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Tao Te Ching #35: “the Tao speaks plain words that make no sense … yet we use it without end”

When holding the Great Image,
the world goes on and on without harm,
peaceful, even tranquil.
Where there is music and dining,
passing travelers stop;
but the issue of the Way
is so plain as to be flavorless.
When you look at it, it is invisible;
when you listen to it, it is inaudible;
when you use it, it cannot be exhausted.

– Thomas Cleary


Hold up the Great Image
and the world will come
and be beyond harm
safe and serene and at peace
fine food and song
don’t detain guests long
thus the Tao speaks
plain words that make no sense
we look but don’t see it
we listen but don’t hear it
yet we use it without end

– Red Pine


Maintain all semblance of the Way supreme
And all the world will follow your royal lead
And do so without harm to each other,
Thus sharing in peace and calm and plenty.

The sounds of music and the banquet scene
May tempt the passing traveler to pause;
The truths we utter here are bland and plain:
Look, but there is nothing for the eye;
Listen, there is nothing for the ear;
But use them and they never fail to serve.

– Moss Roberts