Wednesday, February 23, 2011

32: All Follow Those Who Follow Tao


The Way is ever nameless.
Though simple and subtle,
The world cannot lead it.
If princes and kings could follow it,
All things would by themselves abide,
Heaven and Earth would unite
And sweet dew would fall.
People would by themselves find harmony,
Without being commanded.
As soon as rules were made, names were given.
There are already many names.
One must know when it is enough.
Those who know when it is enough will not perish.
What the Way is to the world,
The stream is to the river and the sea.

All Follow Those Who Follow Tao

This chapter starts with a reminder of what was stated in the very first chapter of the Tao Te Ching: no name does justice to Tao, the Way. Lao Tzu has chosen the term Tao for the great mystery he discusses, but he hurries to add that a name is just a name, and not the thing named – not even an adequate description of it...

Here is my full commentary on this Tao Te Ching chapter:
Tao Te Ching Chapter 32 Translation and Commentary

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