This blog is an interpretation of the Tao te Ching "Tao Virtue Book" which is attributed to Laozi "Lao Tze" a Chinese philosopher who lived circa 600 b.c.

Please remember always that this is the description of the Tao and not the experience of the living Tao. Hopefully, this blog will not serve as analysis or commentary but as a window into the Tao. You are encouraged to disagree with this interpretation, involve yourself in self-study, and ultimately leave all concepts behind and so experience the living Tao.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Understanding the Tao te Ching Chapter 4: 無源


The Dao appears to be emptiness but it is never exhausted. Oh, it is profound! It appears to have preceded everything. It dulls its own sharpness, unravels its own fetters, softens its own brightness, identifies itself with its own dust.

Oh, it is tranquil! It appears infinite; I do not know from what it proceeds. It even appears to be antecedent to the Lord.

To Te Ching Chapter 4


This short chapter can be interpreted to say that while we can measure any particular unit of energy, solar, atomic, etc.  the cause or source of energy itself is quite unmeasurable and apparently without bounds.  This assessment seems consistent with physicists assessment of the first moment of the universe, they describe the beginning of the elements of the universe that we know, including the inflation of the universe itself.  While there could not have been a moment before the first moment, all of the universe that we know came from some primal, formless, timeless force.  Here is a gateway to the Tao.

The final line of this verse is sometimes interpreted, "This appears to have been present even before God."  It is more likely that this line refers to the rightful rule of men as described by Confucius.  This school of thought described the rule of the Emperor as a reflection of the divine order of the Universe.  It is likely that Laozi is here suggesting that the nature of Tao precedes man as an instrument of the divine.
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