THE FEMININE TAO 
CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO
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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 52
translated by Red Pine (1996)

The world has a maiden
she becomes the world's mother

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) heaven (2) below (3) has (4) an origin
(5) thus (6) serving as (7) in heaven
(8) below (9) the mother

who knows the mother
understands the child
who understands the child
keeps the mother safe
and lives without trouble
who blocks the openings
who closes the gate
lives without toil
who unblocks the opening
who meddles in affairs
lives without hope
who sees the small has vision
who protects the weak has strength
who uses his light
who trusts his vision
lives beyond death
this is the Hidden Immortal. [*]

---
[*] RED PINE comments:
"While translating this verse, I have often recalled
Confucius' words: 'When I was young, historians
still left blanks.'"


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 52
translated by John Chalmers (1868)

That which was the beginning of the world
may be regarded as the Mother of the world.
Having once known the Mother,
you may next know the child.
And if, knowing the child,
you still keep the Mother,
though your body perish,
you will be in no danger.

Shut the lips
and close the portals (of eyes and ears),
and as long as you live
you will have no trouble;
but open your lips and meddle with things,
and as long as you live
you will not get out of trouble.

To see the small beginnings of things
is called clearness.
To keep tenderness, I pronounce strength.
Use the light to (guide you) home [*]
to its own brightness,
and do not give yourself up to calamity.
This I call practicing the eternal (Tao).

---
[*] SAPPHO (tr. by Kure Shigeichi) says:
The evening star
brings home
to their beginning
all that shining morning scattered
in the eight directions.
It brings back the sheep,
brings back the goat,
brings back the child to her mother's hand.

Chinese Character for Keep, Shou
KEEP = GUARD & ABIDE BY =
PREFER / REVERENCE (守 = Shou)
Pictograph =
House of Laws/Dictates (of the heart)
"Keep the Mother, though your body perish,
you will come to no harm"

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 52
translated by Walter Gorn Old (1904)

That from which the universe sprang may be looked upon as its Mother.

By knowing the Mother you have access to the child.

And if, knowing the child, you prefer the Mother,
though your body perish, yet you will come to no harm.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) once (2) you find (3) the (4) mother
(5) thus (6) you know (7) the (8) child
(9) once (10) you know (11) the (12) child
(9) you return (10) to keep (11) the (12) mother
(13) dissolving (14) self (15) without (16) perishing

Keep your mouth shut, and close up the doors of sight and sound,
and as long as you live you will have no vexation.

But open your mouth, or become inquisitive,
and you will be in trouble all your life long.

To perceive things in the germ is intelligence.

To remain gentle is to be invincible.

Follow the light that guides you homeward,
and do not get lost in the darkness.

This I call using the eternal.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 52
translated by Stephen Mitchell (1988)

In the beginning was the Tao.
All things issue from it;
all things return to it.

To find the origin,
trace back the manifestations.
When you recognize the children
and find the mother,
you will be free of sorrow.

If you close your mind in judgements
and traffic with desires,
your heart will be troubled.
If you keep your mind from judging
and aren't led by the senses,
your heart will find peace.

Seeing into darkness is clarity.
Knowing how to yield is strength. [*]
Use your own light
and return to the source of light.
This is called practicing eternity.

---
[*] WITTER BYNNER (translator, 1944) says:
"Discover that nothing is too small for clear
vision, too insignificant for tender strength."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 52
translated by Joseph Hsu (2008)

The world has a beginning,
which is the mother of all things.
Knowing their mother,
you will know her children. [*]
Knowing her children
and holding on to their mother,
you will incur no danger all your life.

Lock the opening (mouth)
shut the doors (eyes and ears)
and you will not be troubled all your life.

Unlock the opening (mouth),
meddle in its affairs,
and you will be hopeless all your life.

To see the small is called "vision."
To stay supple is called "strength."
To use one's light
and return to one's insight,
one will not bring peril to one's life –
this is called "following the eternal."

---
[*] JOSEPH HSU comments:
"Child stands for all things in the universe."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 52
translated by Kari Hohne (2009)

The world has a beginning.
This beginning is like the mother of all things.
When you know the one as the mother
you will come to know her children,
in the myriad of things.
Knowing her children,
go back to holding fast to the mother,
and to the end of your days,
you will live without danger.

Close the mouth and eyes;
shut the doors of desire.
And all that you need will never run dry.

Open the mouth and eyes;
meddle with your desires.
And all that you take will not fulfill you.

Seeing what is small is called enlightenment.
Being submissive, you find strength.
Utilize the light
but give up discernment.
and thereby avoid calamity.

This is called following the constant.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 52
translated by Eduard Erkes (1945/1949)
(HO-SHANG-KUNG ver.)

The world has a beginning.
It is thereby the world's mother.
If one knows one's mother, she in turn knows her child.
If she knows her child, it in turn keeps to its mother.
To lose the body is not dangerous.

By closing one's openings,
by barring one's gate,
one finishes the body without trouble.

By opening one's openings,
by completing one's doings,
one finishes the body without rescue.

Who beholds smallness is called enlightened.
Who retains weakness is called strong.

Who uses his [/their] splendour,
who returns to his / [/their] light
will not leave the body to calamity.

This is called practicing the eternal.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 52
translated by Ellen M. Chen (1989)

The world has an origin
Which is the world's mother.
Having reached the mother,
(We) know her child.
Having known the child,
Return and abide by its mother.
(In this way) one loses the body without
becoming exhausted.      

Stop the apertures,
Close the doors,
(In this way) one's whole life is without toil.
Open the apertures,
Going about the affairs,
(In this way) one's whole life
cannot be saved.      

Chinese Character for Small, Xiao
SMALL / INSIGNIFICANT (小 = Xiao)
Pictograph = Line dividing

To see the small is called illumination.
To abide by the soft is called strength.
Use the bright light,
But return to the dim light,
Do not expose your life to perils,
Such is to follow the everlasting.

---
ELLEN M. CHEN comments:
"The notion of dwelling is a major theme in the Tao Te Ching. Man as a dweller of the earth abides by the earth as a child abides by its mother, and this is how a mortal participates in the immortal."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 52
translated by J. H. McDonald (1996)

The world had a beginning
which we call the Great Mother.
Once we have found the Mother,
we begin to know what Her children should be.

When we know we are the Mother's child,
we begin to guard the qualities of the Mother in us.
She will protect us from all danger
even if we lose our life.

Keep your mouth closed
and embrace a simple life, [*]
and you will live care-free until the end of your days.
If you try to talk your way into a better life
there will be no end to your trouble.

To understand the small is called clarity.
Knowing how to yield is called strength.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) to see (2) the (3) insignificant
(4) is called (5) clarity
(6) to guard (7) softness (8) is called (9) strength

To use your inner light for understanding
regardless of the danger
is called depending on the Constant.

---
PRINCESS SHIKISHI (12th c. Poet) says:
"Who gets used to living here!
A hut with a brushwood fence
Buried in the falling snow."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 52
translated by Isabella Mears (1922)

While in the world gain possession of the Life Spring
in order that you may become a World-Mother.

When you have attained to Motherhood you will know your children.
When you know your children you will retain your Motherhood.
Then, though the body may disappear, You will not be hurt.

Close the door of the mouth,
Shut the doors of the senses,
Throughout life your body will not be fatigued.

Open the mouth,
Increase your business affairs,
Throughout life your body will not be safe.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) close (2) the (3) exchanges
(4) shut (5) the (6) gates
(7) fulfill (8) oneself (8) without (9) force of toil
(10) employ (11) the (12) exchanges
(13) ford (14) the (15) affairs of business
(16) fulfilling (17) oneself (18) is never (19) salvaged

To perceive the small is called clear vision.
To guard the weak is called strength.

Follow the Light, you will reflect its radiance.
Neglect the Inner Life, your body will meet with calamity.

This is called the eternal heritage.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 52
translated by Thomas Cleary (1998)

The world has a beginning that is the mother of the world.
Once you have found the mother, thereby you know the child.
Once you know the child, you return to keep the mother,
not perishing though the body may die.

Close your eyes, shut your doors, and you do not toil all your life.
Open your eyes, carry out your affair, and you're not saved all your life.

Seeing the small is called clarity; keeping flexible is called strength.
Using the shining radiance, you return again to the light,
not leaving anything to harm yourself.
This is called entering the eternal.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) make use of (2) what is (3) bright
(4) to return (5) home again (6) to what is (7) clarity
(8) without (9) losing (10) ourselves (11) in calamity
(12) this (13) is called (14) practicing/getting accustomed to (15) the constant/eternal

---

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching / Chapter Fifty-Two in Seal Script
(Zhuanshu 篆文, with Wang Pi / Wang Bi Version)
Chapter 52 Seal Script & Interlinear English

(1) heaven (2) below (3) has (4) an origin
(5) thus (6) serving as (7) in heaven (8) below (9) the mother

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) once (2) you find (3) the (4) mother
(5) thus (6) you know (7) the (8) child
(9) once (10) you know (11) the (12) child
(9) you return (10) to keep (11) the (12) mother
(13) dissolving (14) self (15) without (16) perishing
TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) close (2) the (3) exchanges
(4) shut (5) the (6) gates
(7) fulfill (8) oneself (8) without (9) force of toil
(10) employ (11) the (12) exchanges
(13) ford (14) the (15) affairs of business
(16) fulfilling (17) oneself (18) is never (19) salvaged
TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) to see (2) the (3) insignificant (4) is called (5) clarity
(6) to guard (7) softness (8) is called (9) strength

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) make use of (2) what is (3) bright
(4) to return (5) home again (6) to what is (7) clarity
(8) without (9) losing (10) ourselves (11) in calamity
(12) this (13) is called (14) practicing (15) the constant/eternal

 
Tao Te Ching: Chapter 52
translated by C. Spurgeon Medhurst (1905)

Everything has its origin in the mother of all under heaven.

To know the mother the child must be perceived; the child being born
the qualities of the mother must be maintained, to the end of life
there will be no peril.

Close the doors of the senses, and the whole of life will be without care;
open them, attend to the affairs of life and to the end deliverance
will be impossible.

Perceive the germ, that is enlightenment.

Maintain weakness, that is stability.

Employ the light; revert to this enlightenment; no calamity will then be
bequeathed to the body.

This is indeed to practice the unalterable.

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