Ineffability or Genesis
The Way that can be told of is not an unvarying way;
The names that can be named are not unvarying names.
It was from the Nameless that Heaven and Earth sprang;
The named is but the mother that rears the ten thousand creatures,
each after its kind.
(chap. 1, tr. Waley)
The Mysterious Female
- The Valley Spirit never dies
- It is named the Mysterious Female.
- And the doorway of the Mysterious Female
- Is the base from which Heaven and Earth sprang.
- It is there within us all the while;
- Draw upon it as you will, it never runs dry. (chap. 6, tr. Waley)
ReturningIn Tao the only motion is returning;
The only useful quality, weakness.
For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,
Being itself is the product of Not-being. "
(chap. 40, tr. Waley)
- We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
- But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends.
- We turn clay to make a vessel;
- But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends.
- We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
- And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends.
- Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.
- (chap. 11, tr. Waley)
Knowledge and humility
- Knowing others is wisdom;
- Knowing the self is enlightenment.
- Mastering others requires force;
- Mastering the self requires strength;
- He who knows he has enough is rich.
- Perseverance is a sign of will power.
- He who stays where he is endures.
- To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.
- (chap. 33, tr. Feng and English)