This blog is an interpretation of the Tao te Ching "Tao Virtue Book" which is attributed to Laozi "Lao Tze" a Chinese philosopher who lived circa 600 b.c.

Please remember always that this is the description of the Tao and not the experience of the living Tao. Hopefully, this blog will not serve as analysis or commentary but as a window into the Tao. You are encouraged to disagree with this interpretation, involve yourself in self-study, and ultimately leave all concepts behind and so experience the living Tao.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Understanding the Tao te Ching Chapter 11: 無用

For this chapter we will use Susuki's translation:


Thirty spokes unite in one nave and on that which is non-existent [on the hole in the nave] depends the wheel's utility. Clay is moulded into a vessel and on that which is non-existent [on its hollowness] depends the vessel's utility. By cutting out doors and windows we build a house and on that which is non-existent [on the empty space within] depends the house's utility.

Therefore, existence renders actual but non-existence renders useful.

Tao te Ching Chapter 11


If ever the Tao te Ching was so simple that its meaning was overlooked, this chapter is it!   The very direct message here is that what exist and what does not exist combine to make usefulness.  A wrench needs a strong bar in order to be useful.  Equally, it needs the opening for the nut.  The engine of the car gives it drive, but without the void where the passengers sit, it is of no use as a transport.  

This message also conveys very subtly but usefully into the arena of the human mind.  How crowded with things, thoughts and ideas our minds are!  Can you see the value of empty spaces there.  A useful story is told of Emperor Hirohito.  As the ruler of war time Japan during World War II, Hirohito's day was busy from morning till night with meeting after meeting.  It is said that Hirohito and his entourage arrived one day to find they were at the wrong meeting.  There was only an empty room full of chairs.  Hirohito stepped into the room, paused, then turned to his companions and said, "We must have more meetings like this."

Can you find the place of useful emptiness in your mind?  What do you cultivate if you spend time there? 
Thanks For Making This Possible! Kindly Bookmark and Share it.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble Facebook Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment