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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 25

Representations of the Mystery

Imaging the Mysterious / Describing the Mysterious

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 There was something undefined and complete, coming into existence before Heaven and Earth.
There is a Being wondrous and complete. Before heaven and earth, it was. How calm it is! How spiritual! There is Being that is all-inclusive and that existed before Heaven and Earth. Calm, indeed, and incorporeal! It is alone and changeless!
2 How still it was and formless,
standing alone, and undergoing no change, reaching everywhere and in no danger (of being exhausted)! It may be regarded as the Mother of all things.

Alone it standeth, and it changeth not; around it moveth, and it suffereth not; yet therefore can it be the world's mother.

Everywhere it functions unhindered. It thereby becomes the world's mother. I do not know its nature; if I try to characterize it, I will call it Dao.


I do not know its name, and I give it the designation of the Dao (the Way or Course). Making an effort (further) to give it a name I
call it The Great.

Its name I know not, but its nature I call Reason. Constrained to give a name, I call it the great. The great I call the departing, and the departing I call the beyond. The beyond I call home.

If forced to give it a name, I will call it the Great. The Great is evasive, the evasive is the distant, the distant is ever coming near.


Great, it passes on (in constant flow). Passing on, it becomes remote. Having become remote, it returns. Therefore the Dao is
great; Heaven is great; Earth is great; and the (sage) king is also great. In the universe there are four that are great, and the (sage)
king is one of them.

The saying goes: "Reason is great, heaven is great, earth is great, and royalty also is great. [There are four things in the world that are great, and royalty is one of them.]

Tao is Great. So is Heaven great, and so is Earth and so also is the representative of Heaven and Earth.

5 Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Dao. The law of the Dao is its
being what it is.
Man's standard is the earth. The earth's standard is heaven. Heaven's standard is Reason. Reason's standard is intrinsic. Man is derived from nature, nature is derived from Heaven, Heaven is derived from Dao. Dao is self-derived.
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