Daodejing 7


#7*

Heaven is eternal;
earth is everlasting.
The reason why heaven
and earth can be eternal
and everlasting?

Because they do not
exist for themselves,
[they] thus can live long.

Therefore, the Sage makes
himself go behind yet
he comes before;
considers himself
outside yet he is
sheltered[1]

Is it not because
he is so selfless?
Thus, achieving
his personal [target]. [2]

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


[1] 存, Cún: this word means both to exist and to deposit. We have chosen shelter as signifying how being here (existence) is a way of being thrown or deposited in the world.

[2] This paragraph seems contradictory. Being selfless, the Sage nonetheless arrives or succeeds at his “personal” targets. This is not his accomplishment but the result of existing for others. 

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