Daodejing 4


Dao is empty
yet when used,
it seems never endless.

Bottomless, yet it
seems like the progenitor
of 10,000 things.

[Blunt the sharpness,
Remove the distractions,
Soften the light,
Blend with the dust.] [1]

Formless, yet it seems
like existence.

I do not know
Whose child it is,
It seems like it
Exists before the
[Great] Ancestor.[2]

*Translation by LU Wenlong & Keith Wayne Brown, ©2013.

[1] Possibily an interpolation from poem 56

[2] Probably the Yellow Emperor who in myth separates Heaven from Earth. We very much want to avoid saying that this is “god” because Laozi is careful to avoid theistic assertions. In fact, this poem implies Dao precedes all entities and that would include any deity. 


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