Taoism: the Tao te Ching, Lao Tzu, and
Chuang Tzu, Taoist religion
The thing that is called Tao is eluding and vague.
Taoism. Tao Te Ching 21
Vague and eluding, there is in it the form.
Eluding and vague, in it are things.
Deep and obscure, in it is the essence.
The essence is very real; in it are evidences.
From the time of old until now, its manifestations ever remain,
By which we may see the beginnings of all things.
How do I know that the beginnings of all things are so?
The sage clasps the Primal Unity,
Taoism. Tao Te Ching 22
Testing by it everything under heaven.
The way that can be spoken of
Is not the eternal Way;
The name that can be named
Is not the eternal name.
The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth;
The named was the mother of the myriad creatures.
Taoism. Tao Te Ching 1
Hence always rid yourself of desire in order to observe its secrets;
But always allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its
These two are the same
But diverge in name as they issue forth.
Being the same they are called mysteries,
Mystery upon mystery--
The gateway of the manifold secrets.
You look at it, but it is not to be seen;
Its name is Formless.
You listen to it, but it is not to be heard;
Its name is Soundless.
You grasp it, but it is not to be held;
Its name is Bodiless.
These three elude all scrutiny,
And hence they blend and become one.
Its upper side is not bright;
Its under side is not dimmed.
Continuous, unceasing, and unnameable,
It reverts to nothingness.
It is called formless form, thingless image;
It is called the elusive, the evasive.
Confronting it, you do not see its face;
Following it, you do not see its back.
Yet by holding fast to this Way of old,
You can harness the events of the present,
You can know the beginnings of the past--
Here is the essence of the Way.
Taoism. Tao Te Ching 14
Reversion is the action of Tao.
Taoism. Tao Te Ching 40
Weakness is the function of Tao.
All things in the world came from being;
And being comes from non-being.
There was something undifferentiated and yet complete,
Taoism. Tao Te Ching 25
Which existed before heaven and earth.
Soundless and formless, it depends on nothing and does not change.
It operates everywhere and is free from danger.
It may be considered the mother of the universe.
I do not know its name; I call it Tao.
If forced to give it a name, I shall call it Great.
Now being great means functioning everywhere.
Functioning everywhere means far-reaching.
Being far-reaching means returning to the original point.
This Teacher of mine, this Teacher of mine--he passes judgment on
the ten thousand things but he doesn't think himself severe; his
bounty extends to ten thousand generations but he doesn't think
himself benevolent. He is older than the highest antiquity but he
doesn't think himself long-lived; he covers heaven, bears up the
earth, carves and fashions countless forms, but he doesn't think
himself skilled. It is with him alone I wander.
Taoism. Chuang Tzu 6
Tung-kuo Tzu asked Chuang Tzu, "What is called Tao--where is it?"
Taoism. Chuang Tzu 22
"It is everywhere," replied Chuang Tzu.
Tung-kuo Tzu said, "It will not do unless you are more specific."
"It is in the ant," said Chuang Tzu.
"Why go so low down?"
"It is in the weeds."
"Why even lower?"
"It is in a potsherd."
"Why still lower?"
"It is in the excrement and urine," said Chuang Tzu. Tung-kuo gave
"Sir," said Chuang Tzu, "your question does not touch the essential.
When inspector Huo asked the superintendent of markets about the
fatness of pigs, the tests were always made in parts less and less
likely to be fat. Do not insist on any particular thing. Nothing
escapes from Tao. Such is perfect Tao, and so is great speech. The
three words, Complete, Entire, and All, differ in name but are the
same in actuality. They all designate the One."
The spirit of the valley never dies.
Taoism. Tao Te Ching 6
It is called the subtle and profound female.
The gate of the subtle and profound female
Is the root of heaven and earth.
It is continuous, and seems to be always existing.
Use it and you will never wear it out.
The Truth is that which is received from Heaven. By nature it
is the way it is and cannot be changed.
Taoism. Chuang Tzu 31
Tao gave them birth;
The power (te) of Tao reared them,
Shaped them according to their kinds,
Perfected them, giving to each its strength.
Therefore of the ten thousand things there is not one that does not
Tao and do homage to its power. Yet no mandate ever went forth that
accorded to Tao the right to be worshipped, nor to its power the
receive homage. It was always and of itself so.
Taoism. Tao Te Ching 51
Tao never acts, yet nothing is left undone.
Taoism. Tao Te Ching 37
Tao flows everywhere;
Taoism. Tao Te Ching 34
It can go left; it can go right.
The myriad things owe their existence to it,
And it does not reject them.
When its work is accomplished,
It does not take possession.
It clothes and feeds all,
But does not pose as their master.
Ever without ambition,
It may be called Small.
All things return to it as their home,
And yet it does not pose as their master,
Therefore it may be called Great.
Because it would never claim greatness,
Therefore its greatness is fully realized.
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