Analysis of the Passage from Tao Te Ching

The passage under consideration introduces the concept of Tao. First of all, the readers learn that it is transcendent it cannot be named and told therefore, it cannot be cognized, at least by reason. Then, there are two fundamental principles of life nameless and named, mystery and manifestations. Nameless gives birth to heaven and earth, and named is a source of ten thousand things (Lao Tsu lines 3-4). Thus, both principles are active forces of the Universe. This could be understood as dualism, but the seventh line brings both principles to one major source These two spring from the same source (Lao Tsu 7). This source is defined as darkness. The word darkness does not mean evil here it is used not in the meaning of bad but in the meaning of unnamed, uncognized. This darkness is Tao. It is beyond both substance and spirit, beyond heaven and earth. It is darkness within darkness. Probably, it is similar to the Buddhist Nirvana. It is absolute and divine Nothing that is a source for everything. To know it, one needs to abandon all desires Ever desireless, one can see the mystery (Lao Tsu 5).  Desires only distort perceptions and one can see only manifestations (Lao Tsu 6). To learn the mystery of the world, one should sink into darkness within darkness (Lao Tsu 9). Probably, these two darknesses are the world of things and the world of ideas. The mystery lies beyond both of them. So, one should sink into the roots of both sides of life. Absolute rest inside lets to see absolute rest outside the self and, sunk in this darkness, one can get an understanding of what is Tao. Therefore, Tao is an absolute source of everything in the Universe. It is transcendent and eternal, and to know its mystery, one needs to reject all desires.


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