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Freedom Founts

Source Materials About Freedom


1. The movement of the Dào
      By contraries proceeds;
    And weakness marks the course
      Of Dào's mighty deeds.


2. All things under heaven sprang from It as existing (and named); that existence sprang from It as non-existent (and not named).

Legge's Comments

去用, 'Dispensing with the Use (of Means);'—with their use, that is as it appears to us. The subject of the brief chapter is the action of the Dào by contraries, leading to a result the opposite of what existed previously, and by means which might seem calculated to produce a contrary result.

In translating par. 2 I have followed Jiāo Hóng, who finds the key to it in ch. 1. Having a name, the Dào is 'the Mother of all things;' having no name, it is 'the Originator of Heaven and Earth.' But here is the teaching of Lǎozǐ:—'If Dào seems to be before God,' Dào itself sprang from nothing.