That which can be perceived is not the timeless That.
That which can be named is not the nameless One.

The source of heaven and earth is without form or substance.
Naming creates the ten thousand things.

When desire is absent, Mystery is obvious.
When desire occurs, Creation unfolds.

Mystery and Creation arise from the same source.
The source is emptiness.
Void within Void.
The realm of Tao.


Judging beauty creates ugliness.
Defining good creates evil.
All and Void arise together.

Hard and soft,
long and short,
high and low,
sound and silence,
now and then.
Opposites exist because of each other.

Therefore, the sage acts by not-doing, and teaches no-thought.
The ten thousand things arise and vanish without him.

He works without motive, indifferent to outcome.
Because there is no doer, his actions are timeless.


Bestowing honor breeds ambition.
Hoarding treasure invites thieves.
Displaying objects of desire
sows the seeds of discontent.

Therefore, the sage governs
by emptying minds and filling bellies,
by weakening wills and strengthening bones.

He extols the virtues of desireless unknowing,
and keeps intellects off balance.

When not-doing is accomplished,
nothing remains undone.


Tao is hollow emptiness.

The substance of All,
it is absent of substance.
Dimensionless Void,
it is the source of the ten thousand things.

It blunts sharpness,
unravels entanglements,
diffuses brightness,
merges with dust.

Dark, invisible, it only seems to be.
It is the child of No-thing
and the father of God.


The realm of heaven and earth is indifferent
to the myriad creatures.
They appear as straw dogs.

The sage is indifferent to the multitudes of men.
They appear as straw dogs.

The realm of heaven and earth is like a bellows,
both empty and full.
Moving, it brings forth, endlessly.

More words, less understanding.
Hold fast to the core.


The urge of creation is ceaseless.
It is called the Dark Mother.

The womb of the Dark Mother
is the ground of heaven and earth.

Timeless, imperceptible, it continues ever-present.
Endless use does not touch it.


The realm of heaven and earth is everlasting.

Why is it everlasting?
Because it is not conscious of itself.
Having no thought of being,
it never is not.

Like this, the sage forgets himself,
so he is always present.

Without self-concern, the self is eternal.
When self-interest subsides, fulfillment happens.