Thursday, February 24, 2011

55: The Virtue of the Infant


The one who is filled by virtue is like a newborn baby.
Wasps, scorpions, and serpents will not sting him.
Birds of prey and wild beasts will not strike him.
His bones are soft, his muscles weak,
But his grasp is firm.
He has not experienced the union of man and woman,
Still his penis rises.
His manhood is at its very height.
He can shout all day without getting hoarse.
His harmony is at its very height.
Harmony is called the eternal.
Knowing the eternal is called clarity.
Filling life exceedingly is called ominous.
Letting the mind control the vital breath is called force.
Things exalted then decay.
This is going against the Way.
What goes against the Way meets an early end.

The Virtue of the Infant

The first part of this chapter compares the sage to a newborn baby. Infants are soft and weak, yet their tiny hands grab with surprising firmness. Although they are many years away from puberty and sexual encounters, they get erections. They can scream forever, without getting hoarse, and with a shocking loudness at that...

Here is my full commentary on this Tao Te Ching chapter:
Tao Te Ching Chapter 55 Translation and Commentary

1 comment:

  1. although i'm not finished reading your website, i have appreciated the fact that you offer it. you mention living a tao life and also of living a life of virtue. could you please elaborate on what that means and how to do that? also, this part states not to control the breath. i thought controlling the breath and slowing it down were good?