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Tao Te Ching Chapter 25 | Lao-Tzu | Comparative Translations

The Way of Virtue





There was something undefined and complete, coming into existence before Heaven and Earth. How still it was and formless, standing alone, and undergoing no change, reaching everywhere and in no danger (of being exhausted)! It may be regarded as the Mother of

all things.


I do not know its name, and I give it the designation of the Tao (the Way or Course). Making an effort (further) to give it a name I call it The Great.


Great, it passes on (in constant flow). Passing on, it becomes remote. Having become remote, it returns. Therefore the Tao is great; Heaven is great; Earth is great; and the (sage) king is also great. In the universe there are four that are great, and the (sage) king is one of them.


Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Tao. The law of the Tao is its being what it is.

There was something formless and perfect

before the universe was born.

It is serene. Empty.

Solitary. Unchanging.

Infinite. Eternally present.

It is the mother of the universe.

For lack of a better name,

I call it the Tao.


It flows through all things,

inside and outside, and returns

to the origin of all things.


The Tao is great.

The universe is great.

Earth is great.

Man is great.

These are the four great powers.


Man follows the earth.

Earth follows the universe.

The universe follows the Tao.

The Tao follows only itself.




Translated by J. Legge





Translated by Stephen Mitchell
















 

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