The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled.
Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things!
Blunt the sharpness,
Untangle the knot,
Soften the glare,
Merge with dust.
Oh, hidden deep but ever present!
I do not know from whence it comes.
It is the forefather of the gods.
— Tao Te Ching, Four
The Tao is like an empty vessel.
Yet when you use it, you never need to fill it again.
Deep and still, it seems to be
the source of the ten thousand things!
We should blunt our sharp points, and untie the knots of things; we should attemper our brightness, and bring ourselves into agreement with the obscurity of others.
How pure and still the Tao is, as if it would ever so continue!
…It is empty but not depleted…
In concentrating your breath and making it soft,
Can you make it like that of a newborn babe?
In cultivating and cleaning your profound vision,
Can you do it so that you stay without stain?
We shape and fire clay into a vessel;
It is precisely the space within that makes the clay pots so useful.
It is precisely in these empty spaces that makes the room so useful.
Therefore benefit comes from what is there;
Usefulness comes from what is not there…..
— LAO CHE ~ Tao te king
“As empty vessels make the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest blabbers.” — Plato.
“As a vessel is known by the sound, whether it be cracked or not; so men are proved, by their speeches, whether they be wise or foolish.” — Demosthenes
“Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.” — Augustus W. Hare
“The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark. The small truth has words which are clear; the great truth has great silence.” — Rabindranath Tagore