Texts of Taoism
道 德 經
Tâo Teh Ching

道 Tâo
Chapter 1

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

2. (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 things.

3. Always without desire we must be found,
If its deep mystery we would sound;
But if desire always within us be,
Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.

4. Under these two aspects, it is really the same; but as development takes place, it receives the different names. Together we call them the Mystery. Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that is subtle and wonderful.

一 章

道 , 可 道 ,
非 常 道 ;
名 , 可 名 ,
非 常 名 。
無 名 ,
天 地 始 ;
有 名 ,
萬 物 母 。
常 無 ,
欲 觀 其 妙 ;
常 有 ,
欲 觀 其 徼 。
此 兩 者 同 出 而 異 名
同 謂 之 玄 ,
玄 之 又 玄 ,
眾 妙 之 門 。


體 道, 'Embodying the Tâo.' The author sets forth, as well as the difficulty of his subject would allow him, the nature of the Tâo in itself, and its manifestation. To understand the Tâo one must be partaker of its nature.

Par. 3 suggests the words of the apostle John, 'He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.' Both the Tâo, Lâo-dze's ideal in the absolute, and its Teh, or operation, are comprehended in this chapter, the latter being the Tâo with the name, the Mother of all things. See pages 12, 13 in the Introduction on the translation of the term Tâo.