First book in the gender-neutral philosophy series


Gender-neutral book of Dao

A gender-neutral translation of the classical Chinese text "The Way and its Virtue" (Dao De Jing) by the great Chinese philosopher Laozi (around 6th century – 4th century BC). Considered to be the cornerstone of Daoism, its contribution to the history of philosophy is invaluable.

From the ground up, this text was translated from the original classical Chinese into English to reflect the content in a modern way, inclusive of all genders. The original text is found side by side with the translation of all 81 verses.

The first in a series of gender-neutral translations from classical Chinese, Clark Gillian, identifying as non-binary themself, is committed to making classical philosophy accessible to a new generation in the LGBT+ community.

EXCERPT


VERSE 33-37


Enlightenment, Great selflessness, Incorruptible,
Paradox of Power, Victory of Contentedness

33.
Enlightenment

 

To know others is intelligence.

Knowing yourself,

That is enlightenment.

 

To overcome others is outer strength.

Conquering yourself,

That is inner strength.

 

To know what's enough is wealth.

Enduring with vigor,

That is willpower.

 

To be unshakable is persistence.

Dying without perishing,

That is longevity.











34.
Great selflessness

 

The great Dao is so overarching,

That left can become right again.

 

All life counts on it,

Comes out of it,

Has never been rejected.

 

Achieving all goals,

Without naming or owning them.

 

It clothes and feeds all creatures,

Without ruling over them.

 

Such lack of desire,

So that one can only say:

Tiny.

 

All life returns to it,

Although they have never been dominated by it.

So that one can only say:

Huge.

 

Precisely because it does not consider its own size,

Can it accomplish things of that size.
           

 


 







35.
Incorruptible

 

Keep the image of greatness of the Dao,

Fixed in your mind,

And the world will come to you.

 

It comes inviolable,

Extraordinary in

Quiet peace.

 

Music and treats,

Lure the passing traveler.

 

But what comes out of the mouth of the Dao,

However, is tasteless and bland.

 

Viewing it,

Is not enough to see it.

 

Listening to it,

Is not enough to hear it.

 

Using it,

Will never wear it out.


 









36.
Paradox of power

 

Whatsoever you try to shrink,

You must turn off first.

 

Whatever you try to weaken,

You must strengthen first.

 

Whatever you try to repel,

You must bring it to bloom first.

 

Whatever you try to take away,

You must add to it first.

 

This is what we call,

Subtle insight.

 

Soft and weak conquers hard and strong.

 

A fish cannot be taken from the depths.

 

So also, the sharp weapons of the rulers,

Should never see the light of day.


 









37.
The victory of contentedness

 

The Dao is eternal by nature.

And yet nothing remains undone.

 

Should mankind run the world in this way,

Everything by itself would unfold.

 

And as in unfolding,

also wanting to do arises.

 

I would curb it,

With the spontaneity of the nameless.

 

The spontaneity of the nameless,

Thus releases all desire.

 

In the space of no desire,

Silence remains.

 

The whole world continues on,

And regulates itself.



知人者智,

自知者明。

 

勝人者有力,

自勝者強。

 

知足者富。

 

強行者有志。

 

不失其所者久。

 

死而不亡者壽。

 



大道汎兮,

其可左右。

 

萬物恃之而生而不辭,

功成不名有。

 

衣養萬物而不為主,

常無欲,

可名於小;

萬物歸焉,

而不為主,

可名為大。

 

以其終不自為大,

故能成其大。



執大象,

天下往。

 

往而不害,

安平大。

 

樂與餌,

過客止。

 

道之出口,

淡乎其無味,

視之不足見,

聽之不足聞,

用之不足既。



將欲歙之,

必固張之;

將欲弱之,

必固強之;

將欲廢之,

必固興之;

將欲奪之,

必固與之。

 

是謂微明。

 

柔弱勝剛強。

 

魚不可脫於淵,

國之利器不可以示人。



道常無為而無不為。

 

侯王若能守之,

萬物將自化。

 

化而欲作,

吾將鎮之以無名之樸。

 

無名之樸,

夫亦將無欲。

 

不欲以靜,

天下將自定。