Tao-te ching > Comments

Definition of the Tao


    The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.

    (Conceived of as) having no name, it is the Originator of heaven
    and earth; (conceived of as) having a name, it is the Mother of all
    (Tao-te ching, chap. 1, James Legge's version)


Tao can not be described. As creator and origin of all the things (chin. wan-wu, the ten-thousand-things) it is ineffable. Moreover, if we have to follow its course, we can't find an enduring and constant way. Everything changes or is affected by the law of change. This is the ancient Taoist world.

Tao can be conceived both with name or noname. With name, it is the mother of ten-thousand-things - without name, it is the father of Heaven and Earth. This division points to the yin-yang principle that supports everything in the Universe.

Note: The word "tao" has many meanings defined by Taoist and Confucians.
See also our paper on the Tao concept

Commentary by Jhian

=> View also more chap. 1 here


<= Back to Tao-te ching section of this site


Home | Courses | Paperstore | PDF | Search | Newsletter | Contact

Copyright Way of Perfect Emptiness, 2018. All rights reserved.