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Selections from Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu. 
Translation 1891 by James Legge

 


"Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that their use depends."

Tao Te Ching, Chapter Eleven

The thirty spokes unite in the one nave; but it is on the empty space (for the axle), that the use of the wheel depends. Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that their use depends. The door and windows are cut out (from the walls) to form an apartment; but it is on the empty space (within), that its use depends. Therefore, what has a (positive) existence serves for profitable adaptation, and what has not that for (actual) usefulness. 

 

Tao Te Ching, Chapter Twelve

Colour's five hues from th' eyes their sight will take; 
Music's five notes the ears as deaf can make; 
The flavours five deprive the mouth of taste; 
The chariot course, and the wild hunting waste 
Make mad the mind; and objects rare and strange, 
Sought for, men's conduct will to evil change. 

Therefore the sage seeks to satisfy (the craving of) the belly, and not the (insatiable longing of the) eyes. He puts from him the latter, and prefers to seek the former. 

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