Taoism is the gentle philosophy of life founded by the ancient Taoists Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu.

Stefan Stenudd

Stefan Stenudd
About me
I'm a Swedish writer and aikido instructor. In addition to fiction, I've written books about Taoism and other East Asian traditions. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching the thought patterns in creation myths. My personal website:


Introduction to Taoism, and the distinction between Taoist philosophy and Taoist religion.

Lao Tzu

The first Taoist. The legendary founder of Taoism.

Tao Te Ching

The ancient source text of Taoism - each chapter explained.

The book

Tao Te Ching, the printed book and ebook. What it contains and how to get it.

Chapter 1 Versions

The first chapter of Tao Te Ching in 76 English versions.

James Legge's Tao Te Ching

The complete Tao Te Ching translation from 1891 by James Legge.

Aleister Crowley's Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching interpreted by the occultist Aleister Crowley, from 1923.

Chuang Tzu

The great 4th century BC Taoist Chuang Tzu and his writing.

Famous Taoists

The most prominent ones of the ancient Taoists.

Tao or Dao

What's with the spelling of Chinese words?

Tao Quotes

388 quotes from the Tao Te Ching sorted by topics.

Tao Themes

The 81 chapters of Tao Te Ching sorted by themes.

Taoist blog

All the 81 chapters of the Tao Te Ching in a blog, where you can comment.


How to get in touch with me.

My Other Websites:

The 64 hexagrams of the Chinese classic I Ching and what they mean in divination. Try it online for free.

Qi Energy Exercises
The ancient Chinese life energy qi (chi) explained, with simple instructions on how to exercise it.

Life Energy
The many life force beliefs all over the world, ancient and modern, explained.

Creation Myths
Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal.

Taoism in Swedish
Taoismen på svenska

Books by Stefan Stenudd:

Cosmos of the Ancients, by Stefan Stenudd.
Cosmos of the Ancients
The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods, by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

QI - increase your life energy, by Stefan Stenudd.
Qi - Increase your life energy
The life energy qi (also chi or ki) explained, with exercises on how to awaken, increase, and use it. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

Aikido Principles, by Stefan Stenudd.
Aikido Principles
Basic Concepts of the Peaceful Martial Art
Aikido principles, philosophy, and basic ideas. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

"It returns to non-existence."

Tao Te Ching 14

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu.
The Lao Tzu Taoist Classic Translated and Explained


Look, it cannot be seen,

So it is called invisible.

Listen, it cannot be heard,

So it is called soundless.

Touch, it cannot be caught,

So it is called elusive.

These three cannot be examined,

So they unite into one.

Above it there is no light,

Below it there is no darkness.

Endlessness beyond description.

It returns to non-existence.

It is called the shapeless shape,

The substance without form.

It is called obscurely evasive.

Meet it and you do not see its beginning,

Follow it and you do not see its end.

Hold on to the ancient Way to master the present,

And to learn the distant beginning.

This is called the unbroken strand of the Way.

Obscure Tao

Now and then Lao Tzu marvels at the splendid mystery of Tao, the Way, portraying it with obvious amazement, as if intoxicated by it. This is one such occasion.

Here, he focuses on its obscurity as well as its infinity. The latter is the reason for the former. Because Tao has no limit in time or space, it cannot be described, not even perceived.

It's the law out of which the universe emerged. It still rules the world and everything in it. So, nothing comes before or after it. Nothing is outside of its reach.

Because it's the natural law that everything must obey, you need to follow it to manage your life. That's the only way to get some kind of bearing on your life – learning the inner workings of life itself. Then you can avoid futile struggle against the nature of things.

If your path is in accordance with Tao, the Way, you can travel through life with ease. Otherwise, it's bound to take you nowhere.

As you get to know the workings of Tao, you also perceive its role in the world as a whole, all the way back to the moment of its emergence. One thing led to the next, which led to the next. That first thing was Tao, and it's still the fundamental cause to every effect. Tao brought order to chaos, whereby the world was shaped. Without Tao it would return to shapeless chaos.

The unbroken strand is the eternity of Tao, from before the world emerged and forever on. Even if the world would collapse, Tao would remain the principle by which the world could emerge anew. Our world is such that everything perishes. But the laws by which things appear and disappear, including the universe itself, remain undamaged. The unbroken strand is the endless procreation according to the law of Tao.

© Stefan Stenudd.


Lao Tzu, the legendary writer of Tao Te Ching.

Lao Tzu (Lao Zi), the legendary writer of Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing), left the Chinese emperor's court on a water buffalo, after growing tired of politics. He wrote the Tao Te Ching on the request of a border guard. Here is my translation and explanation, chapter by chapter. From the book:
Tao Te Ching: The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained

The 81 Chapters of Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
translated and explained by Stefan Stenudd.
  1   2   3  4   5   6  7   8   9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45
46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54
55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63
64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72
73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81

Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained, by Stefan Stenudd.

Tao Te Ching - the Book

Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Chinese Taoist philosophy classic by Lao Tzu translated, and each of the 81 chapters extensively commented. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

Tao Quotes - the Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. By Stefan Stenudd.

Tao Quotes

The Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. 389 quotes from the foremost Taoist classic, divided into 51 prominent topics. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.