Tuesday, May 13, 2008

1: It's All Real


The Way that can be walked is not the eternal Way.
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 all things.

Free from desire you see the mystery.
Full of desire you see the manifestations.
These two have the same origin but differ in name.
That is the secret,
The secret of secrets,
The gate to all mysteries.

It's All Real

Lao Tzu begins his writing about Tao, the Way, by stating that the written word cannot fully encompass the real thing. The workings of the Way are hidden behind what we can observe...

Here is my full commentary on this Tao Te Ching chapter:
Tao Te Ching Chapter 1 Translation and Commentary


  1. Well said. I like how you talk about the surface and the hidden as 2 sides of the same coin. It's all relevant and can't really be separated although we can choose to look at only one side.

  2. It is amazing.
    When you spin a coin on a table, you can see both sides and the rim at the same time...

  3. I translated like this - Sorry, I am not an English speaker, and I am late.

    The Tao that can be described is not the Tao
    The name that can be named is not the name of the Tao.
    The nameless is the origin of heaven and earth
    The named is the mother of all things
    Why? Because the Tao is "something" that constantly change. If it is fixed then we should be able to describe its characteristics. How can we describe something that constantly change? Moreover, because it constantly changes we cannot named it. How can we named something that constantly change?

    Why I used the word "origin"? Because the Tao is the one that cannot be named, so the Tao is the nameless. The Tao is the origin (ancestor) of everything that's why all things in the universes are constantly changed.
    I personally do not favor the word 'eternal' because I see the Tao is constantly changing, so I prefer to skip it.
    To me, the Tao is just "one pure, changing thing". However, when there is "desire" involved, the Tao begins to manifest itself to different things. These things are different because of the desires they are carrying, so we can named them to describe the differences, and these named things can continue create more and more different things because of the desires, so the named is the mother of all things.
    Well, It's too long already, and I do not have enough room for more ...

    This is the original (I do not know much Chinese - Please do not ask me)

    道 可 道 非 常 道
    名 可 名 非 常 名
    無 名 天 地 之 始

    Just some dump thoughts from me. Please ignore this if you don't like.