The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao

The Tao Te Ching
Chapter One


The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things
Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence
Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations
These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders.

Beautiful.  Elegant and mysterious.  Whatever is truly true is beyond our capacity to name, describe and fully comprehend.

In terms of truth that transcends linguistic and religious boundaries, I'm reminded of this:
In the beginning was the dhamma, And the dhamma was with God, And the dhamma was God... The true light that enlightens everyone. 
 - John 1:1 (Sri Lankan translation)
Language matters little.  Truth adapts, as our spirits do.

3 comments:

elly said...

love it. i've always really liked the first line of the tao te ching... it often seems that the second we open our mouths and start declaring things about God, God is this or that, God wants this or that, God doesn't like this or that---the farther we get from the truth.

Ira said...

I sometimes joke that the Tao te Ching is my favorite book of the Bible.

Peter J Walker said...

Elly, that first line is my favorite, too.

Ira, that's hilarious!!

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