Tao Te Ching #5: “Heaven and earth are not humane”

Heaven and earth are not humane;
they regard all beings as straw dogs.
Sages are not humane;
they see all people as straw dogs.
The space between have and earth
is like bellows and pipes,
empty yet inexhaustible,
producing more with movement.
The talkative reach their wits’ end
again and again;
that is not as good as keeping centered.

– Thomas Cleary

 

Heaven and Earth are heartless
treating creatures like straw dogs
sages are heartless too
they treat people like straw dogs
between Heave and Earth
how like a bellows
empty but inexhaustible
each stroke produces more
talking only wastes it
better to protect what’s inside

– Red Pine

 

Heaven and earth refuse kind-kindness:
Treating all things as dogs of straw.
Wise rulers too refuse kin-kindness:
Taking gentlefolk as dogs of straw.

The space that heaven and earth frame
Works like a kiln-bellows and airpipes,
Which though emptying is not exhausted,
And activated, pours more forth.
A ruler’s swiftly spent who speaks too much;
Better for him to guard his inner state.

– Moss Roberts

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Categories: Blog, Religion/Myth, Tao Te Ching

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