verse for today (*):
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.
(translation by Stephen Mitchell, 1995)
The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao (translation by Derek Lin, 2006)
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things
Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence
Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations
These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders
Zero is the incomprehensible number of truth: Everywhere and nowhere. (translation by Jeremy M. Miller, 2013)
Conceptual Nothingness, though more real than real, is beyond the limits of the human mind.
Zero and Nothingness are full of energy and intelligence, but cannot be described.
From This Nothingness, all of this Creation arose.
The Nothing is Something, but beyond thought.
From this Zero has all we see hear touch smell taste hear ponder come.
Zero is not the zero the seeker thought.
Zero overtakes the one who has dropped the ego.
There are celestial realms, but they are also borne of Nothingness.
The Secret of Nothingness is that it is everything and much more.
*) The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic.
It was written around the 6th century BC by the sage Lao Tzu.
The short text consists of 81 brief chapters, or verses.
Every day we issue a "verse of the day" for contemplation, in two leading English translations, that nevertheless differ substantially, and since December 8th 2013, we have a radically different third translation:
"Nothingness and Zero"
A Post New-Age Approach to Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, published by courtesy of the translator and interpreter.
© Copyright 2013 Jeremy M. Miller. All rights reserved.
Acknowledgments: The hundreds of prior translations, especially that by Arthur Waley.
To Pythagoras, who understood Zero and taught It; and to Chuang Tzu, the ideal poetic student.
The I Ching is based on the number 2, with its 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 (26) = 64 hexagrams.
The Tao Te Ching is based on the number 3, with its 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 81 chapters.
We now offer it in three translations.
Perhaps, when reflecting on the three interpretations, the true meaning will emerge.
These 81 verses simply rotate; every day the next number, and after 81, number 1 will appear again.
This is done deliberately; if you want to read the complete text, you should purchase the resp. translations by Stephen Mitchell, Derek Lin or Jeremy M. Miller below.
(All three available in Kindle edition as well.)
If you missed yesterday's verse, you can still read it at I Ching Online Original (version 2), which is always one day behind.
More books about Tao Te Ching: