Tao Te Ching

Verse One

The tao that can be described
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be spoken
is not the eternal Name.

The nameless is the boundary of Heaven and Earth. The named is the mother of creation.

Freed from desire, you can see the hidden mystery.  By having desire, you can only see what is visibly real.

Yet mystery and reality
emerge from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness born from darkness.
The beginning of all understanding.

About the Verse:

This verse sets the tone for the entire Tao Te Ching by introducing the concept of the Tao, which is the fundamental principle of the universe according to Taoist philosophy. The verse emphasizes that the Tao is ineffable and beyond words and concepts. Any attempt to describe or name the Tao is insufficient because it is something that exists beyond our human understanding.

The verse also introduces the idea that the Tao is the source of all things in the universe, but it is nameless and formless. It is the unnamed, unmanifested potential that gives rise to everything that exists. On the other hand, the named and manifested things are the ten thousand things that exist in the world, including all living beings and material objects.

The verse concludes with the idea that one can only truly understand the Tao by letting go of desires and attachments. By doing so, one can see the mystery of the Tao and connect with its infinite wisdom. However, if one is consumed by desires and attachments, they can only see the manifestations of the Tao and not the true essence of it.

Overall, verse 1 teaches us that the Tao is something that is beyond our limited human understanding and can only be experienced through letting go of desires and attachments. It sets the foundation for the Taoist philosophy and invites us to explore the mysteries of the universe in a humble and open-minded way.



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