title: Tao Te Ching 11 - Empitness and Non-Being

Book - Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu

Stephen Mitchell Translation

We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.

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

Other translations I like

Thirty spokes meet in the hub. Where the wheel isn’t is where it’s useful.

Hollowed out, clay makes a pot. Where the pot’s not is where it’s useful.

Cut doors and windows to make a room. Where the room isn’t, there’s room for you.

So the profit in what is, is in the use of what isn’t. Ursula Le Guin

Thirty spokes join one hub. The wheel’s use comes from emptiness.

Clay is fired to make a pot. The pot’s use comes from emptiness.

Windows and doors are cut to make a room. The room’s use comes from emptiness.

Therefore, Having leads to profit, Not having leads to use. Stephen Addiss & Stanley Lombardo

Thirty spokes join in one hub In its emptiness, there is the function of a vehicle

Mix clay to create a container In its emptiness, there is the function of a container2

Cut open doors and windows to create a room In its emptiness, there is the function of a room

Therefore, that which exists is used to create benefit That which is empty is used to create functionality Derek Lin

Related: Emptiness