Chapter 25 On the mystery of the idea.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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25. 1  
There is a being, chaotic but perfect. It preceded the birth of heaven and earth.

This means that Tao is chaotic and formless and bore everything, thus preceding heaven and earth.

Still, O! Empty, O! Alone it stands and does not change.

To be still is to be without sound. To be empty is to be hollow and formless. To be alone is to be mated with nobody. To be unchanging is to keep the eternal during the changes.

Everywhere it goes without being endangered.

Tao goes everywhere; in heaven and earth there is no place which it does not enter. It is within the Yang without becoming burnt; it entrusts itself to the Yin without becoming rotten. There is nothing which it does not penetrate without endangering itself or perishing.

Thereby it could become the world’s mother.

Tao nourishes and educates the spiritual atmosphere of all things like a mother nourishing her children.

I do not know its name. To designate it I call it Tao.

As I do not see the form of Tao, I do not know how to designate it properly. As I see that all things are born from Tao, I designate it by calling it Tao.

Forced to devise a name for it I call it the Great One.

I do not know its name. Constrained to name it I call it the Great One. It is high and not above, enmeshing and not outside. With everything it has patience. Therefore it is called the Great One.

The Great One is called the Passing One.

As it is great, it is not like heaven which is eternally above, nor like earth which is eternally below. Thus it is passing and without a place of eternal rest.

The Passing One is called distant.

This means: What is distant is the exhaustible within the inexhaustible. It disperses its atmosphere through heaven and earth. There is nothing which it does not penetrate.

Distant means returning.

This means: Being distant it cannot be surpassed. It is cut off, and then it returns. It exists within the body of man.

Therefore Tao is great, heaven is great, earth is great, the king is also great.

The grandeur of Tao embraces heaven and earth, and there is nothing which it does not contain. For the grandeur of heaven there is nothing which it does not cover. For the grandeur of earth there is nothing which it does not sustain. For the grandeur of the king there is nothing which he does not govern.

Within the world there are four great ones,

The four great ones are Tao, heaven, earth and the king. They all possess grandeur and splendour. This is not their highest [achievement]. What is called Tao, this possesses what depends on it. If it possesses what depends on it, then it is called Tao. Then the grandeur which lies in the designation of the Tao is not like the grandeur of the undesignated one. The undesignated one cannot acquire glory. It is called the world. Heaven, earth and the king are within the undesignated one. Therefore it is said: Within the world there are the four great ones.

and the king dwells within their unity.

Within the eight poles there are the four great ones. The king dwells within their unity. To dwell within unity constitutes his residence.

Man should take earth for his model.

Man ought to take earth for his model. It is peaceful and quiet, soft and harmonious. By sowing in it one obtains the five grains. By digging in it one reaches the sweet springs. It works without hatred. It has merit without dealing out punishments.

Earth should take heaven for its model.

Heaven is so still and without motion. It gives without demanding compensation. It generates and brings up all beings. It receives and takes nothing.

Heaven should take Tao for its model.

Tao is tranquil and quiescent and does not talk. Yin and Yang let the atmosphere of the spirit circulate. All things are spontaneously perfected.

Tao takes itself for its model.

Tao is by nature itself. There is nothing else which it could take for its model.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 有物混成,先天地生。寂兮寥兮,獨立不改,周行而不殆,可以為天下母。吾不知其名,字之曰道,強為之名曰大。大曰逝,逝曰遠,遠曰反。故道大,天大,地大,王亦大。域中有四大,而王居其一焉。人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然。

《老子河上公章句·象元》: 有物混成,先天地生。寂兮寥兮,獨立而不改,周行而不殆,可以為天下母。吾不知其名,字之曰道,強為之名曰大。大曰逝,逝曰遠,遠曰反。故道大,天大,地大,王亦大。域中有四大,而王居其一焉。人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然。

《郭店·老子甲》: 有狀混成,先天地生,清寥,獨立不亥,可以為天下母。未知其名,字之曰道,吾強為之名曰大。大曰折,折曰轉,轉曰返。天大,地大,道大,王亦大。域中有四大,而王居一焉。人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然。

《馬王堆·老子甲道經》: 有物昆成,先天地生。繡呵繆呵,獨立□□□,可以為天地母。吾未知其名,字之曰道,吾強為之名曰大。□曰筮,筮曰□□□□□□天大,地大,王亦大。國中有四大,而王居一焉。人法地,□法□□法□□法□□。

《馬王堆·老子乙道經》: 有物昆成,先天地生。蕭呵漻呵,獨立而不改,可以為天地母。吾未知其名也,字之曰道,吾強為之名曰大。大曰筮,筮曰遠,遠曰反。道大,天大,地大,王亦大。國中有四大,而王居一焉。人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然。
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

有物混成,先天地生。謂道無形,混沌而成萬物,乃在天地之前。寂兮寥兮,獨立而不改,寂者,無音聲。寥者,空無形。獨立者,無匹雙。不改者,化有常。周行而不殆,道通行天地,無所不入,在陽不焦,託蔭不腐,無不貫穿,而不危怠也。可以為天下母。道育養萬物精氣,如母之養子。吾不知其名,字之曰道,我不見道之形容,不知當何以名之,見萬物皆從道所生,故字之曰道。強為之名曰大。不知其名,強曰大者,高而無上,羅而無外,無不包容,故曰大也。大曰逝,其為大,非若天常在上,非若地常在下,乃復逝去,無常處所也。逝曰遠,言遠者,窮乎無窮,布氣天地,無所不通也。遠曰反。言其遠不越絕,乃復反在人身也。故道大,天大,地大,王亦大。道大者,包羅天地,無所不容也。天大者,無所不蓋也。 地大者,無所不載也。王大者,無所不制也。域中有四大,四大,道、天、地、王也。凡有稱有名,則非其極也。言道則有所由,有所由然後謂之為道,然則是道稱中之大也,不若無稱之大也,無稱不可而得為名,曰域也。天地王皆在乎無稱之內也,故曰域中有四大者也。而王居其一焉。八極之內有四大,王居其一也。人法地,人當法地安靜和柔也,種之得五穀,掘之得甘泉,勞而不怨也,有功而不置也。地法天,天澹泊不動,施而不求報,生長萬物,無所收取。天法道,道清靜不言,陰行精氣,萬物自成也。道法自然。道性自然,無所法也。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

There was something undifferentiated and yet complete, Which existed before heaven and earth. Soundless and formless, it depends on nothing and does not change. It operates everywhere and is free from danger. It may be considered the mother of the universe.
I do not know its name; I call it Tao. If forced to give it a name, I shall call it Great.
Now being great means functioning everywhere. Functioning everywhere means far-reaching. Being far-reaching means returning to the original point.
Therefore Tao is great Heaven is great. Earth is great. And the king is also great.
Man models himself after Earth. Earth models itself after Heaven. Heaven models itself after Tao. And Tao models itself after Nature.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

There was something nebulous existing (yu wu hun ch'eng),
Born before heaven and earth.
Silent, empty,
Standing alone (tu), altering not (pu kai),
Moving cyclically without becoming exhausted (pu tai),
Which may be called the mother of all under heaven.
I know not its name,
I give its alias (tzu), Tao.
If forced to picture it,
I say it is "great" (ta).
To say it is "great" is to say it is "moving away" (shih),
To say it is "moving away" is to say it is "far away" (yüan),
To say it is "far away" is to say it is "returning" (fan).
Therefore Tao is great,
Heaven is great,
Earth is great,
The king is also great.
In the realm there are four greats,
And the king is one of them.
Humans follow (fa) earth,
Earth follows heaven,
Heaven follows Tao,
Tao follows self-becoming (tzu-jan).
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

There is a thing inherent and natural, Which existed before heaven and earth. Motionless and fathomless, It stands alone - and never changes; It pervades everywhere and never becomes exhausted. It may be regarded as the Mother of the Universe.
I do not know its name. If I am forced to give it a name, I call it Tao, and I name it as supreme.
Supreme means going on; Going on means going far; Going far means returning.
Therefore Tao is supreme; heaven is supreme; earth is supreme; and man is also supreme; There are in the universe four things supreme, and man is one of them.
Man follows the laws of earth; Earth follows the laws of heaven; Heaven follows the laws of Tao; Tao follows the laws of its intrinsic nature.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
有 // 有 // yǒu // ① avoir ② posséder ③ il y a ④ exister // Chinese-French
有 // 有 // yǒu // ① to have ② there is ③ there are ④ to exist ⑤ to be // CC-CEDICT
物 // 物 // wù // ① objet ② chose ③ être, matière // Chinese-French
物 // 物 // wù // ① thing ② object ③ matter ④ abbr. for physics 物理 // CC-CEDICT
混 // 混 // hùn // ① confondre ② mêler ③ faire passer pour ④ s'infiltrer ⑤ gagner sa vie tant bien que mal // Chinese-French
混 // 混 // hùn // ① to mix ② to mingle ③ muddled ④ to drift along ⑤ to muddle along ⑥ to pass for ⑦ to get along with sb ⑧ thoughtless ⑨ reckless // CC-CEDICT
混 // 混 // hún // ① salaud ② canaille // Chinese-French
混 // 混 // hún // ① confused ② dirty ③ to mix ④ muddy ⑤ variant of 渾|浑[hun2] // CC-CEDICT
成 // 成 // chéng // ① réussir ② devenir ③ résultat ④ fruit (d'un travail) ⑤ très bien ⑥ d'accord ⑦ capable // Chinese-French
成 // 成 // chéng // ① surname Cheng // CC-CEDICT
成 // 成 // chéng // ① to succeed ② to finish ③ to complete ④ to accomplish ⑤ to become ⑥ to turn into ⑦ to be all right ⑧ OK! ⑨ one tenth // CC-CEDICT
先天 // 先天 // xiān tiān // ① congénital ② inné // Chinese-French
先天 // 先天 // xiān tiān // ① inborn ② innate ③ natural // CC-CEDICT
地 // 地 // de // ① (particule placée devant le verbe qui transforme un adjectif en adverbe) ② -ment // Chinese-French
地 // 地 // de // ① -ly ② structural particle: used before a verb or adjective, linking it to preceding modifying adverbial adjunct // CC-CEDICT
地 // 地 // dì // ① masse ② terre ③ terrain ④ lieu // Chinese-French
地 // 地 // dì // ① earth ② ground ③ field ④ place ⑤ land ⑥ CL:片[pian4] // CC-CEDICT
生 // 生 // shēng // ① vie ② existence ③ élève ④ cru ⑤ inconnu ⑥ étranger ⑦ accoucher ⑧ naître ⑨ pousser ⑩ vivre // Chinese-French
生 // 生 // shēng // ① to be born ② to give birth ③ life ④ to grow ⑤ raw ⑥ uncooked ⑦ student // CC-CEDICT
寂 // 寂 // jì // ① silencieux ② tranquille // Chinese-French
寂 // 寂 // jì // ① silent ② solitary ③ Taiwan pr. [ji2] // CC-CEDICT
兮 // 兮 // xī // ① (interjection utilisée en poésie indiquant l'émerveillement) ② Oh! // Chinese-French
兮 // 兮 // xī // ① (particle in old Chinese similar to 啊) // CC-CEDICT
寥 // 寥 // liáo // ① peu ② silencieux // Chinese-French
寥 // 寥 // liáo // ① empty ② lonesome ③ very few // CC-CEDICT
兮 // 兮 // xī // ① (interjection utilisée en poésie indiquant l'émerveillement) ② Oh! // Chinese-French
兮 // 兮 // xī // ① (particle in old Chinese similar to 啊) // CC-CEDICT
獨立 // 独立 // dú lì // ① indépendance // Chinese-French
獨立 // 独立 // dú lì // ① independent ② independence ③ to stand alone // CC-CEDICT
不 // 不 // bù // ① ne... pas ② non ③ (pour former une question placé à la fin d'une phrase, pour indiquer l'indifférence avec shen me ④ pour indiquer une alternative avec jiu) // Chinese-French
不 // 不 // bù // ① (negative prefix) ② not ③ no // CC-CEDICT
改 // 改 // gǎi // ① changer ② transformer ③ modifier ④ retoucher ⑤ corriger // Chinese-French
改 // 改 // gǎi // ① to change ② to alter ③ to transform ④ to correct // CC-CEDICT
周 // 周 // zhōu // ① surname Zhou ② Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC) // CC-CEDICT
周 // 周 // zhōu // ① to make a circuit ② to circle ③ circle ④ circumference ⑤ lap ⑥ cycle ⑦ complete ⑧ all ⑨ all over ⑩ thorough ⑪ to help financially // CC-CEDICT
週 // 周 // zhōu // ① semaine ② cercle ③ circonférence ④ entourer ⑤ de tous les côtés ⑥ attentif ⑦ (nom de famille) // Chinese-French
週 // 周 // zhōu // ① week ② weekly ③ variant of 周[zhou1] // CC-CEDICT
行 // 行 // xíng // ① marcher ② agir ③ faire ④ pratiquer ⑤ appliquer ⑥ d'accord ⑦ c'est bon ! ⑧ chacun des éléments : l’eau, le feu, le bois, le métal, la terre ⑨ bagages ⑩ quitter la maison ⑪ se marier (pour une fille) ⑫ ballade // Chinese-French
行 // 行 // xíng // ① to walk ② to go ③ to travel ④ a visit ⑤ temporary ⑥ makeshift ⑦ current ⑧ in circulation ⑨ to do ⑩ to perform ⑪ capable ⑫ competent ⑬ effective ⑭ all right ⑮ OK! ⑯ will do ⑰ behavior ⑱ conduct ⑲ Taiwan pr. [xing4] for the behavior-conduct sense // CC-CEDICT
行 // 行 // háng // ① classe ② sorte ③ rang ④ maison de commerce // Chinese-French
行 // 行 // háng // ① a row ② series ③ age order (of brothers) ④ profession ⑤ professional ⑥ relating to company // CC-CEDICT
行 // 行 // xìng // ① action // Chinese-French
而 // 而 // ér // ① et ② mais ③ tandis que ④ alors que // Chinese-French
而 // 而 // ér // ① and ② as well as ③ and so ④ but (not) ⑤ yet (not) ⑥ (indicates causal relation) ⑦ (indicates change of state) ⑧ (indicates contrast) // CC-CEDICT
不 // 不 // bù // ① ne... pas ② non ③ (pour former une question placé à la fin d'une phrase, pour indiquer l'indifférence avec shen me ④ pour indiquer une alternative avec jiu) // Chinese-French
不 // 不 // bù // ① (negative prefix) ② not ③ no // CC-CEDICT
殆 // 殆 // dài // ① danger ② presque ③ à peu près // Chinese-French
殆 // 殆 // dài // ① dangerous ② perilous ③ to endanger ④ almost ⑤ probably ⑥ only // CC-CEDICT
可以 // 可以 // kě yǐ // ① pouvoir ② passable ③ assez bien // Chinese-French
可以 // 可以 // kě yǐ // ① can ② may ③ possible ④ able to ⑤ not bad ⑥ pretty good // CC-CEDICT
為 // 为 // wèi // ① because of ② for ③ to // CC-CEDICT
為 // 为 // wéi // ① as (in the capacity of) ② to take sth as ③ to act as ④ to serve as ⑤ to behave as ⑥ to become ⑦ to be ⑧ to do ⑨ by (in the passive voice) // CC-CEDICT
天下 // 天下 // tiān xià // ① empire céleste // Chinese-French
天下 // 天下 // tiān xià // ① land under heaven ② the whole world ③ the whole of China ④ realm ⑤ rule // CC-CEDICT
母 // 母 // mǔ // ① mère ② femelle // Chinese-French
母 // 母 // mǔ // ① mother ② elderly female relative ③ origin ④ source ⑤ (of animals) female // CC-CEDICT
吾 // 吾 // wú // ① je ② mon // Chinese-French
吾 // 吾 // wú // ① surname Wu // CC-CEDICT
吾 // 吾 // wú // ① I ② my (old) // CC-CEDICT
不知 // 不知 // bù zhī // ① ne pas savoir ② ne pas comprendre // Chinese-French
不知 // 不知 // bù zhī // ① not to know ② unaware ③ unknowingly ④ fig. not to admit (defeat, hardships, tiredness etc) // CC-CEDICT
其 // 其 // qí // ① son ② sa ③ ses ④ leur ⑤ leurs ⑥ il(s) ⑦ elle(s) ⑧ ceci ⑨ cela // Chinese-French
其 // 其 // qí // ① his ② her ③ its ④ their ⑤ that ⑥ such ⑦ it (refers to sth preceding it) // CC-CEDICT
名 // 名 // míng // ① nom ② nomination ③ place ④ réputé ⑤ célèbre // Chinese-French
名 // 名 // míng // ① name ② noun (part of speech) ③ place (e.g. among winners) ④ famous ⑤ classifier for people // CC-CEDICT
字 // 字 // zì // ① caractère ② mot // Chinese-French
字 // 字 // zì // ① letter ② symbol ③ character ④ word ⑤ CL:個|个[ge4] ⑥ courtesy or style name traditionally given to males aged 20 in dynastic China // CC-CEDICT
之 // 之 // zhī // ① (remplaçant une personne ou une chose comme complément) ② (particule possessive dans différentes expressions) // Chinese-French
之 // 之 // zhī // ① (possessive particle, literary equivalent of 的[de5]) ② him ③ her ④ it // CC-CEDICT
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① dire ② appeler // Chinese-French
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① to speak ② to say // CC-CEDICT
道 // 道 // dào // ① doctrine, raison ② voie ③ dire ④ circuit, intendance // Chinese-French
道 // 道 // dào // ① road ② path ③ CL:條|条[tiao2],股[gu3] ④ principle ⑤ truth ⑥ morality ⑦ reason ⑧ skill ⑨ method ⑩ Dao (of Daoism) ⑪ to say ⑫ to speak ⑬ to talk ⑭ classifier for long thin things (rivers, cracks etc), barriers (walls, doors etc), questions (in an exam etc), commands, courses in a meal, steps in a process ⑮ (old) administrative division (similar to province in Tang times) // CC-CEDICT
強 // 强 // qiáng // ① fort ② puissant ③ de force // Chinese-French
強 // 强 // qiáng // ① surname Qiang // CC-CEDICT
強 // 强 // qiáng // ① strong ② powerful ③ better ④ slightly more than ⑤ vigorous ⑥ violent ⑦ best in their category, e.g. see 百強|百强[bai3 qiang2] // CC-CEDICT
強 // 强 // qiǎng // ① faire un effort ② forcer // Chinese-French
強 // 强 // qiǎng // ① to force ② to compel ③ to strive ④ to make an effort // CC-CEDICT
強 // 强 // jiàng // ① obstiné ② têtu ③ inflexible // Chinese-French
強 // 强 // jiàng // ① stubborn ② unyielding // CC-CEDICT
為 // 为 // wèi // ① because of ② for ③ to // CC-CEDICT
為 // 为 // wéi // ① as (in the capacity of) ② to take sth as ③ to act as ④ to serve as ⑤ to behave as ⑥ to become ⑦ to be ⑧ to do ⑨ by (in the passive voice) // CC-CEDICT
之 // 之 // zhī // ① (remplaçant une personne ou une chose comme complément) ② (particule possessive dans différentes expressions) // Chinese-French
之 // 之 // zhī // ① (possessive particle, literary equivalent of 的[de5]) ② him ③ her ④ it // CC-CEDICT
名 // 名 // míng // ① nom ② nomination ③ place ④ réputé ⑤ célèbre // Chinese-French
名 // 名 // míng // ① name ② noun (part of speech) ③ place (e.g. among winners) ④ famous ⑤ classifier for people // CC-CEDICT
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① dire ② appeler // Chinese-French
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① to speak ② to say // CC-CEDICT
大 // 大 // dà // ① grand ② massif // Chinese-French
大 // 大 // dà // ① big ② huge ③ large ④ major ⑤ great ⑥ wide ⑦ deep ⑧ older (than) ⑨ oldest ⑩ eldest ⑪ greatly ⑫ very much ⑬ (dialect) father ⑭ father's elder or younger brother // CC-CEDICT
大 // 大 // dài // ① docteur ② médecin // Chinese-French
大 // 大 // dài // ① see 大夫[dai4 fu5] // CC-CEDICT
大 // 大 // dà // ① grand ② massif // Chinese-French
大 // 大 // dà // ① big ② huge ③ large ④ major ⑤ great ⑥ wide ⑦ deep ⑧ older (than) ⑨ oldest ⑩ eldest ⑪ greatly ⑫ very much ⑬ (dialect) father ⑭ father's elder or younger brother // CC-CEDICT
大 // 大 // dài // ① docteur ② médecin // Chinese-French
大 // 大 // dài // ① see 大夫[dai4 fu5] // CC-CEDICT
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① dire ② appeler // Chinese-French
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① to speak ② to say // CC-CEDICT
逝 // 逝 // shì // ① passer ② décéder // Chinese-French
逝 // 逝 // shì // ① (of time) to pass ② to die // CC-CEDICT
逝 // 逝 // shì // ① passer ② décéder // Chinese-French
逝 // 逝 // shì // ① (of time) to pass ② to die // CC-CEDICT
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① dire ② appeler // Chinese-French
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① to speak ② to say // CC-CEDICT
遠 // 远 // yuǎn // ① éloigné ② loin // Chinese-French
遠 // 远 // yuǎn // ① far ② distant ③ remote ④ (intensifier in a comparison) by far ⑤ much (lower etc) // CC-CEDICT
遠 // 远 // yuàn // ① to distance oneself from (classical) // CC-CEDICT
遠 // 远 // yuǎn // ① éloigné ② loin // Chinese-French
遠 // 远 // yuǎn // ① far ② distant ③ remote ④ (intensifier in a comparison) by far ⑤ much (lower etc) // CC-CEDICT
遠 // 远 // yuàn // ① to distance oneself from (classical) // CC-CEDICT
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① dire ② appeler // Chinese-French
曰 // 曰 // yuē // ① to speak ② to say // CC-CEDICT
反 // 反 // fǎn // ① tourner ② renverser ③ révolter ④ lutter contre ⑤ s'opposer ⑥ anti- ⑦ contraire ⑧ inverse // Chinese-French
反 // 反 // fǎn // ① contrary ② in reverse ③ inside out or upside down ④ to reverse ⑤ to return ⑥ to oppose ⑦ opposite ⑧ against ⑨ anti- ⑩ to rebel ⑪ to use analogy ⑫ instead ⑬ abbr. for 反切[fan3 qie4] phonetic system // CC-CEDICT
故道 // 故道 // gù dào // ① ancienne route // Chinese-French
故道 // 故道 // gù dào // ① old road ② old way ③ old course (of a river) // CC-CEDICT
大 // 大 // dà // ① grand ② massif // Chinese-French
大 // 大 // dà // ① big ② huge ③ large ④ major ⑤ great ⑥ wide ⑦ deep ⑧ older (than) ⑨ oldest ⑩ eldest ⑪ greatly ⑫ very much ⑬ (dialect) father ⑭ father's elder or younger brother // CC-CEDICT
大 // 大 // dài // ① docteur ② médecin // Chinese-French
大 // 大 // dài // ① see 大夫[dai4 fu5] // CC-CEDICT
天大 // 天大 // tiān dà // ① gargantuesque ② aussi grand que le ciel ③ énorme // Chinese-French
天大 // 天大 // tiān dà // ① gargantuan ② as big as the sky ③ enormous // CC-CEDICT
地 // 地 // de // ① (particule placée devant le verbe qui transforme un adjectif en adverbe) ② -ment // Chinese-French
地 // 地 // de // ① -ly ② structural particle: used before a verb or adjective, linking it to preceding modifying adverbial adjunct // CC-CEDICT
地 // 地 // dì // ① masse ② terre ③ terrain ④ lieu // Chinese-French
地 // 地 // dì // ① earth ② ground ③ field ④ place ⑤ land ⑥ CL:片[pian4] // CC-CEDICT
大 // 大 // dà // ① grand ② massif // Chinese-French
大 // 大 // dà // ① big ② huge ③ large ④ major ⑤ great ⑥ wide ⑦ deep ⑧ older (than) ⑨ oldest ⑩ eldest ⑪ greatly ⑫ very much ⑬ (dialect) father ⑭ father's elder or younger brother // CC-CEDICT
大 // 大 // dài // ① docteur ② médecin // Chinese-French
大 // 大 // dài // ① see 大夫[dai4 fu5] // CC-CEDICT
王 // 王 // wáng // ① roi ② prince ③ (nom de famille) // Chinese-French
王 // 王 // wáng // ① surname Wang // CC-CEDICT
王 // 王 // wáng // ① king or monarch ② best or strongest of its type ③ grand ④ great // CC-CEDICT
王 // 王 // wàng // ① régner sur // Chinese-French
王 // 王 // wàng // ① to rule ② to reign over // CC-CEDICT
亦 // 亦 // yì // ① aussi ② également // Chinese-French
亦 // 亦 // yì // ① also // CC-CEDICT
大 // 大 // dà // ① grand ② massif // Chinese-French
大 // 大 // dà // ① big ② huge ③ large ④ major ⑤ great ⑥ wide ⑦ deep ⑧ older (than) ⑨ oldest ⑩ eldest ⑪ greatly ⑫ very much ⑬ (dialect) father ⑭ father's elder or younger brother // CC-CEDICT
大 // 大 // dài // ① docteur ② médecin // Chinese-French
大 // 大 // dài // ① see 大夫[dai4 fu5] // CC-CEDICT
域 // 域 // yù // ① frontière ② région // Chinese-French
域 // 域 // yù // ① field ② region ③ area ④ domain (taxonomy) // CC-CEDICT
中 // 中 // zhōng // ① milieu ② central ③ intérieur ④ parmi ⑤ moitié // Chinese-French
中 // 中 // zhōng // ① China ② Chinese ③ surname Zhong // CC-CEDICT
中 // 中 // zhōng // ① within ② among ③ in ④ middle ⑤ center ⑥ while (doing sth) ⑦ during ⑧ (dialect) OK ⑨ all right // CC-CEDICT
中 // 中 // zhòng // ① to hit (the mark) ② to be hit by ③ to suffer ④ to win (a prize, a lottery) // CC-CEDICT
有 // 有 // yǒu // ① avoir ② posséder ③ il y a ④ exister // Chinese-French
有 // 有 // yǒu // ① to have ② there is ③ there are ④ to exist ⑤ to be // CC-CEDICT
四大 // 四大 // sì dà // ① les quatre éléments // Chinese-French
四大 // 四大 // sì dà // ① the four elements: earth, water, fire, and wind (Buddhism) ② the four freedoms: speaking out freely, airing views fully, holding great debates, and writing big-character posters, 大鳴大放|大鸣大放[da4 ming2 da4 fang4], 大辯論|大辩论[da4 bian4 lun4], 大字報|大字报[da4 zi4 bao4] (PRC) // CC-CEDICT
而 // 而 // ér // ① et ② mais ③ tandis que ④ alors que // Chinese-French
而 // 而 // ér // ① and ② as well as ③ and so ④ but (not) ⑤ yet (not) ⑥ (indicates causal relation) ⑦ (indicates change of state) ⑧ (indicates contrast) // CC-CEDICT
王 // 王 // wáng // ① roi ② prince ③ (nom de famille) // Chinese-French
王 // 王 // wáng // ① surname Wang // CC-CEDICT
王 // 王 // wáng // ① king or monarch ② best or strongest of its type ③ grand ④ great // CC-CEDICT
王 // 王 // wàng // ① régner sur // Chinese-French
王 // 王 // wàng // ① to rule ② to reign over // CC-CEDICT
居 // 居 // jū // ① résidence ② habitation ③ résider ④ habiter ⑤ se trouver // Chinese-French
居 // 居 // jū // ① surname Ju // CC-CEDICT
居 // 居 // jū // ① to reside ② to be (in a certain position) ③ to store up ④ to be at a standstill ⑤ residence ⑥ house ⑦ restaurant ⑧ classifier for bedrooms // CC-CEDICT
居 // 居 // jī // ① (archaic) sentence-final particle expressing a doubting attitude // CC-CEDICT
其一 // 其一 // qí yī // ① one of the given (options etc) ② the first ③ firstly // CC-CEDICT
焉 // 焉 // yān // ① (employé à la fin d'une phrase) ② comment ③ seulement ④ ici ⑤ cela // Chinese-French
焉 // 焉 // yān // ① where ② how // CC-CEDICT
人 // 人 // rén // ① une personne ② être humain ③ homo sapiens // Chinese-French
人 // 人 // rén // ① man ② person ③ people ④ CL:個|个[ge4],位[wei4] // CC-CEDICT
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① loi ② droit ③ moyen ④ méthode ⑤ procédé ⑥ abréviation de France // Chinese-French
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① France ② French ③ abbr. for 法國|法国[Fa3 guo2] ④ Taiwan pr. [Fa4] // CC-CEDICT
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① law ② method ③ way ④ Buddhist teaching ⑤ Legalist // CC-CEDICT
㳒 // 法 // fǎ // ① variant of 法[fa3] // CC-CEDICT
灋 // 法 // fǎ // ① old variant of 法[fa3] ② law // CC-CEDICT
地 // 地 // de // ① (particule placée devant le verbe qui transforme un adjectif en adverbe) ② -ment // Chinese-French
地 // 地 // de // ① -ly ② structural particle: used before a verb or adjective, linking it to preceding modifying adverbial adjunct // CC-CEDICT
地 // 地 // dì // ① masse ② terre ③ terrain ④ lieu // Chinese-French
地 // 地 // dì // ① earth ② ground ③ field ④ place ⑤ land ⑥ CL:片[pian4] // CC-CEDICT
地 // 地 // de // ① (particule placée devant le verbe qui transforme un adjectif en adverbe) ② -ment // Chinese-French
地 // 地 // de // ① -ly ② structural particle: used before a verb or adjective, linking it to preceding modifying adverbial adjunct // CC-CEDICT
地 // 地 // dì // ① masse ② terre ③ terrain ④ lieu // Chinese-French
地 // 地 // dì // ① earth ② ground ③ field ④ place ⑤ land ⑥ CL:片[pian4] // CC-CEDICT
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① loi ② droit ③ moyen ④ méthode ⑤ procédé ⑥ abréviation de France // Chinese-French
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① France ② French ③ abbr. for 法國|法国[Fa3 guo2] ④ Taiwan pr. [Fa4] // CC-CEDICT
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① law ② method ③ way ④ Buddhist teaching ⑤ Legalist // CC-CEDICT
㳒 // 法 // fǎ // ① variant of 法[fa3] // CC-CEDICT
灋 // 法 // fǎ // ① old variant of 法[fa3] ② law // CC-CEDICT
天 // 天 // tiān // ① ciel ② jour ③ journée ④ temps ⑤ saison ⑥ nature ⑦ univers // Chinese-French
天 // 天 // tiān // ① day ② sky ③ heaven // CC-CEDICT
天 // 天 // tiān // ① ciel ② jour ③ journée ④ temps ⑤ saison ⑥ nature ⑦ univers // Chinese-French
天 // 天 // tiān // ① day ② sky ③ heaven // CC-CEDICT
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① loi ② droit ③ moyen ④ méthode ⑤ procédé ⑥ abréviation de France // Chinese-French
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① France ② French ③ abbr. for 法國|法国[Fa3 guo2] ④ Taiwan pr. [Fa4] // CC-CEDICT
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① law ② method ③ way ④ Buddhist teaching ⑤ Legalist // CC-CEDICT
㳒 // 法 // fǎ // ① variant of 法[fa3] // CC-CEDICT
灋 // 法 // fǎ // ① old variant of 法[fa3] ② law // CC-CEDICT
道 // 道 // dào // ① doctrine, raison ② voie ③ dire ④ circuit, intendance // Chinese-French
道 // 道 // dào // ① road ② path ③ CL:條|条[tiao2],股[gu3] ④ principle ⑤ truth ⑥ morality ⑦ reason ⑧ skill ⑨ method ⑩ Dao (of Daoism) ⑪ to say ⑫ to speak ⑬ to talk ⑭ classifier for long thin things (rivers, cracks etc), barriers (walls, doors etc), questions (in an exam etc), commands, courses in a meal, steps in a process ⑮ (old) administrative division (similar to province in Tang times) // CC-CEDICT
道 // 道 // dào // ① doctrine, raison ② voie ③ dire ④ circuit, intendance // Chinese-French
道 // 道 // dào // ① road ② path ③ CL:條|条[tiao2],股[gu3] ④ principle ⑤ truth ⑥ morality ⑦ reason ⑧ skill ⑨ method ⑩ Dao (of Daoism) ⑪ to say ⑫ to speak ⑬ to talk ⑭ classifier for long thin things (rivers, cracks etc), barriers (walls, doors etc), questions (in an exam etc), commands, courses in a meal, steps in a process ⑮ (old) administrative division (similar to province in Tang times) // CC-CEDICT
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① loi ② droit ③ moyen ④ méthode ⑤ procédé ⑥ abréviation de France // Chinese-French
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① France ② French ③ abbr. for 法國|法国[Fa3 guo2] ④ Taiwan pr. [Fa4] // CC-CEDICT
法 // 法 // fǎ // ① law ② method ③ way ④ Buddhist teaching ⑤ Legalist // CC-CEDICT
㳒 // 法 // fǎ // ① variant of 法[fa3] // CC-CEDICT
灋 // 法 // fǎ // ① old variant of 法[fa3] ② law // CC-CEDICT
自然 // 自然 // zì rán // ① nature ② naturel // Chinese-French
自然 // 自然 // zì rán // ① nature ② natural ③ naturally // CC-CEDICT
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

There is a mixture of substances
That is born before Heaven and Earth.
Quiet, far and wide, it turns round and round by itself.
It can be taken as the mother of Heaven and Earth.
I don't know what its name is,
But for the purpose here, let's call it the Way
And describe it as "big."
By "big," I mean it is the most expansive.
What is expansive extends the farthest.
What goes farthest will turn round.
Therefore, the Way is big,
The heaven is big,
The earth is big,
And mankind is big.
In the universe, there are four big growth domains,
With mankind being one of them.
Mankind's nature is determined by Earth,
Earth's nature is determined by Heaven,
Heaven's nature is determined by the Way.
And the Way, being the biggest of all,
Copies its own growth nature.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

There is something, amorphous and complete, that was born before Heaven and Earth.
Obscure, oh, and, immaterial, oh, it stands alone, unchanged.
It operates everywhere but stays free from danger, thus we may consider it the mother of all under Heaven.
We do not know its name
So style it "Dao" [Way].
Forced to give it a name, we call it "great."
"Great" refers to the way it goes forth.
"Goes forth" describes how it is far-reaching, and "far-reaching" describes its reflexivity.
Thus the Dao is great, Heaven is great, Earth is great, and the king is also great.
Within the realm of existence there are the four greats,
And the king has title to one of these.
Man takes his models from Earth;
Earth takes its models from Heaven;
Heaven takes its models from the Dao;
and the Dao takes its models from the Natural.
(Ⅷ)


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