Taoistic
TAOISM EXPLAINED

TAOISM

TAO TE CHING

TAO QUOTES

FAKE QUOTES

TAOISTS

CHUANG TZU

TAO THEMES

TAO/DAO



"One must know when it is enough."

Tao Te Ching - Chapter 32

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu.

The Taoist Classic by Lao Tzu
Translated and Explained


32

The Way is ever nameless.

Though simple and subtle,

The world cannot lead it.

If princes and kings could follow it,

All things would by themselves abide,

Heaven and Earth would unite

And sweet dew would fall.

People would by themselves find harmony,

Without being commanded.


As soon as rules were made, names were given.

There are already many names.

One must know when it is enough.

Those who know when it is enough will not perish.


What the Way is to the world,

The stream is to the river and the sea.



All Follow Those Who Follow Tao

This chapter starts with a reminder of what was stated in the very first chapter of the Tao Te Ching: no name does justice to Tao, the Way. Lao Tzu has chosen the term Tao for the great mystery he discusses, but he hurries to add that a name is just a name, and not the thing named – not even an adequate description of it.

       This might seem to be a warning of little significance, but we have a tendency to name things and thereby start to pretend that we understand and control them.

       A lot of our natural science is done like that. We observe a phenomenon, like the apple falling from the tree, and we name it gravity, pretending that thereby, it has become part of our knowledge of the world. Well, we have found mathematical circumstances under which gravity operates, but we still don't know what it is. The name doesn't explain it anymore than its manifestations do. We are still to find out what it really is.

       That's true for many more of our scientific explorations than we would be comfortable to admit. Names are just names, descriptions are just descriptions. A true understanding of what's going on demands fundamental knowledge of how our universe operates, and why. That's still far off.

       This is what Lao Tzu reminds us, with words that seem to contain a sigh. There are indeed already many names. It was true in his time and even more so in ours. We have so many names, but do we really understand much more about the world we live in?

       We would spontaneously say yes, but then again we confuse true knowledge with putting names to phenomena we have observed and catalogued. Even though we have found plenty of mathematical relations between natural phenomena, it still doesn't prove we understand them.

       We observe a lot, but we understand less.

       That's why scientific theory is no more certain than to last until a better theory comes along. Along the way, we just have to do with what we've got, and hope that it will suffice for our applications of it.

       We do quite well. We send rockets to the moon and beyond it. We build big steel vessels that fly a hundred times faster than the birds. We cure deadly diseases, but we also invent new ways of killing more effectively than they ever did. Our science allows us feats that our predecessors would call magic. But it doesn't mean we understand the universe and our place in it any more profoundly.

       Lao Tzu calls for a humble search of what is the real essence, not just superficial manifestations of it. That call is just as relevant today as it was more than two thousand years ago.


Prime Mover

Albert Einstein dreamed about a united field theory in which all of the forces at play in the universe would be combined into one fundamental energy, explaining just about everything. We all have the same dream of finding the ultimate why, what Aristotle called the Prime Mover, a first cause in the world, something that started everything and therefore still holds the key to it all.

       That's what Lao Tzu calls Tao, readily admitting that it's beyond his understanding, although he has a lot to say about how it operates.

       Tao is Aristotle's Prime Mover, Einstein's united field theory, and the incentive of the creator god in the religions. We could also call it the condition igniting the Big Bang. So many names.

       Lao Tzu is practical. Instead of struggling to understand what might lie far beyond our capacity, let's be perceptive to the patterns and follow the directions pointed out by how nature behaves. Even though the essence of Tao remains a mystery, we can follow its path. If we do, the world will treat us gently and all its creatures will prosper.

© Stefan Stenudd.

NEXT



Tao Te Ching Explained


Preface


Introduction


Literature


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 Explained


James Legge's Tao Te Ching


Aleister Crowley's Tao Te Ching


The 1st Chapter of Tao Te Ching in 76 Versions


Lao Tzu - Legendary Author of Tao Te Ching





My Taoism Books:


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

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

       More about the book here.


Tao Quotes - the Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Book 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.

       More about the book here.



My Other Websites:


I Ching Online

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 ancient and modern life force beliefs all over the world explained.


Creation Myths

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


Taoismen på svenska


Other Books by Stefan Stenudd:


Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Cosmos of the Ancients

The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


QI - increase your life energy. Book 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. Book 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.


Sunday Brunch with the World Maker. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. Sunday Brunch with the World Maker

Fiction. A brunch conversation slips into the mysterious, soon to burst beyond the realm of possibility. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Stefan Stenudd, Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction. Stefan Stenudd


About me

I'm a Swedish author 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 ancient thought and mythology. Click the image to get to my personal website.

Contact