1. The Dào that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Dào. 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.
體道, 'Embodying the Dào.' The author sets forth, as well as the difficulty of his subject would allow him, the nature of the Dào in itself, and its manifestation. To understand the Dào one must be partaker of its nature.
Par. 3 suggests the words of apostle John1, 'He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.' Both the Dào, Lǎozǐ's ideal in the absolute, and its Dé, or operation, are comprehended in this chapter, the latter being the Dào with the name, the Mother of all things. See pages 12, 13 in the Introduction on the translation of the term Dào.
From Qigong Meditation: Small Circulation2
1. Dào, if it can be spoken (described), then it is not the true everlasting Dào. Name, if it can be named, then it is not the true everlasting name.3
2. Nothing, is the beginning of the pre-heaven (Wújí) state, the mother of millions of objects.4
3. Always nothing, wish to see its marvelousness, always existing, wish to see it expand.4
3. Always maintain the state of no desire, so [you] can see its marvelousness.5
4. Dào is the most mysterious of the mysterious, the door (origin) of all marvelousness.6
The quote is from the "Gospel of John", attributed to John the Evangelist. Modern scholars do not generally equate John the Apostle with the gospel author. [Freedom Circle note] ↩︎
Yang, Qigong Meditation: Small Circulation, p. 183. ↩︎
Ibid., p. 50. ↩︎
Ibid., p. 319. ↩︎
Ibid., p. 49. ↩︎