Tao Te Ching #20: “Detach from learning and you have no worries”

Detach from learning and you have no worries.
How far apart are yes and yeah?
How far apart are good and bad?
The things people fear cannot but be feared.
Wild indeed the uncentered!
Most people celebrate
as if they were barbequing a slaughtered cow,
or taking in the springtime vistas;
I alone am aloof,
showing no sign,
like an infant that doesn’t yet smile,
riding buoyantly
as if with nowhere to go.
Most people have too much;
I alone seem to be missing something.
Mine is indeed the mind of an ignoramus
in its unadulterated simplicity.
Ordinary people try to shine;
I alone seem to be dark.
Ordinary people try to be on the alert;
I alone am unobtrusive;
calm as the ocean depths,
buoyant as if anchored nowhere.
Most people have ways and means;
I alone am unsophisticated and simple.
I alone am different from people
in that I value seeking food from the mother.

– Thomas Cleary


Get rid of learning and problems will vanish
yes and no
aren’t so far apart
lovely and ugly
aren’t so unalike
what others fear
we can’t help fear too
before the moon begins to wane
everyone is overjoyed
as if they were at the Great Sacrifice
or climbing a tower in spring
I sit here and make no sign
like an infant that doesn’t smile
lost with no one to turn to
while others enjoy more
I alone seem deficient
with a mind like that of a fool
I’m so simple
others look bright
I alone seem dim
others are certain
I alone am confused
ebbing like the ocean
waxing without cease
everyone has a goal
I alone am dumb and backward
for I alone choose to differ
preferring still my mother’s tit

– Red Pine


How distant from condemn consent?
Disgust, delight, how different?
He whom others fear,
He too has to fear.
All is beyond reach and never-ending.
High in spirits seems the crowd,
Like celebrants at the sacrifice,
Or viewers on the spring-rite stand.
I alone, adrift with no sign of hope,
Deserted and without appeal,
Am simple as a newborn before it smiles,
Dejected like someone without a home.
The crowd seems sunny and spirited;
I am sullen and low,
And my heart without guile.
The crowd, so busy and eager;
I, drawn into myself;
Impassive, even as the spacious sea; unfettered, like a restless wind.
The crowd has more than it needs;
I am left untended.
The crowd has its ways and its means;
I am set in my ways and despised.
Alone and apart from all others,
I honor the life-giving mother.

– Moss Roberts