1. The Dao is (like) the emptiness of a vessel; and in our employment of it we must be on our guard against all fulness. How deep and unfathomable it is, as if it were the Honoured Ancestor of all things!
2. We should blunt our sharp points, and unravel the complications of things; we should attemper our brightness, and bring ourselves into agreement with the obscurity of others. How pure and still the Dao is, as if it would ever so continue!
3. I do not know whose son it is. It might appear to have been before God.
無源, 'The Fountainless.' There is nothing before the Dao; it might seem to have been before God. And yet there is no demonstration by it of its presence and operation. It is like the emptyness of a vessel. The second character = 沖 = 盅;—see Kangxi on the latter. The practical lesson is, that in following the Dao we must try to be like it.