PHILOSOPHY

Blakney Taoism

From The Way of Life translated by R.B. Blakney

The Poem: 

“Thirty spokes will converge

In the hub of a wheel;

But the use of the cart

Will depend on the part

Of the hub that is void.

With a wall all around

A clay bowl is molded;

But the use of the bowl

Will depend on the part

Of the bowl that is void.

Cut out windows and doors

In the house as you build;

But the use of the house

Will depend on the space

In the walls that is void.

So advantage is had

From whatever is there;

But usefulness rises

From whatever is not.”

Further translation: 

“Is the Way real? Does it exist? Can one isolate it and say, ‘This is it?’

It is as real as the hole in the hub of a wheel where the axle rests.

The hole is a void in the hub. It exists as a window exists when part of the wall of a house is cut away.

Similarly, the Way is like the empty place in a bowl.

The advantage of the bowl lies in its walls, but its use depends on its emptiness.

So with the Way. It is functional.

It cannot be isolated, but you cannot be without it.”

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