Tao Te Next?

Tao Te Next?

I am wondering what to do with any of these Tao Te responses. Suggestions are welcome.

At this point, I am leaning toward going back through the Tao Te Ching without hewing as closely to the form in which I received it — Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu, translated by Gia-Fu Feng (馮家福 Feng Jia-fu, 1919–1985) and Jane English. This would be a form similar to my Slow-Reading the Gospel of Mark.

Should this come to pass, I hope it will be a better representation of how the ancient images might be received in this day. If you are interested in reading other English translations (at no charge), the largest collection online is at https://terebess.hu/english/tao/gia.html. 

Thank you to those who have read here, especially to those who sent comments and questions. If another blog is begun, it will continue at wildernessurgency.org, along with the blogs about Genesis, Mark, and the Tao Te Ching. Unless you unsubscribe below, you will receive copies of whatever strikes me next.

If you are in the mood for some Holiday Humor, I recommend my brother’s book that has just been published — Not Another Newsletter!: Content Free by Design. It would also make a lovely stocking-stuffer or gift. As they say on the back of the book:

What do you do when you want to send holiday greetings to far-flung friends and family, but you don’t have anything to report on and don’t want to just sign a card? Well, perhaps you sit down once a year and write a letter intended to inform, amuse or maybe even offend friends and family. That’s what the authors did, and so many folks claimed to like it and requested back issues that this book was born. If you’re not informed, amused or offended after reading it, the authors just wasted more paper and ink.

Tao Te – Overview

I am in the process of publishing a book by Thomas D’Alessio that readers here may appreciate. I will send a note when it is available. Below is one of his definitions that may be helpful in your further reflection on the Tao Te verses.

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the great central generating force of Life, the Universe and Everything. The Kosmos, the Cosmos, and the Mikrokosmos. Plus everything in your big backyard, inter-galactically speaking.

Here is Tao One:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name:
This appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.
(translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)

Some definitions:

Tao means Way. Not the way, or a way, just way.

 Tao named is what we know. All of it, every last bit of it. It is the way of knowing, the kataphatic way, the source of ten-thousand things (which is to say, what Douglas Adams called Life, the Universe, and Everything).

Tao nameless, that is, Tao undefined, is what precedes all-that-is, gives rise to all-that-is, sometimes called emptiness or pure empty awareness. Words can only back you up so far and then you just have to let go and rest in it, and then there is no it, no rest, no I.

Ever desireless means always rid yourself of desires (everything clung to must be let go) in order to observe its secrets.

Ever desiring means always allow yourself to have desires (connection is good) in order to observe its manifestations.

Darkness within darkness means we don’t know what we don’t know and there is more in that ocean deep and wide than there is in the teaspoon of what we know, but knowing that we don’t know is a gateway.

If Tao sounds a lot like “you are evolution of carbon to consciousness, of stone into Spirit; you are involution of Spirit into stone, a manifestation of Spirit in time and space, as time and space” that’s because it is. The named and the nameless, all there in you.

If Tao sounds a lot like Spirit or Quality or even Elohim, it’s because it is. All those notions are sincere attempts to describe something that cannot be described. All those terms, and others like them, are a gate, a portal, a doorway, one that we must walk through if we are to avoid becoming error, ignorance, and discard along the Way.

Hearing v. Reading

After moving through Lao Tsu’s 81 insights on “way”, it becomes clear that reading is a surface encounter that is greatly enhanced by hearing/listening. If you did not read aloud or listen to another aural presentation (perhaps with music) there was much left unheard of the ancient voice. Even a computer’s voice aids understanding.

Here is one YouTube that speaks fragments of the Ching (book) of Tao Te:

To follow up on your following here, one option would be to purchase and read aloud the Tao Te Ching of your choice (I ran the translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English–updated translation through my experience and language preferences), but there are many “free” English translations available online at https://terebess.hu/english/tao/_index.html.


Tao Te – 81

true words do not charm
charming words don’t reach truth
good cannot be contended for
those claiming right are not good
the sure have not learned
the learned know they know not

the learned do not settle for the graspable
the more they invest in others the more they have
the more that is given abundantly returns
the Tao of heavens does no earthly harm
the wise proceed without effort