Daodejing 5


#5*

Heaven and earth
have no mercy,
treating the 10,000 things
as straw dogs;
the Sage has no mercy,
treating people as straw dogs[1] 

The space between
Heaven and earth
Just like a bellows!
Empty but never
Exhausted; work it
And some more comes out.

More words speed up failure,
No comparison with keeping still[2]

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


[1] A kind of offering used by the ancient Chinese for the purpose of a sacrifice ceremony. Usually these were discarded and trampled upon after the ceremony.

[2] 守中: Shǒu zhōng a term meaning “keeping the middle”, so stillness captures both making no sound and having no motion.

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