Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1 BHT

An addition to the BHT, from the Tao Te Ching.

An addition to the Bryce Haymond Translation (BHT), from the first chapter of the Tao Te Ching, also known as “The Book of the Way and of Virtue.” It is a classic Chinese text attributed to the sage Laozi, written around 400 BC. (The photo above is ink on silk manuscript of the Tao Te Ching, 2nd century BC, unearthed from Mawangdui.)

The “Word” that can be spoken
is not the absolute Word.
Just like a name for a thing
is not the thing-in-itself.

As nameless, it is the
source of the Kosmos.
When named, it gives birth to
all things that are.

Free of sense perceptions
we realize these spiritual depths.
Trapped in the senses
we only see the surface forms.

These dualities are ultimately One
but manifest as different names.
As One we say they are a mystery
the Mystery of mysteries.

It is the door to all depths.

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3 thoughts on “Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1 BHT

  1. I recognize that we are very much on the same page, each with our unique insights and perspectives and would be glad to continue exchanging with you and see your website develop.

  2. I am most grateful ,Bryce, for your sharing your thought/interpretation/integration from the Tao Te Ching. The Hindus say “Netti, Netti” I am not this, I am not….. that in regards to themselves and the TAT (THE ONE) Tat Tuam Asi You are It and It is You. Both One and the Same…My favorite Hindu Upanishad 3000 years ago or so is: ” He who knows it doesn’t know it…He who doesn’t think he knows It…Knows It.” William James, the Father of American Psychology listed the characteristics of the Mystics; He says they have a HEURISTIC quality (never ending exploratory tone) and they all try to express the INEFFABLE… the Divine.

  3. “He who speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak.” — Lao Tzu

    The universe is infinite, ever-changing manifestations of that which cannot be described, but who some call God. The manifestations are interdependent; that is, no seemingly discrete/finite manifestation exists independently as the manifestations are essentially different aspects of one thing, God. As all things are temporary and interdependent, any descriptions are illusionary as what’s described no longer exists and not representative of the whole of which it is an infinitesimal part. Thus, he who knows this truth does not speak beyond describing anything and everything as it is what it is whatever it is which is akin to not speaking. He who does speak is on a fool’s errand as he does not know this truth.

    He who experiences and reflects on his experiences can come to know the nature of things. The more he knows, the more he desires to know. However, as he cannot experience and reflect when he is speaking, he chooses not to speak. He who speaks does not know and has no desire to know.

    He who knows knows that his perspective is one of infinite perspectives and that what something is is at best approximated by an amalgamation of many perspectives. Hence, knowing his perspective is limited and unlikely more knowledgeable than the average perspective, he doesn’t speak. He who speaks doesn’t realize this truth.

    As speaking and knowing are mutually exclusive, we need to choose whether we want to know or to speak. To know is to connect with the universe through our senses. Connected and undistracted by our mind, we experience our oneness with everything. Unlike knowing, speaking is the mind expressing itself to get the universe’s attention. As such, speaking presumes we and the universe are separate entities, the antithesis of oneness. He who knows choses oneness (knowing) instead of separateness (speaking); thus, he does not speak. As he who speaks is separate from the universe, he does not know the universe.

    We know all there is to know upon opening our eyes, awakening. What we know we cannot describe because our eyes can see but cannot speak. Thus, he who knows does not speak. When we speak, our mind is talking. However, our mind’s perception of reality is more a function of our mind than reality. Thus, he who speaks does not know.

    We come to know through direct experience. Speaking can artificially simulate an experience but the simulation is just a shadow of an experience. Thus, he who knows knows the futility of speaking, so he does not speak. He who only knows through artificial simulation does not truly know, so he speaks.

    He who speaks thinks he knows. He who does not speak knows nothing, the essence of everything before it’s something. There’s not much he can say about that.

    Or, simply, “Nothing is known. There is nothing to speak about.” — Pamela Mills

    Or, “[I]f you have seen the truth you will know that it is beyond words and so cannot be described using words. If you have not seen the truth you will think you can describe it adequately in words and will try to do so.” — Andria Nix

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