THE FEMININE TAO 
CHAPTER ONE
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Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) (Intro) : 32 Nature Mystic Chapters :
gender-inclusive translations, commentary, calligraphy, seal scripts :

01, 04, 06, 07, 08    09, 10, 11, 15, 21, 22, 23    26, 28, 29, 32, 35,
40, 43, 45, 47    48, 49, 51, 52, 56, 63, 67    70, 73, 77, 79.
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Hymning the Tao Te Ching
(Literal 81 Chapter Chinese-English Study Version)
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Hyperlinked Bibliography: Women Authors on the Tao Te Ching
The Woman Crookback (Chuang-Tzu)
Picturing Tao (above): "Box Turtle Always at Home"
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Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Charles Muller (1997)

The Tao that can be followed is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name. [*]

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) The way (2) that can be (3) a way (4) is not (5) the common / constant (6) way.
(7) The name (8) that can be (9) a name (10) is not (11) the common / constant (12) name.

The nameless is the origin of heaven and earth
While naming is the origin of the myriad things.
Therefore, always desireless, you see the mystery
Ever desiring, you see the manifestations.
These two are the same —
When they appear they are named differently.

Their sameness is the mystery,
Mystery within mystery;

The door to all marvels.
---
(") KWOK PUI-LAN says:
"The Chinese learned early on from Laozi that the ever-changing Dao cannot be expressed in language. Very often, meaning can only be intuited but cannot be transmitted by words. One needs to read between the lines and imagine what is not said. In art as in life, subtlety is lost when everything is expressed. In a Chinese traditional painting, the artist would take care to leave white spaces and not fill the whole surface with black ink."
[*] ZEN MASTER DOGEN (13th c.) (DOTOKU) says:
"Do not loathe wordlessness for it is expression par excellence."
[*] ZEN MASTER DOGEN (13th c.) (BUKKOJOJI) says:
"You experience and penetrate the inaudible when words are uttered."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Isabella Mears (1916/1922)

Tao that can be expressed
is not the Everlasting Tao.
The Name that can be named
is not the Everlasting Name.

The Name, in its inner aspect,
is Life-spring of Heaven and Earth.
The Name, in its outer aspect,
is Mother of all created things.

Therefore: —
To perceive the mystery of Life,
desire always to reach the innermost.
To perceive the limitations of things,
desire always to possess them.

These two aspects of Life are One.
In their out-come they become
different in Name      
      but in their depth, still deeper yet,
is the Door of many mysteries.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Gia Fu Feng & Jane English (1972)

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.

---
[*] ROWENA PATTEE KRYDER says:
"The essence of spiritual traditions can never be lost,
for the 'Way' is perennial wisdom, eternal truth."
---
[**] HERACLITUS (Greek philosopher) says:
"Nature loves to hide."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by P. J. Maclagan (1898-99)

1.
A Tao that can be tao-ed is not lasting Tao.
A name that can be named is not lasting name.

2.
Name-less-the beginning of Heaven and Earth.
Named-the mother of all things.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) without (2) a name (3) heaven (4) and earth (5) the same's (6) origin
(7) having (8) a name (9) ten thousand (10) things (11) the same's (12) mother

3.
So, we must be always without desires to see the mystery:
If we always have desires we will see its limits:

4.
These two are the same; [*]
once there is out-going, then there is difference of name.

As the same they are called obscure.
The obscure of the obscure is the gate of all mysteries.

---
[*] JOHN CHALMERS (1868) comments:
"Emerson makes Socrates say, 'All my good is magnetic, and
I educate, not by lessons, but by going about my business.'
In his essay on Compensation he has also expanded the idea
of Lau-tsze, that 'an inevitable dualism bisects nature.'"

Chinese Character Tao 道, Way, Path
TAO (道 = Way, Road, Path)
Pictograph = Movement Ahead
"The gateway of Tao's manifold secrets."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Kari Hohne (2009)

The Tao that can be spoken of is not the constant Tao.
The name that can be named is not the constant name.

The nameless is the beginning of life.
It is the mother of the ten thousand things.

Remove your desires and you will see the mystery.
Be filled with desire
And you will see only the manifestation.

These two are the same
yet, they diverge in nature
as they issue forth.

Being the same, they are the source
but the source remains a mystery.
Mystery upon mystery,
The gateway of Tao's manifold secrets.
---


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Stephen Mitchell (1988)

The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnameable 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. [**]

---
[*] ZEN MASTER DOGEN (13th c.)
MAKAHANNYA-HARAMITSU, [on "thusness"] says:
"'Form is emptiness and emptiness is form,' that is,
form is form and emptiness is emptiness."
---
[**] STEPHEN MITCHELL comments:
"In order to understand, we have to remain
in the darkness of not knowing."
---
[**] EMILY DICKINSON says:
"'Come unto me' begins in every place."


Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Ursula K. Le Guin (1998)

The way you can go
isn't the real way.
The name you can say
isn't the real name.

Heaven and earth
begin in the unnamed:
name's the mother
of the ten thousand things.

So the unwanting soul
sees what's hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.

Two things, one origin,
but different in name,
whose identity is mystery.
Mystery of all mysteries!
The door to the hidden.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Tolbert McCarroll (1982)

The Tao that can be spoken of 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 name is the mother of the ten thousand things.

Send your desires away and you will see the mystery.
Be filled with desire
and you will see only the manifestation.

As these two come forth they differ in name.
Yet at their source they are the same.
This source is called a mystery.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) these (2) two (3) things (4) together as one (5) come to be (6) though (7) different (8) in name
(9) their oneness (10) called (11) the same's (12) darkness

Darkness within darkness,
the gateway to all mystery.

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by R. B. Blakney (1955)

There are ways but the Way is uncharted;
There are names but not nature in words:
Nameless indeed is the source of creation
But things have a mother and she has a name.

The secret waits for the insight
Of eyes unclouded by longing; [*]
Those who are bound by desire
See only the outward container.

These two come paired but distinct
By their names.
Of all things profound,
Say that their pairing is deepest,
The gate to the root of the world. [**]

---
[*] EMILY DICKINSON says:
"Not 'Revelation' – 'tis – that waits,
But our unfurnished eyes –"

---
[**] ISABELLA MEARS (1922) comments:
              "The first chapter of the Tao Teh King may be regarded as prologue of the book. In it the principles of the Unseen and Seen are clearly defined: Tao, Life, Source of Life, and Tao which can be named, Mother of all existing beings, later in the book named Teh, or manifestation of Life; — these are the two themes upon which the book is built. The two are complementary, one is not praised at expense of the other...In seeking the Inner Life, we are more and more brought into the depths of its mystery. In seeking the outer, we are constantly brought up against its limitations. In seeking the Inner in and through the Outer, we find that the Source is One, we are led by degrees into deeper Mystery, into fuller realization of Truth."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Ellen M. Chen (1989)

Tao that can be spoken of,
Is not the Everlasting Tao.
Name that can be named,
Is not the Everlasting name.

Nameless, the origin of heaven and earth;
Named, the mother of ten thousand things.
      Alternate,
      Non-being, to name the origin of
            heaven and earth;
      Being, to name the mother of
            ten thousand things.

Therefore, always without desire,
In order to observe the hidden mystery;
Always with desire,
In order to observe the manifestations.
      Alternate,
      Therefore, by the Everlasting Non-Being,
      We desire to observe its hidden mystery;
      By the Everlasting Being,
      We desire to observe the manifestations.

These two issue from the same origin,
though named differently.
Both are called the dark.
Dark and even darker,
The door to all hidden mysteries. [*]

---
[*] ELLEN M. CHEN says: "The Tao Te Ching does not aim at a systematic exposition; its every uttering reflects the entire Taoist philosophy in a nutshell... The vision of the dark is obviously the language of the mystics. Moving backward to the dark and darker, or the origin of origins, we enter the door to all hidden secrets."

Chinese Character Chang, 常, Common, Constant
COMMON (常)
  (Ordinary, Constant, Eternal = Chang)  
Pictograph: Cloth upheld (Banner)
"The way that can be regarded as Way
is not an ordinary way."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Richard Gotshalk (2007)

The way that can be regarded as Way is no ordinary Way;
the names that can be regarded as her names are not ordinary names.

As source of the ten-thousand things, she is nameless;
it is as 'mother(er)' of those things that she has her name.

It is ever by being desireless that we behold the hidden inwardness of her creatures;
it is ever by having desire that we behold their bounded outwardness.

These two sides to each creature come forth united;
the unity of those sides, one may call a mystery.
The mystery of mysteries, however, is that gateway through which
the hidden inwardness of each and all comes forth.

---

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching / Chapter One in Seal Script
(Zhuanshu 篆文, based on Wang Pi / Wang Bi Version)
Seal script for Daodejing / Tao Te Ching Chapter 1
Chapter 1 Seal Script & Interlinear English
TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) The way (2) that can be (3) a way (4) is not (5) the common / constant (6) way.
(7) The name (8) that can be (9) a name (10) is not (11) the common / constant (12) name.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) without (2) a name (3) heaven (4) and earth (5) the same's (6) origin
(7) having (8) a name (9) ten thousand (10) things (11) the same's (12) mother

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) Therefore (2) commonly (3) without (4) desire (5) thus (6) to see (7) the (8) mystery [Tao]
(9) commonly (10) with (11) desire (12) thus (13) to see (14) the (15) manifestation [Te]

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) these (2) two (3) things (4) together as one (5) come to be (6) though (7) different (8) in name
(9) their oneness (10) called (11) the same's (12) darkness

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) darkness (2) the same's (3) again (4) darkness
(5) of all (6) mystery (7) the same's (8) gateway

 
Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Eduard Erkes (1945/1949)
(HO-SHANG-KUNG ver.)

The Tao that can be discussed
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 all things.
Always without desires,
thereby one beholds its secret.
Always having desires, thereby one
sees its return.      
These two are of the same origin
but different in name.      
Together they are called the dark one. [*]
The one still darker than the dark one.
The gate of every mystery. [**]

---
[*] HO-SHANG-KUNG [an ancient commentator] says:
"The dark one is heaven. [...] In heaven
there is another heaven."
---
[**] THOMAS CLEARY says:
"There is an ancient maxim defining the common
denominator of all Buddhism in effect as liberation,
first liberation from bondage,
then liberation into freedom."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by John Hsu (2007)

The way (dao) that can be conveyed [*]
is not the eternal way.
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 all things.

The eternal nonbeing
will show its wonder.
The eternal being
will show its marvel.

These two come from the same source,
      but differ in name.
Together they are called "mystery."
The mystery of mysteries
is the gateway of all wonders.

---
[*] JOSEPH HSU comments:
"While the first dao is a noun meaning 'the way,' the second dao is a verb, meaning to "say, speak, talk or tell." To preserve this linguistic characteristic to some extent, I have translated the sentence the way I have."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Chao-Hsiu Chen (2004)

The Tao that can be named is not
the eternal Tao.      

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

The Nameless is the beginning
of Heaven and Earth.      

The Named is the mother of all creatures.

Observe the mysteries of the Tao
without longing.      

Survey its appearance with desire.

Both mysteries and appearance come
from the same origin      
but wear a different name; they are enigmatic.

The greatest mystery is the gate to
all mysteries. [*]      

---
[*] EMILY DICKINSON says:
"Life is the finest secret...With that sublime
exception I had not clandestineness."

Chinese Character 母, Mu, Mother
MOTHER (母=Mu)
Pictograph: Woman with dots,
indicating breasts
"The named is the mother of the myriad things."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
Agnieszka Solska (2008)

The Tao you can tell is not the true Tao.
The names you can name are not
      the true names.
The nameless is the origin of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of the myriad things.
Always desireless you can see its very essence.
Always desiring you can see its outer edge.
The source of these two are the same
Yet they are differently named.
They are called the mystery:
Mystery upon mystery
The gateway to the essence of all.

---

Chinese Character 徼, Jiao, Appearance
APPEARANCE / MANIFESTATION
FORM / FRONTIER (徼=Jiao)
Pictograph = Go Around the Border
Tao = "Always in terms of Being,
One contemplates its [manifested] forms."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Sandra A. Wawrytko and Charles Wei-hsun Fu (2005)

The tao that can be taoed is not the enduring Tao;
The name that can be named is not the enduring Name.
As No-thingness [Tao] is named the origin of Heaven and Earth;
As Being [Tao] is named the mother of the Ten Thousand Things.
Thus, always in terms of No-thingness,
One contemplates its [hidden] wonders;
Always in terms of Being,
One contemplates its [manifested] forms.
These two spring forth from the same [source],
And yet they differ in name.
Both are called "profoundly dark;"
Profoundly dark and ever profoundly dark,
The gateway to infinite wonders. [*]

---
[*] LU JI (Wen Xuan) says:
"Impose on empty nonbeing to ask forth being,
Knock on deepest silence in search of sound."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Holly Roberts (2005)

The Tao that can be talked about is not
the eternal Tao.      
The name that can be named
is not its eternal name.
Non-existence is the origin of Heaven and Earth.
Existence is the mother of all creation.
Non-existence is perpetual.
One seeks to understand its wonders.
Existence is continuous.
One longs to understand its meaning.
Both are of the same essence.
Differences are merely in form.
Some consider this profound.
Some call this mysterious.
Beyond these lies a path of understanding
of life's subtle mysteries.

TAO TE CHING SEAL SCRIPT
(1) darkness (2) the same's (3) again (4) darkness
(5) of all (6) mystery (7) the same's (8) gateway

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Livia Kohn (1993)

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 origin of heaven and earth;
The named is the mother of the myriad beings. [*]

Always remain free from desires —
And you can see its wonder.
Always cherish desires —
And you can only observe its outcome.

Both these develop together
But have different names;
They are part of the mystery.

Mysterious and more mysterious —
The gate of all that’s wondrous.

--- CHUNG-YING CHENG says:
To examine the use of language in relation to reality is to take the dao seriously and therefore is the gateway to enter the dao. But to ender the dao is also to put language aside in order to concentrate on concrete and total aspects of the dao. [...] For this reason we have to speak of the dao as both the unspeakable and the speakable and understand how each needs the other.

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Wing-Tsit Chan (1963)

The Tao that can be told of is not the eternal Tao;
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 all things.
Therefore let there always be non-being, so we may see their subtlety,
And let there always be being, so we may see their outcome.
The two are the same,
But after they are produced, they have different names.
They both may be called deep and profound.
Deeper and more profound,
The door to all subtleties!

---

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Red Pine (1996)

The way that becomes a way
in not the immortal Way
the name that becomes a name
is not the immortal Name
the maiden of Heaven and Earth has no name
the mother of all things has a name
thus in innocence we see the beginning
in passion we see the end
two different names [*]
for one and the same
the one we call dark
the dark beyond dark
the door to all beginnings

---
[*] TS'AO TAO-CH'UNG [Taoist nun] says:
"'Two' refers to innocence and passion, or in other words, stillness and movement. Stillness correspond to non-existence. Movement corresponds to existence. Provisionally different, they are ultimately the same. Both meet in darkness."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by J. H. McDonald (1996)

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.

---
[*] JOHN CHALMERS (1868) says:
"Non-existence is named the Antecedent of heaven and earth; and Existence is named the Mother of all things."
---
[**] SUN BU-ER (PU-EHR) [Immortal Sister] says:
"The universe in a grain may rise or it may hide."
---
[**] EMILY DICKINSON says:
"Eclipses suns imply."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by Edmund Ryden (2008)

Of ways you may speak, but not the Perennial Way;
By names you may name, but not the Perennial Name.

The nameless is the inception of the myriad things;
The named is the other of the myriad things.

Therefore,
Be ever without yearning, so as to observe her obscurity;
Be ever full of yearning so as to observe what she longs for.

Both come forth alike and yet are named as opposites,
Alike they are are called 'abstruse.'
Abstruse on abstruse, the gate to all obscurity.

---

Chinese Character 妙, Miao, Mystery
MYSTERY (妙)
(obscure, subtle, wonderful= Miao)
Pictograph = Young woman, maiden
"Be ever without yearning,
so as to observe her obscurity."

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 1
translated by C. Spurgeon Medhurst (1905)

The Tao which can be expressed is not the unchanging Tao;
the name which can be named is not the unchanging name.

The nameless is the beginning of Heaven and Earth;
the mother of all things is the nameable.

Thus, while the eternal non-being leads toward the fathomless,
the eternal being conducts to the boundary.
Although these two (the Tao and its twofold aspect)
have been differently named they come from the same.

As the same they may be described as the abysmal.
The abyss of the abysmal is the gate of all mystery.

---

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