Ruminating on The Way of Life: Lao Tzu



What a delight for the intellectual soul, reading R.B. Blakney’s translation of the Tao Te Ching, a book of 81 poems expressed by Chinese mystics secluded in remote mountain valleys centuries before Christ. Lao Tzu is credited as The Old One who compiled The Way into written form.

This morning, the page was waiting to be devoured: San-shih fu or Thirty Spokes.

Read this beautiful translation, written in 1955:

Thirty spokes converge

In the hub of a wheel;

But the use of the cart

Will depend on the part

Of the hub that is void.


With a wall all around

A clay bowl is molded;

But the use of the bowl

Will depend on the part

Of the bowl that is void.


Cut out windows and doors

In the house as you build;

But the use of the house

Will depend on the space

In the walls that is void.


So advantage is had

From whatever is there;

But usefulness rises

From whatever is not.


Insight applicable in so many situations, coaching the philosophy of soccer, for example. Lao Tzu inspires me to wax poetic on the beautiful game:

On a thick field of grass

Players coax encased air;

But the use of the field

Will depend on finding

The space that is void.


Ironic how, in the portion of his introduction dedicated to outlining key concepts, Blakney offers the following description of Tao or 陶: “A road, a path, the way by which people travel, the way of nature and finally the Way of ultimate Reality.”

That is Hash Road: Hoosier Shangrila.

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