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.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Understanding the Tao te Ching Chapter 25: The Greatness of All Things


There is Being that is all-inclusive and that existed before Heaven and Earth. Calm, indeed, and incorporeal! It is alone and changeless!

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.

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.

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

Man is derived from nature, nature is derived from Heaven, Heaven is derived from Dao. Dao is self-derived.

Tao te Ching Chapter 25


What existed the moment before the big bang?  It did not know time, it did not know space or movement.  Does that mean there was nothing there?  The Christians call the force from the time before time God.  The first stanzas of the Bible are very similar to the the first stanza here.

"1 In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep."

The second stanza asserts that the Tao, being unlimited acts without limitation and is the source of all things.

In the third stanza, the author makes a strange statement.  They say, "The Great (tao) is evasive and distant, the distant is ever coming near."  Why do you think the author would describe the Tao as "distant" and "ever coming near" when they in the same chapter make the observation that all things are part of the Tao?

The final two stanzas assert a message that at first seems to disagree with the earlier statements about the ego.    Here the author says that all things are great and possessed of greatness by their nature.  They are all of the Dao and the Dao is great, therefor all of us are great also.  

Knowing that the author believe that serving the ego (asserting greatness) is contrary to the way, how are we to take this new message of greatness?  Can we have greatness without ego?  What does this greatness mean is a world where all things are also suffused with this greatness?  Does this message parallel Jesus' sermon on the mount?  Does it differ? 
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