Monday, July 26, 2010

Tao Teh Ching #1 & 2

Tao, as the absolute Way of the universe,
     cannot be conveyed with words.
That which can be conveyed with words is
     merely relative conception.
Although names have been applied to it,
     the absolute Truth is indescribable.
One may designate Nothingness* as the 
     origin of the universe,
And Beingness* as the mother of the 
     myriad things.

From the perspective of Nothingness,
     one may perceive the subtle operation
     of the universe.
From the perspective of Beingness, one
     may distinguish individual things.
Although differently named, Nothingness
     and Beingness are one indivisible
This truth is so subtle.
As the ultimate subtlety, it is the Gate
     of all Wonders.
As soon as the world regards something
     as beautiful, ugliness simultaneously
     becomes apparent.
As soon as the world regards something
     as good, evil simultaneously beomes
In exactly the same manner, existence
     and non-existence give birth to each 
Long and short form each other.
High and low make each other distinguishable.
Tone and voice make each other conspicuous.
Front and back connect each other.

Realizing this, one does not separate
     his being from the absolute nature
     of the universe
Holds no preconceptions and does things
He guides people by practicing the precept
     of silence.
He brings things about but has no desire
     to possess them.
He performs his work but does not rely
     on any form of force.
And when his task is accomplished, he
     lets go of it and seeks no reward
     or recognition.
Because he does not claim credit for 
     himself, his virtuous influence will
* "Nothingness" and "Beingness" refer to the insubstantial and the substantial, the immaterial and the material, spirit and matter.

From The Complete Works of Lao Tzu: Tao Teh Ching & Hua Hu Ching, Translation and Elucidation by Ni Hua-Ching.


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