Chapter 6 How to complete the idea.
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(Version and commentary of He Shanggong in English)


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6. 1  
If one nourishes the spirits, one dies not.

谷 = 養to nourish. If one is able to nourish the spirits, one does not die. By the spirits the spirits of the five viscera are meant. The liver contains the spiritual soul (hun 魂 ) ), the lungs contain the animal soul (po 魄 ), the heart contains the spirit (shen 神 ), the kidneys contain the essence (ching 精 ), the stomach contains the will (chi 志 ) If all the five viscera are hurt then the five spirit flee

This is called the dark and the female.

This means: The Tao of immortality is contained within the dark one and the female. The dark one is heaven. In man, it forms the nose. The female is earth. In man, it forms the mouth. Heaven nourishes man by means of the five atmospheres. Through the nose they enter the viscera and penetrate to the heart. The five atmospheres are pure and subtle, they form the spirit, the mind, sound and voice and the five natures. Their demon is called the spi ritual soul. The spiritual soul is male. It chiefly leaves and re-enters man through the nose in order to have intercourse with heaven. Therefore the nose is heaven (hsuan). Earth nourishes man by means of the five tastes. Through the mouth they enter the viscera and penetrate into the stomach. The five natures, impure and thick, form the appearance, bones and flesh, blood and pulses and the six feelings. Their demon is called the animal soul. The animal soul is female. It chiefly leaves and re-enters through the mouth in order to have intercourse with heaven and earth. Therefore the mouth is the female.

The gates of the dark one and of the female, they are called the root of heaven and earth.

根 root = 元 origin. This means: The gates of the nose and the mouth are whereby the original breath penetrating heaven and earth comes and goes.

Without interruption it is like remaining.

Nose and mouth inhale and exhale. This ought to be done uninterruptedly and in a mysterious way, as if one could flee and return, as if one did not exist.

To use it is not fatiguing.

In using the breath one ought to proceed with ease and not to make haste and to make oneself tired.

- Chinese :

《道德經》: 谷神不死,是謂玄牝。玄牝之門,是謂天地根。綿綿若存,用之不勤

《老子河上公章句·成象》: 谷神不死,是謂玄牝。玄牝之門,是謂天地根。綿綿若存,用之不勤

《馬王堆·老子甲道經》: 浴神□死,是胃玄牝。玄牝之門,是胃□地之根。縣縣呵若存,用之不堇

《馬王堆·老子乙道經》: 浴神不死,是胃玄牝。玄牝之門,是胃天地之根。縣縣呵其若存,用之不堇
(⁎)
- He Shanggong (Chinese) :

谷神不死,谷,養也。 人能養神則不死也。 神,謂五臟之神也。 肝藏魂,肺藏魄,心藏神,腎藏精,脾藏志,五藏盡傷,則五神去矣。是謂玄牝。言不死之有,在於玄牝。 玄,天也,於人為鼻。牝,地也,於人為口。 天食人以五氣,從鼻入藏於心。五氣輕微,為精、神、聰、明、音聲五性。其鬼曰魂,魂者雄也,主出入於人鼻,與天通,故鼻為玄也。 地食人以五味,從口入藏於胃。五味濁辱,為形、骸、骨、肉、血、脈六情。其鬼曰魄,魄者雌也,主出入於人口,與地通,故口為牝也。玄牝之門,是謂天地根。根,元也。 言鼻口之門,是乃通天地之元氣所從往來也。綿綿若存,鼻口呼噏喘息,當綿綿微妙,若可存,復若無有。用之不勤。用氣當寬舒,不當急疾懃勞也。
(Ⅱ)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (1963) :

The spirit of the valley never dies. It is called the subtle and profound female.
The gate of the subtle and profound female Is the root of Heaven and Earth.
It is continuous, and seems to be always existing. Use it and you will never wear it out.
(Ⅲ)
- Ellen Marie Chen (1989) :

The Valley Spirit (ku shen) is deathless,
It is called the Dark Mare (hsüan p'in).
The door of the Dark Mare,
Is called the root of heaven and earth.
Continuous (mien mien), it seems to exist (ts'un),
Yet in use (yung) it is inexhaustible.
(Ⅳ)
- Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) :

'The Valley and the Spirit never die.' They form what is called the Mystic Mother,.
From whose gate comes the origin of heaven and earth.
'The Valley and the Spirit never die.' They form what is called the Mystic Mother, From whose gate comes the origin of heaven and earth. This (the origin) seems ever to endure. In use it can never be exhausted.
(Ⅴ)
- World by world translation :

Traditional // simplified // pinyin // definition // dictionary
穀神 // 谷神 // gǔ shén // ① harvest God // CC-CEDICT
不死 // 不死 // bù sǐ // ① Immortalité // Chinese-French
是 // 是 // shì // ① être ② oui ③ correct // Chinese-French
是 // 是 // shì // ① is ② are ③ am ④ yes ⑤ to be // CC-CEDICT
昰 // 是 // shì // ① variant of 是[shi4] ② (used in given names) // CC-CEDICT
謂 // 谓 // wèi // ① dire ② adresser la parole ③ être appelé ④ penser // Chinese-French
謂 // 谓 // wèi // ① surname Wei // CC-CEDICT
謂 // 谓 // wèi // ① to speak ② to say ③ to name ④ to designate ⑤ meaning ⑥ sense // CC-CEDICT
玄 // 玄 // xuán // ① mystérieux ② obscur ③ incroyable // Chinese-French
玄 // 玄 // xuán // ① black ② mysterious // CC-CEDICT
牝 // 牝 // pìn // ① femelle des animaux // Chinese-French
牝 // 牝 // pìn // ① (of a bird, animal or plant) female ② keyhole ③ valley // CC-CEDICT
玄 // 玄 // xuán // ① mystérieux ② obscur ③ incroyable // Chinese-French
玄 // 玄 // xuán // ① black ② mysterious // CC-CEDICT
牝 // 牝 // pìn // ① femelle des animaux // Chinese-French
牝 // 牝 // pìn // ① (of a bird, animal or plant) female ② keyhole ③ valley // 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
門 // 门 // mén // ① porte ② entrée ③ voie ④ moyen ⑤ famille ⑥ école ⑦ classe ⑧ catégorie // Chinese-French
門 // 门 // mén // ① surname Men // CC-CEDICT
門 // 门 // mén // ① gate ② door ③ CL:扇[shan4] ④ gateway ⑤ doorway ⑥ CL:個|个[ge4] ⑦ opening ⑧ valve ⑨ switch ⑩ way to do something ⑪ knack ⑫ family ⑬ house ⑭ (religious) sect ⑮ school (of thought) ⑯ class ⑰ category ⑱ phylum or division (taxonomy) ⑲ classifier for large guns ⑳ classifier for lessons, subjects, branches of technology Ⓐ (suffix) -gate (i.e. scandal Ⓑ derived from Watergate) // CC-CEDICT
是 // 是 // shì // ① être ② oui ③ correct // Chinese-French
是 // 是 // shì // ① is ② are ③ am ④ yes ⑤ to be // CC-CEDICT
昰 // 是 // shì // ① variant of 是[shi4] ② (used in given names) // CC-CEDICT
謂 // 谓 // wèi // ① dire ② adresser la parole ③ être appelé ④ penser // Chinese-French
謂 // 谓 // wèi // ① surname Wei // CC-CEDICT
謂 // 谓 // wèi // ① to speak ② to say ③ to name ④ to designate ⑤ meaning ⑥ sense // CC-CEDICT
天地 // 天地 // tiān dì // ① ciel et terre ② univers ③ monde ④ champ d'action ⑤ champ d'activité // Chinese-French
天地 // 天地 // tiān dì // ① heaven and earth ② world ③ scope ④ field of activity // CC-CEDICT
根 // 根 // gēn // ① racine (botanique) ② racine (mathématiques) ③ radical chimique ④ base ⑤ fondement ⑥ pied (d'une montagne) ⑦ origine des choses ⑧ spécificatif des objets longs et minces (cigarettes, troncs d'arbre, cordes, etc.) // Chinese-French
根 // 根 // gēn // ① root ② basis ③ classifier for long slender objects, e.g. cigarettes, guitar strings ④ CL:條|条[tiao2] ⑤ radical (chemistry) // CC-CEDICT
綿綿 // 绵绵 // mián mián // ① continu ② ininterrompu // Chinese-French
綿綿 // 绵绵 // mián mián // ① continuous ② uninterrupted // CC-CEDICT
若 // 若 // ruò // ① si ② comme // Chinese-French
若 // 若 // ruò // ① to seem ② like ③ as ④ if // CC-CEDICT
存 // 存 // cún // ① exister ② subsister ③ conserver ④ mettre en réserve ⑤ déposer ⑥ consigner ⑦ nourrir ⑧ avoir // Chinese-French
存 // 存 // cún // ① to exist ② to deposit ③ to store ④ to keep ⑤ to survive // CC-CEDICT
用 // 用 // yòng // ① utiliser ② employer ③ avoir à faire ceci ou cela ④ manger ou boire ⑤ frais ou dépenses ⑥ utilité ⑦ c'est pourquoi ⑧ donc ⑨ par conséquent // Chinese-French
用 // 用 // yòng // ① to use ② to employ ③ to have to ④ to eat or drink ⑤ expense or outlay ⑥ usefulness ⑦ hence ⑧ therefore // 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
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
(Ⅵ)
- Yi Wu (1989) :

The totally unoccupied being never dies,
And is called the metaphysical mother.
Her door
Can be called the root of Heaven and Earth.
Uses that come in her grace are continuous,
Transcendental, and receivable with no effort.
(Ⅶ)
- Lynn (2004) :

The Valley Spirit never dies, and we call it the "Mysterious Female."
The gate of the Mysterious Female is referred to as the "root of Heaven and Earth."
On and on, with only apparent existence, it functions inexhaustibly.
(Ⅷ)


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