Tao Te Ching #16: “Attain the climax of emptiness”

Attain the climax of emptiness,
preserve the utmost quiet:
as myriad things act in concert,
I thereby observe the return.
Things flourish,
then each returns to its root.
Returning to the root is called stillness:
stillness is called return to Life,
return to Life is called the constant;
knowing the constant is called enlightenment.
Acts at random, in ignorance of the constant, bode ill.
Knowing the constant gives perspective;
this perspective is impartial.
Impartiality is highest nobility;
the highest nobility is divine,
and the divine is the Way.
This Way is everlasting,
not endangered by physical death.

– Thomas Cleary


Keeping emptiness as their limit
and stillness as their center
ten thousand things rise
we watch them return
creatures without number
return to their roots
returning to their roots they are still
being still they revive
reviving they endure
knowing how to endure is wisdom
not knowing is to suffer in vain
knowing how to endure is to yield
to yield is to be impartial
to be impartial is to be the ruler
the ruler is Heaven
Heaven is the Way
and the Way is long life
a life without trouble

– Red Pine


By reaching utmost receptivity
And keeping steadfast stability,
I, as myriads come forth in profusion,
Contemplate their circulation.
All multiply in fruitful growth,
Then bend homeward to their root.
This going home call equilibrium;
Equilibrium, returning life;
Returning life, call natural order;
To know this order, inner vision.
Not to know it is delusion.
Delusion will produce misfortune.
Knowing order means acceptance;
Acceptance, magnanimity;
Magnanimity, totality;
Totality, accord with heaven;
Accord with heaven, with the Way;
With the Way, long-lasting life;
The self-submerged will not miscarry.

– Moss Roberts