Daodejing Chapter 35: grasp the great image

Daodejing Chapter 35: grasp the great image

「執大象,下下往;往而不害,安平泰。樂與餌,過客止。道之出言,淡兮其無味。視之不足見,聽之不足聞,用之不足既。」
Grasp the great image,
The whole world will flock to you;
Flocking together but causing no harm to each other,
Living in comfort, peace, and tranquility.
Music and good food may make a passerby pause.
But when you speak of the Dao,
It leaves a bland and flavorless taste.
When you look at it, you cannot see it.
When you listen to it, you cannot hear it.
But when you use it, you cannot exhaust it.

A wise leader who embraces the way will win the hearts and minds of the people and make them feel happy and safe. Even though the way doesn’t offer people temporary delights and distractions like “music and good food,” it is the source of permanent tranquility and contentment. It doesn’t matter that you can’t taste, see, or hear it, because it provides an inexhaustible supply of energy and enlightenment to draw from.

The “great image” refers of to the way. See Chapter 21 of the Daodejing, in which Laozi describes the way as “Elusive and intangible; Intangible and elusive! Yet within it is an image; Elusive and intangible!”

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