Tao Te Ching #52: “Once you’ve found the mother, thereby you know the child”

The world has a beginning
that is the mother of the world.
Once you’ve found the mother,
thereby you know the child.
Once you know the child,
you return to keep the mother,
not perishing though the body die.
Close your eyes, shut your doors,
and you do not toil all your life.
Open your eyes, carry out your affairs,
and you are not saved all your life.
Seeing the small is called clarity;
keeping flexible is called strength.
Using the shining radiance,
you return again to the light,
not leaving anything to harm yourself.
This is called entering the eternal.

– Thomas Cleary


There’s a maiden in the world
who becomes the world’s mother
those who find the mother
thereby know the child
those who know the child
keep the mother safe
and live without trouble
those who block the opening
who close the gate
live without toil
those who unblock the opening
who meddle in affairs
live without hope
those who see the small have vision
those who protect the weak have strength
those who use their light
and trust their vision
live beyond death
this is called holding on to the crescent

– Red Pine


The world below has its gestation;
We hold there’s a mother of all below.
The mother gained
The children known;
The children known,
The mother gained;
Then your life will not miscarry.

Interdict all interaction;
Seal and bar all gates and doors;
Thus prevent debility.
Open paths of interaction;
Busy furthering your ends;
Then never make recovery.

True vision marks the smallest signs;
Real strength keeps to the gentler way.
Apply your view,
But regain true vision’s inner home.
Fall not into life’s misfortunes;
Strive for the common lasting norm.

– Moss Roberts