Having vs Being

02008-03-11 | Philosophy | 4 comments

I am comparing translations of the Tao Te Ching. Here is the last paragraph from Chapter 11.

From this translation of the Tao Te Ching:

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

From this translation of the Tao Te Ching:

Having leads to profit,
Not having leads to use.

Those are two translations of the same paragraph! Makes me want to learn mandarin, just to discover the subtleties the chinese language is capable of. Anyway, it is interesting that one of the translators got hung up on being while the other got hung up on having. Maybe it should read like this:

Having leads to profit,
Being is what we can use.


  1. Carol

    Or the things we can’t touch is what makes us what we are, and brings us happiness.

  2. yumi

    Figuring out a translation is wonderful. The secret in the kanji.

  3. Diran

    Thanks for the help.. I’m reading Tao Te Ching too ,sometimes it’s too hard to get the massege.


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