Daoist Memorial Verse

Through general foolishness on my part, I ended up with a memorial card to pick out some poetry or a quote for. They were going to print 100 of them, what to put in it? They had suggestions, of course, but they were mostly too Judeo-Christian for my taste. I wanted something Buddhist or Daoist. I thought: maybe something from Zhuang Zi? There was that story about his wife. I looked around, but nothing fit. Part of a translated chapter 16 of the Dao De Jing seemed appropriate, but the rest I didn’t like. Looking for a different translation had different parts that were good but then other parts that… meh. So, borrowing from about 4 different translations and a bit of my own editorial input I synthesized the following:


Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
The world will rise and move;
Watch it return to rest.
All that flourishes
Will return to their roots.

Returning is peaceful;
It is the flow of nature,
Eternal decay and renewal.
Acceptance brings enlightenment,
Denial brings misery.

Who accepts the way has tolerance;
Who has tolerance has sympathy;
Who has sympathy has generosity;
Who has generosity follows the Dao;
Followers of the Dao
have equilibrium and resilience,
and when death comes, are ready.

— Chapter 16, Dao De Jing


Hopefully it will be useful for someone else…