Monday, February 4, 2013

Inspired by Tao Te Ching - chapter 11



My translation of Chapter 11 of Tao Te Ching:

Spreading thirty spokes around a circle to make a hollow center
though nothing there
makes a useful cart.
Taking clay away from the center to make a bowl
though nothing there
makes a useful bowl.
Chiseling away the stones to make a window
though nothing there
makes a useful dwelling place.
Making use of material things, and
Create usefulness out of nothingness

Paul's inspiration: This is one of the most cited chapters in Tao Te Ching. And the saying "Create usefulness out of nothingness" has been immortalized. Good food for meditating and philosophizing for students of Tao.

Though I find it more interesting to note that Laozi was not against material things. If there are no spokes, there will be no wheel; likewise without clay, a bowl cannot be built; and if there is no stone structure, there can't be a house nor a window. Physical material and emptiness are both elements for the manifestation of Tao. Yang needs yin and yin needs yang, to complete the classic tai-chi circle of two fish.

We have an idea and we deliver it by interpreting, shaping or cutting away material. By focusing on shaping and perfecting an idea (of Emptiness) and cutting away unwanted material needs, we deliver the ultimate good. Isn't it creativity and culture all about?

The opposite is like the uncultured newly rich armed with French luxurious brands to the extreme - we can recognize them from a mile apart, with or without melamine. A reality of everyday life in Hong Kong, for good and for bad. Tao again!

Final words: politics is material in nature, the Tao of it is not NOT to talk about it, but rather how to dig out the wisdom or the Emptiness in it. Bravo politics and bravo Tao!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...