Wholeness of Living Tao Te Ching 22

Tao Te Ching 22

 

Written by Lao-tzu

From a translation by J.H. McDonald

 

If you want to become whole,

first let yourself become broken.

If you want to become straight,

first let yourself become twisted.

If you want to become full,

first let yourself become empty.

If you want to become new,

first let yourself become old.

Those whose desires are few get them,

those whose desires are great go astray.

For this reason the Master embraces the Tao,

as an example for the world to follow.

Because she isn’t self centered,

people can see the light in her.

Because she does not boast of herself,

she becomes a shining example.

Because she does not glorify herself,

she becomes a person of merit.

Because she wants nothing from the world,

the world can not overcome her.

When the ancient Masters said,

“If you want to become whole,

then first let yourself be broken,”

they weren’t using empty words.

 

Tao Te Ching 22

by Lao-tzu

  1. Legge, Translator  (Sacred Books of the East, Vol 39) [1891]

 

The partial becomes complete; the crooked, straight; the empty,

full; the worn out, new. He whose (desires) are few gets them; he

whose (desires) are many goes astray.

 

Therefore the sage holds in his embrace the one thing (of

humility), and manifests it to all the world. He is free from self-

display, and therefore he shines; from self-assertion, and therefore

he is distinguished; from self-boasting, and therefore his merit is

acknowledged; from self-complacency, and therefore he acquires

superiority. It is because he is thus free from striving that

therefore no one in the world is able to strive with him.

 

That saying of the ancients that ‘the partial becomes complete’ was

not vainly spoken:–all real completion is comprehended under it.

 

Tao Te Ching 22

 

Written by Lao-tzu

From a translation by S. Mitchell

 

If you want to become whole,

let yourself be partial.

If you want to become straight,

let yourself be crooked.

If you want to become full,

let yourself be empty.

If you want to be reborn,

let yourself die.

If you want to be given everything,

give everything up.

 

The Master, by residing in the Tao,

sets an example for all beings.

Because he doesn’t display himself,

people can see his light.

Because he has nothing to prove,

people can trust his words.

Because he doesn’t know who he is,

people recognize themselves in him.

Because he has no goad in mind,

everything he does succeeds.

 

When the ancient Masters said,

“If you want to be given everything,

give everything up,”

they weren’t using empty phrases.

Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly yourself.