The Tao Teh Ching was written two and a half centuries ago by Lao Tzu (tzu means teacher). This canon of verses proposes to describe The Way as a mysterious path to be explored and understood. It is neither a philosophy nor a religion but exists extrinsically on its own – separate from the world of Man.
The verses are short, succinct, and often contradictory. It admits up front that The Way cannot be described, and then proceeds to try to describe it. Some of the contradictions can be resolved by reading various translations or interpretations of the text.
To penetrate to the mystery of these texts try reading The Book of Chuang Tzu. This book gives various discourses on the Tao and contains many descriptions, analogies, and examples.
The Spirit of the Fountain dies not. It is called the Mysterious Feminine. The Doorway of the Mysterious Feminine Is called the Root of Heaven-and-Earth Lingering like gossamer, it has only a hint of existence; And yet when you draw upon it, it is inexhaustible.
Does anyone want to take the world and do what he wants with it? I do not see how he can succeed. The world is a sacred vessel, which must not be tampered with or grabbed after. To tamper with it is to spoil it, and to grasp it is […]
The Tao is like an empty bowl, Which in being used can never be filled up, Fathomless, it seems to be the origin of all things. It blunts all sharp edges, It unties all tangles, It harmonizes all lights, It unites the world into one whole. Hidden in the deeps, […]
By not exalting the talented you will cause the people to cease from rivalry and contention. By not prizing goods hard to get, you will cause the people to cease from robbing and stealing. By not displaying what is desirable, you will cause the people’s hearts to remain undisturbed. Therefore, […]
When all the world recognizes beauty as beauty, this in itself is ugliness. When all the world recognizes good as good, this in itself is evil. Indeed, the hidden and the manifest give birth to each other. Difficult and easy complement each other. Long and short exhibit each other. High […]
Tao can be talked about, but not the Eternal Tao. Names can be named, but not the Eternal Name. As the origin of heaven-and-earth, it is nameless: As “the Mother” of all things, it is nameable. So, as ever hidden, we should look at its inner essence: As always manifest, […]
He who knows men is clever; He who knows himself has insight. He who conquers men has force; He who conquers himself is truly strong. He who knows when he has got enough is rich, And he who adheres assiduously to the path of Tao is a man of steady […]
A good soldier is never agressive; A good fighter is never angry. The best way of conquering an enemy Is to win him over by not antagonizing him. The best way of employing a man Is to serve under him. This is called the virtue of non-striving! This is called […]