||We look at it, and we do not see it, and we name it 'the
Equable.' We listen to it, and we do not hear it, and
we name it 'the
Inaudible.' We try to grasp it, and do not get hold
of it, and we
name it 'the Subtle.' With these three qualities, it
cannot be made
the subject of description; and hence we blend them
obtain The One.
|We look at Reason and do not see it; its name is Colorless. We listen to Reason
and do not hear it; its name is Soundless. We grope
for Reason and do not grasp it; its name is Bodiless.
||It is unseen because it is colorless; it is unheard because it is soundless;
when seeking to grasp it, it eludes one, because it
Its upper part is not bright, and its lower part is not obscure.
Ceaseless in its action, it yet cannot be named, and then it again
returns and becomes nothing. This is called the Form of the Formless,
and the Semblance of the Invisible; this is called the Fleeting and
Indeterminable.We meet it and do not see its Front; we follow it, and do not
These three things cannot further be analyzed. Thus they are combined and
conceived as a unity which on its surface is not
clear and in its depth not obscure. Forever and aye
Reason remains unnamable, and again and again
it returns home to non-existence. This is called
the form of the formless, the image of the imageless.
This is called the transcendentally abstruse. In
front its beginning is not seen. In the rear its
Because of these qualities it cannot be examined, and yet they form an essential
unity. Superficially it appears abstruse, but in
its depths it is not obscure. It has been nameless
forever! It appears and then disappears. It is what
is known as the form of the formless, the image of
the imageless. It is called the transcendental, its
face (or destiny) cannot be seen in front, or its
back (or origin) behind.
|| When we can lay hold of the Dao of old to direct the things
of the present day, and are able to know it as it was of old in the
beginning, this is called (unwinding) the clue of Dao.
|| By holding fast to the Reason of the ancients, the present is mastered and the
origin of the past understood. This is called Reason's
||But by holding fast to the Dao of the ancients, the wise man may understand the
present, because he knows the origin of the past. This
is the clue to the Dao.