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 all in their own way.
Enlightenment, Great selflessness, Incorruptible,
Paradox of Power, Victory of Contentedness
To know others is intelligence.
That is enlightenment.
To overcome others is outer strength.
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.
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:
All life returns to it,
Although they have never been dominated by it.
So that one can only say:
Precisely because it does not consider its own size,
Can it accomplish things of that size.
Keep the image of greatness of the Dao,
Fixed in your mind,
And the world will come to you.
It comes inviolable,
Music and treats,
Lure the passing traveler.
But what comes out of the mouth of the Dao,
However, is tasteless and bland.
Is not enough to see it.
Listening to it,
Is not enough to hear it.
Will never wear it out.
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,
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.
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,
The whole world continues on,
And regulates itself.