This is a 4 up of different interpretations of Lao Tzu, Chapter 9.
This is the way we will do the study group for Taoism.
With 4 side by side interpretations, it reminds the reader that the original was written in Chinese. Also that each person reading brings part of themself to any text they study.
It frees the reader to accept their own wisdom as they do the offerings of others both in the study group and the writers presented.
Please read and discuss below.
How does this writing apply to your life?
What does it mean in the context of living?
How do the different interpretations change it?
Chapter 9 Lao Tzu
It is better to desist
Than to hold upright and fill it to the brim.
Pounded out into a point
Its sharpness cannot be long maintained
When treasure fills the hall
No one is able to keep it safe.
Those who are arrogant because of station and wealth
Bring calamity upon themselves.
To retire when the deed is done
Is the way (dao) than tian works.
Hall & Ames
Though you have and hold you do not possess
To maintain control you must let things go
If your house is filled with treasures
Your sleep is always uneasy
You do not know when strangers will approach
Take all you can and dill your coffers with gold
Throwing it back to the crowd be sure to increase your lot
When you have attained fortune and fame
Retire from the world
Enjoy your new ease and grace
This is the way of the wise
Brim-fill the bowl,
It’ll spill over.
Keep sharpening the blade,
You’ll soon blunt it.
Nobody can protect
A house full of gold and jade.
Wealth, status, pride,
Are their own ruin.
To do good, work well, and lie low
Is the way of the blessing.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Rather than fill it to the brim by keeping it upright
Better to have stopped in time
Hammer it to a point
And the sharpness cannot be preserved forever;
There may be gold and jade to fill a hall
But there is none who can keep them.
To be overbearing when won has wealth and position
Is to bring calamity upon oneself.
To retire when the task is accomplished
Is the way of heaven.