《道德经·第四十一章》 with English Translations

上士听了道的理论,努力去实行;中士听了道的理论,将信将疑;下士听了道的理论,哈哈大笑。不被嘲笑,那就不足以成其为道了。因此古时立言的人说过这样的话:光明的道好似暗昧;前进的道好似后退;平坦的道好似崎岖;崇高的德好似峡谷;广大的德好像不足;刚健的德好似怠惰;质朴而纯真好像混浊未开。最洁白的东西,反而含有污垢;最方正的东西,反而没有棱角;最大的声响,反而听来无声无息;最大的形象,反而没有形状。道幽隐而没有名称,无名无声。只有“道”,才能使万物善始善终。

第四十一章

上士闻道,勤而行之;中士闻道,若存若亡;下士闻道,大笑之。不笑不足以为道。故建言有之:明道若昧,道若若退,夷道若类,上德若谷,大白若辱,广德若不足,建德若偷,质真若渝。大方无隅,大器晚成,大音希声,大象无形。道隐无名。夫唯道。善贷且成。

Chapter 41

When the man of highest capacities hears Tao
He does his best to put it into practice.
When the man of middling capacity hears Tao
He is in two minds about it.
When the man of low capacity hears Tao
He laughs loudly at it.
If he did not laugh, it would not be worth the name of Tao.
Therefore the proverb has it:
‘The way(Tao) out into the light often looks dark,
The way that goes ahead often looks as if it went back.’
The way that is least hilly often looks as if it went up and down,
The ‘power’ that is rally loftiest looks like an abyss,
What is sheerest white looks blurred.
The ‘power’ that is most sufficing looks inadequate,
The ‘power’ that stands firmest looks flimsy.
What is in its natural, pure state looks faded;
The largest square has no corners,
The greatest vessel takes the longest to finish,(Metaphorical meaning. ‘The greatest capacities develop latest’.)
Great music has the faintest(‘most rarified.’) notes,
The Great Form is without shape.
For Tao is hidden and nameless.
Yet Tao is hidden and nameless.
Yet Tao alone supports(a commercial metaphor. Literally ‘backs financially’.) all things and brings them to fulfillment.

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