Tao One

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.

The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.

The named is the mother of ten thousand things.

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.

Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.

These two spring from the same source but differ in name;

this appears as darkness.

Darkness within darkness,

The gate to all mystery.

Gia Fu Feng, Tao Te Ching



This chapter resonates with my belief that each person or group has an interpretation of the Tao, when in actuality the threads of truth run through all things.  And we may or may not see the whole design. In one place, at one time, in one comprehensive description.  The important part is the intention or practice or good works of each individual, including tolerance towards another’s viewpoint or their piece of the understanding.

“Therefore not to desire the things of sense is to know the freedom of spirituality; and to desire is to learn the limitation of matter… This unity of origin is the mystery of mysteries, but it is the gateway to spirituality.”

Laotzu’s Tao and Wu Wei, by Dwight Goddard and Henri Borel, [1919], at sacred-texts.com

“Always without desire we must be found,
If its deep mystery we would sound;
But if desire always within us be,
Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.”

J. Legge, Translator (Sacred Books of the East, Vol 39) [1891] at sacred-texts.com

The virtue of shedding desire is also quite apparent in this chapter.  This being the first chapter, and desire being the prominent issue in Buddhism’s four noble truths, this shows the tight connection between these two great views.

Not desiring someone to change their views to suit yours, is indeed tolerance, and true spirituality.




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