it
sometimes things lead
sometimes they follow
sometimes blow hot
sometimes blow cold
sometimes expand
sometimes collapse
therefore the sage avoids extremes
avoids extravagance
avoids excess

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 29
translated by Ha Poong Kim (2002)

Do you wish to conquer all under Heaven
      and rule it?
I see you will never succeed.
All under Heaven is a sacred vessel;
No one can rule it by action.
Whoever rules it by action destroys it;
Whoever seizes it loses it. [*]
Therefore, among the creatures,
Some go, some follow;
Some breathe lightly, some blow hard.
Some are strong, some are weak.
Some break, some fall.
Therefore the sage
Shuns extremes,
Shuns extravagance,
Shuns vanity.

---
SEI SHONAGON (Japanese Court Lady) writes:
[*] "When the road runs between the hedges, a branch will sometimes thrust its way into the carriage. One snatches at it quickly, hoping to break it off; alas, it always slips out of one’s hand. Sometimes one’s carriage will pass over a branch of sagebrush, which then gets caught in the wheel, and is lifted up at each turn, letting the passengers breathe its delicious scent."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 29
translated by Arthur Waley (1934)

Those that would gain what is under heaven by tampering with it —

I have seen that they do not succeed.

For that which is under heaven is like a holy vessel, dangerous to tamper with.

Those that tamper with it, harm it.

Those that grab at it, lose it. [*]

For among the creatures of the world some go in front, some follow;

Some blow hot when others would be blowing cold.

Some are feeling vigorous just when others are worn out.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) surely (2) things (3) sometimes (4) walk [ahead] (5) and other times (6) follow
(7) at times (8) blow hard (9) other times (10) blow soft
(11) at times (12) are strong (13) at other times (14) delicate
(15) at times (16) defeat (17) at other times (18) are overthrown

Therefore the Sage "discards the absolute, the all-inclusive, the extreme."

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) yes, this (2) being so (3) sagely (4) people (5) let go (6) much
(7) let go (8) extravagance
(9) let go (10) affluence

---
[*] URSULA K. LE GUIN says:
"To lose the sense of the sacredness of the world
is a mortal loss. To injure our world by excesses
of greed and ingenuity is to endanger our
own sacredness."

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching / Chapter Twenty-NIne in Seal Script
(Zhuanshu 篆文, with Wang Pi / Wang Bi Version)
Chapter 29 Seal Script & Interlinear English

(1) if (2) desiring (3) to take over (4) heaven (5) below (6) and (7) acting on (8) the same
(9) we (10) see (11) it is (12) not (13) obtained (14) so
(15) heaven (16) below (17) a spirit (18) vessel [is]
(19) [and] not (20) able to be (21) acted upon (22) either

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) act (2) on things (3) [thereby] defeated by (4) same
(5) hold on (6) to things (7) [thereby] lose (8) the same

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) surely (2) things (3) sometimes (4) walk [ahead] (5) and other times (6) follow
(7) at times (8) blow hard (9) other times (10) blow soft
(11) at times (12) are strong (13) at other times (14) delicate
(15) at times (16) defeat (17) at other times (18) are overthrown

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) yes, this (2) being so (3) sagely (4) people (5) let go (6) much
(7) let go (8) extravagance
(9) let go (10) affluence

 
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