Chapter 14

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing)
Classic of the Way and Virtue

By Lao Tzu (Laozi)

Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California

Chapter 13     Chapter 15     Index to All the Chapters     Taoism     Cloud Hands Blog



Chapter 14

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu



In Praise of the Profound, Hear or Listen (t'ing); It is Colorless, Silent, and Subtle; Manifestation of the Mystery, See or Seen (chien), Invisible, Clue, Blend or Merge (hun), Shapeless, Non- or Without (wu), Form of the Formless, Soundless or Inaudible (hsi), Something Shapeless, Elusive and Evasive, Ancient or Old or Antiquity (ku), Faceless and Backless, Obtain or Catch (t), Void, Marvelous, Mysterious, Nameless, Evasive or Elusive or Illusory (huang), Secret, Invaluable Thread, Strand or lineage or Tradition (chi), Intangible, Inquire or Scrutiny (chieh), Colorless, Silent, Elusive, Serene, Zenith, One or Unity (yi), Nadir, Front (ying), Back or Rear (hou), Empty, Invisible or Elusive (yi), Nameless, Master or Control (y), Rarefied, Speak or Say (yeh), Present, Look or Perceive (shih), Touch or Grasp (po), Above or Surface or Top (shang), Timeless, Hear or Heard (wn), Name (ming), Image of the Imageless, Head or Face (shou), Bright or Dazzling (chiao), Three (san), Top, Bottom or Below (hsia), Formless or Minute or Fading (wei), Celebration of Mystery, Continuous or Unceasing (shng), Form or Image or Figure (hsiang), The Way Things Are or Nature or World or Path or Universe (Tao, Dao), Returns or Reverts (fu), Now or The Present (chin), Without Existence or Non-Being or Nothingness (wu wu),  贊玄  



"We look at Reason and do not see it; its name is Colorless.
We listen to Reason and do not hear it; its name is Soundless.
We grope for Reason and do not grasp it; its name is Bodiless. 
These three things cannot further be analyzed.
Thus they are combined and conceived as a unity which on its surface is not clear and in its depth not obscure.
Forever and aye Reason remains unnamable, and again and again it returns home to non-existence.
This is called the form of the formless, the image of the imageless.
This is called the transcendentally abstruse.
In front its beginning is not seen.
In the rear its end is not seen. 
By holding fast to the Reason of the ancients, the present is mastered and the origin of the past understood.
This is called Reason's clue." 
-  Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 14 



"What cannot be seen is called evanescent;
What cannot be heard is called rarefied;
What cannot be touched is called minute.
These three cannot be fathomed
And so they are confused and looked upon as one.
Its upper part is not dazzling;
Its lower part is not obscure.
Dimly visible, it cannot be named
And returns to that which is without substance.
This is called the shape that has no shape,
The image that is without substance.
This is called indistinct and shadowy.
Go up to it and you will not see its head;
Follow behind it and you will not see its rear.
Hold fast to the way of antiquity
In order to keep in control the realm of today.
The ability to know the beginning of antiquity
Is called the thread running through the way."
-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 14



"That which may be looked for, but proves invisible, is called the Distant.
That which may be listened for, but proves inaudible, is called Vacancy.
That which may be clutched at, but proves intangible, is called the Subtle.
Words are inadequate thoroughly to examine these three properties; therefore they blend together and become One.
Above, it is not bright; below, it is not dim.
Continuous in endurance, it cannot be named.
In reverting to vacuity it may be called the Form of Formlessness, the Image of the Non-existent; for which reasons it is unsearchable. 
Standing opposite to it, one cannot see its head; following it, one cannot perceive its back.
Obtaining the Tao of ancient times, and applying it as an aid to the methods in vogue at the present day, so that one is able to arrive at a knowledge of its long-past origin, may be called 'Getting the Germ, or Clue, of Tao' "
-  Translated by Frederick Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 14 



"We look at it, and do not see it; it is invisible.
We listen to it, and do not hear it; it is inaudible.
We touch it, and do not feel it; it is intangible.
These three elude our inquiries, and hence merge into one.
Not by its rising, is it bright,
nor by its sinking, is it dark.
Infinite and eternal, it cannot be defined.
It returns to nothingness.
This is the form of the formless, being in non-being.
It is nebulous and elusive.
Meet it, and you do not see its beginning.
Follow it, and you do not see its end.
Stay with the ancient Way
in order to master what is present.
Knowing the primeval beginning is the essence of the Way."
-  Translated by Sanderson Beck, 1996, Chapter 14  




The Complete Works of Lao Tzu: Tao Teh Ching & Hua Hu Ching   Translation and elucidation by Hua Ching Ni
The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu   Translated by Brian Walker
Tao Te Ching  Translated by Arthur Waley
Tao - The Way   Translated by Lionel and and Herbert Giles
Taoism: An Essential Guide   By Eva Wong






"What you don't see when you look
is called the unobtrusive.
What you don hear when you listen
is called the rarefied.
What you don't get when you grasp
is called the subtle.
These three cannot be completely fathomed,
so they merge into one:
above is not bright, below is not dark.
Continuous, unnameable, it returns again to
This is called the stateless state,
the image of no thing;
this is called mental abstraction.
When you face it you do not see its head,
when you follow it you do not see its back.
Hold the ancient Way
so as to direct present existence:
only when you can know the ancient
can this be called the basic cycle of the Way."
-  Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 14



Cloud Hands Blog



"Looked at, but cannot be seen -
That is called the Invisible (yi).
Listened to, but cannot be heard -
That is called the Inaudible (hsi).
Grasped at, but cannot be touched -
That is called the Intangible (wei).
These three elude our inquiries
And hence blend and become One.

Not by its rising, is there light,
Nor by its sinking, is there darkness.
Unceasing, continuous,
It cannot be defined,
And reverts again to the realm of nothingness.

That is why it is called the Form of the Formless,
The Image of Nothingness.
That is why it is called the Elusive:
Meet it and you do not see its face;
Follow it and you do not see its back."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 14 



"talking about the character of the tao source of life
    is fundamentally
talking about the lessons of the tao way of life is
    likewise useless

because the real way is a revealed way

awakened to yourself
only through an imitation
of the way
as yourself

but where are the clues to this awakening

look all around yourself deliberately
and attempt to see the nothing that is
deliberately all around yourself

nothing no thing nothing

if you cannot see it
then you are in its presence
try to listen deliberately
to the space between the sounds
of your deliberate world

if you do not hear anything
then you will be hearing it through its absence

grab hold of something with your hand and let it go
no imagine some things that you cannot grasp
    with either your
hand or mind
then you will surely be holding it

invisible inaudible intangible

the form and function of these three components
    blend together
creating the tao way of life

do not think of it as upper and lower or dark and
    bright or rise and
instead view the miracle as something that is
    continuously moving
unnamable and totally elusive

it is a formless form and a methodless method
that gives birth to an image of no thing

when you confront it
there is no face to look at

when you pursue it
there is no shape to follow

it does not tao talk
it does not tao act

but if you look for the wisdom that it leaves it its
and deal with present realities accordingly

then you will have seized the beginning moment
that is the tao way of living."
-  Translated and interpolated by Reverend Venerable John Bright-Fey, 2006, Chapter 14




Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance  By Alexander Simkins. 
The Tao of Daily Life: The Mysteries of the Orient Revealed  By Derek Lin. 
Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony   By Ming-Dao Deng. 
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices
The Tao of Pooh   By Benjamin Hoff. 
Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life  By Ming-Dao Deng. 
Vitality, Energy, Spirit: A Taoist Sourcebook  Translated by Thomas Cleary. 






"Look for it, you won't see It;
It is called 'fleeting.'
Listen for It, you won't hear It;
It is called 'thin.' 
Grasp at It, You can't get It;
It is called 'subtle.'
These three lines
Are about something that evades scrutiny.
Yes, in it everything blends and becomes one.
Its top is not bring
Its underside is not dim.
Always unnamable,
It runs back to nothingness. 
This is the shape of something shapeless
The form of a nothing
This is elusive and evasive. 
Encountering it, you won't see the front
Following it, you won't see its back.
Keep to the Tao of the ancients
And so manage things happening today.
The ability to know the ancient sources
This is the main thread of Tao."
-  Translated by Michael LaFargue, 1992, Chapter 14  




-  Chinese characters, Chapter 14, Tao Te Ching



shih chih pu chien ming yeh yi. 
t'ing chih pu wn ming yeh hsi.
po chih pu t ming yeh wei.
tz'u san ch pu k'o chih chieh.
ku hun erh wei yi.
ch'i shang pu chiao ch'i hsia pu mei.
shng shng pu k'o ming.
fu kuei y wu wu.
shih wei wu chuang chih chuang.
wu wu chih hsiang.
shih wei hu huang.
ying chih pu chien ch'i shou.
sui chih pu chien ch'i hou.
chih ku chih tao. 
yi y chin chih yu. 
nng chih ku shih.
shih wei tao chi. 
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Chapter 14, Tao Te Ching


Audio Version in Chinese of Chapter 14 of the Tao Te Ching


shi zhi bu jian ming yue yi.
ting zhi bu wen ming yue xi.
bo zhi bu de ming yue wei.
ci san zhe bu ke zhi jie.
gu hun er wei yi.
qi shang bu jiao qi xia bu mei.
sheng sheng bu ke ming.
fu gui yu wu wu.
shi wei wu zhuang zhi zhuang.
wu wu zhi xiang.
shi wei hu huang.
ying zhi bu jian qi shou.
sui zhi bu jian qi hou.
zhi gu zhi dao.
yi yu jin zhi you.
neng zhi gu shi.  
shi wei dao ji.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Chapter 14, Daodejing
shi4  zhi1  bu2  jian4  ming2  yue1  yi2.
ting1  zhi1  bu4  wen2  ming2  yue1 xi1.
bo2  zhi1  bu4  de2  ming2  yue1  wei1.
ci3  san1  zhe3  bu4  ke3  zhi4  jie2.
gu4  hun4  er2  wei2  yi1.
qi2  shang4  bu4  jiao3  qi2  xia4  bu4  mei4.
sheng2  sheng2  bu4  ke3  ming2.
fu4  gui1  yu2  wu2  wu4.
shi4  wei4  wu2  zhuang4  zhi1  zhuang4.
wu2  wu4  zhi1  xiang4.  
shi4  wei4  hu1  huang3.
ying2  zhi1  bu2  jian4  qi2  shou3.
shi2  zhi1  bu2  jian4  qi2  hou4.  
zhi2 gu3  zh1  dao4.
yi3  yu4  jin1  zhi1  you3.
neng2  zhi1  gu3  shi3.
shi4  wei4  dao4  ji4.  
-  Pinyin Romanization (tone numbered), Chapter 14, Daodejing

Dao De Jing Pinyin Romanization (Tone Numbered)
shi4 . zhi1 . bu2 . jian4 , ming2 . yue1 . yi2 
ting1 . zhi1 . bu4 . wen2 , ming2 . yue1 . xi1 
bo2 . zhi1 . bu4 . de2 , ming2 . yue1 . wei1 
ci3 . san1 . zhe3 , bu4 . ke3 . zhi4 . jie2 
gu4 . hun4 . er2 . wei2 . yi1 
qi2 . shang4 . bu4 . jiao3 
qi2 . xia4 . bu4 . mei4 
sheng2 . sheng2 . bu4 . ke3 . ming2 
fu4 . gui1 . yu2 . wu2 . wu4 
shi4 . wei4 . wu2 . zhuang4 . zhi1 . zhuang4 
wu2 . wu4 . zhi1 . xiang4 
shi4 . wei4 . hu1 . huang3* 
ying2 . zhi1 . bu2 . jian4 . qi2 . shou3 
sui2 . zhi1 . bu2 . jian4 . qi2  . hou4 
zhi2 . gu3 . zhi1 . dao4 . yi3 . yu4 . jin1 . zhi1 . you3 
neng2 . zhi1 . gu3 . shi3 
shi4 . wei4 . dao4 . ji4 
-  Daodejing: Pinyin, Seal Script, Standard Characters, Line Numbers, Chapter 14
   Dao De Jing Pinyin Tone Numbered






Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters and English (includes a word by word key) from YellowBridge

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin Romanization (romanization), English and German by Dr. Hilmar Alquiros. 

Laozi Daodejing: Chapters with Chinese characters, seal script, detailed word by word concordance, Pinyin (tone#), German, French and English. 

Chinese and English Dictionary, MDGB

Chinese Character Dictionary

Dao De Jing Wade-Giles Concordance by Nina, Dao is Open

Dao De Jing English and Wade-Giles Concordance by Mike Garofalo

Tao Te Ching in Pinyin Romanization with Chinese characters, WuWei Foundation

Tao Te Ching in Pinyin Romanization

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters and English

Tao Te Ching: English translation, Word by Word Chinese and English, and Commentary, Center Tao by Carl Abbott

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, English, Word by word analysis, Zhongwen

Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition  Chinese characters, Wade-Giles Romanization, and a list of meanings for each character by Jonathan Star 

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters: Big 5 Traditional and GB Simplified

Convert from Pinyin to Wade Giles to Yale Romanizations of Words and Terms: A Translation Tool from Qi Journal

Chinese Characters, Wade-Giles and Pinyin Romanizations, and 16 English Translations for Each Chapter of the Daodejing by Mike Garofalo. 

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin and Wade Giles Romanization spellings, English; a word for word translation of the Guodian Laozi Dao De Jing Version. 

Lao Zi's Dao De Jing: A Matrix Translation with Chinese Text by Bradford Hatcher. 



"What is looked at but not (pu) seen,
Is named the extremely dim (yi).
What is listened to but not heard,
Is named the extremely faint (hsi).
What is grabbed but not caught,
Is named the extremely small (wei).
These three cannot be comprehended,
Thus they blend into one.
As to the one, its coming up is not light,
Its going down is not darkness.
Unceasing, unnameable,
Again it reverts to nothing.
Therefore it is called the formless form,
The image (hsiang) of nothing.
Therefore it is said to be illusive and evasive (hu-huang).
Come toward it one does not see its head,
Follow behind it one does not see its rear.
Holding on to the Tao of old (ku chih tao),
So as to steer in the world of now (chin chih yu).
To be able to know the beginning of old,
It is to know the thread of Tao."
-  Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 2000, Chapter 14 



"We look for it but do not see it:
    we name it "subtle."
We listen for it but do not hear it;
    we name it "rare."
We grope for it but do not grasp it;
    we name it "serene." 
These three cannot be fully fathomed,
They are bound together to make unity.
Of unity,
its top is not distant,
its bottom is not blurred.
Infinitely extended
and unnameable,
It returns to non-entity.
This is called
"the form of the formless,"
"the image of nonentity."
This is called "the amorphous."
Following behind it,
    you cannot see its back;
Approaching it from the front,
    you cannot see its head.
Hold to the Way of today
    to manage the actualities of today
    thereby understanding the primeval beginning.
This is called "the thread of the Way.""
-  Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 14



"Looking at it, you do not see it, you call it Invisible.
Listening to it, you do not hear it, you call it Inaudible.
Touching it, you do not grasp it, you call it Intangible.
These three cannot be described, but they blend, and are One.
Above, it is not bright;
Below, it is not dim;
Unceasingly, unceasingly,
It cannot be called by a Name,
It enters into Form, and returns into Spirit.
That is why it is called Spiritual Form of Form, Spiritual Image of Image.
That is why it is called vague and indeterminate.
Meet it, you cannot see its beginning;
Follow it, and you cannot see its end.
Consider the Tao of Old in order to arrange affairs of Now.
To be able to know the Life-Spring of Old is to give expression to the Thread of the Tao."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 14  




Revealing the Tao Te Ching: In-Depth Commentaries on an Ancient Classic  By Hu Xuzehi
Tao Te Ching  Annotated translation by Victor Mair  
Reading Lao Tzu: A Companion to the Tao Te Ching with a New Translation  By Ha Poong Kim
The Philosophy of the Daodejing  By Hans-Georg Moeller  

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices   By Mike Garofalo

Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation  By Roger T. Ames and David T. Hall
Tao Te Ching on The Art of Harmony   By Chad Hansen. 
The Way and Its Power: Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought   By Arthur Waley






"We look at it, and we do not see it, and we name it 'the Equable.'
We listen to it, and we do not hear it, and we name it 'the Inaudible.'
We try to grasp it, and do not get hold of it, and we name it 'the Subtle.'
With these three qualities, it cannot be made the subject of description;
Hence we blend them together and obtain The One.
Its upper part is not bright, and its lower part is not obscure.
Ceaseless in its action, it yet cannot be named, and then it again returns and becomes nothing.
This is called the Form of the Formless, and the Semblance of the Invisible;
This is called the Fleeting and Indeterminable.
We meet it and do not see its Front; we follow it, and do not see its Back. 
When we can lay hold of the Dao of old to direct the things of the present day,
And are able to know it as it was of old in the beginning,
This is called unwinding the clue of Dao."  
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 14  



"It cannot be seen, so we name it unclear;
It cannot be heard, so we name it indistinct;
It cannot be grasped, so we name it insubstantial.
Incomprehensive: warp and weft of the One.
Beyond light and dark, beyond up and down,
beyond here and there, neither formless or formed,
it cannot be named.
Waxing and waning, re-turning itself,
its empty vast no-thing original face.
Endless beginning!
Not before nor behind, every where it greets us,
every when meeting it,
we meet ourselves meeting,
thread the tread of this Way."
-  Translated by Robert Meikyo Rosenbaum, 2013, Chapter 14 



"When you look, it isn't there
Listen and you cannot hear it
It seems to be beyond your reach
Because you are so near it
This single source of everything
Appears to be an empty image
Though it cannot be understood
You can see its naked visage
Follow it to nothingness
Approach it where you have no face
From nowhere to infinity
This vacant image leaves no trace
From never to eternity
This naked face is what you are
An empty, vacant, open door
Forevermore ajar"
-  Translated by Jim Clatfelder, 2000, Chapter 14 



"Look for it, it cannot be seen.
It is called the distant.
Listen for it, it cannot be heard.
It is called the rare.
Reach for it, it cannot be gotten.
It is called the subtle.
These three ultimately cannot be fathomed.
Therefore they join to become one.
Its top is not bright;
Its bottom is not dark;
Existing continuously, it cannot be named and it returns to no-thingness.
Thus, it is called the formless form,
The image of no-thing.
This is called the most obscure.
Go to meet it, you cannot see its face.
Follow it, you cannot see its back.
By holding to the ancient Tao
You can manage present existence
And know the primordial beginning.
This is called the very beginning thread of the Tao."
-  Translated by Charles Muller, 1891, Chapter 14 




Lieh-Tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living  Translated by Eva Wong
The Daodejing of Laozi   Translated by Philip Ivahoe 
Daoism: A Beginner's Guide   By James Miller
Early Daoist Scriptures  Translated by Stephen Bokencamp
Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons
Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance  By Alexander and Annellen Simpkins
Practical Taoism  Translated by Thomas Cleary
Daoism and Chinese Culture  By Livia Kohn






"We look but don't see it and call it indistinct we listen but don't hear it and call it faint
we reach but don't grasp it and call it ethereal
three failed means to knowledge I weave into one
with no light above and no shade below too fine to be named returning to nothing
this is the formless form the immaterial image this is the waxing waning we meet without seeing its face
we follow without seeing its back
holding onto this very Way we rule this very realm and discover its ancient past this is the thread of the Way."
-  Translation by Red Pine (Bill Porter), 1996, Chapter 14



"Look, it cannot be seen,
So it is called invisible.
Listen, it cannot be heard,
So it is called soundless.
Touch, it cannot be caught,
So it is called elusive.
These three cannot be examined,
So they unite into one.  
Above it there is no light,  
Below it there is no darkness.
Endlessness beyond description.
It returns to non-existence.
It is called the shapeless shape,
The substance without form.
It is called obscurely evasive.
Meet it and you do not see its beginning,
Follow it and you do not see its end.
Hold on to the ancient Way to master the present,
And to learn the distant beginning.
This is called the unbroken strand of the Way."
-  Translated by Stefan Stenudd, Chapter 14




Tao Te Ching  Translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo  

Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching  Translated by John C. Wu

Lao-Tzu and the Tao-Te-Ching  Translated by Livia Kohn

Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way Translated by Moss Roberts






"Look at it, it cannot be seen
It is called colorless
Listen to it, it cannot be heard
It is called noiseless
Reach for it, it cannot be held
It is called formless
These three cannot be completely unraveled
So they are combined into one

Above it, not bright
Below it, not dark
Continuing endlessly, cannot be named
It returns back to nothingness
Thus it is called the form of the formless
The image of the imageless
This is called enigmatic
Confront it, its front cannot be seen
Follow it, its back cannot be seen

Wield the Tao of the ancients
To Manage the existence of today
One can know the ancient beginning
It is called the Tao Axiom."
-  Translated by Derek Lin, 2006, Chapter 14



"Look at it, but you cannot see it.
Because it is formless, you call it invisible.
Listen to it, but you cannot hear it.
Because it is soundless, you call it inaudible.
Grasp it, but it is beyond your reach.
Because it is subtle, you call it intangible.
These three are indescribable and imperceptible,
    but in the mystical moment
    you see it, hear it, and grasp it,
    the Unseen, Unheard and Unreachable
    presents itself as the indefinable essence.
Confront it, and you do not see its face.
Follow it, and you do not see its back.
It does not appear bright when viewed at the zenith.
Nor does it appear dark when viewed at the nadir.
There is nothing that can make this subtle essence
    of the universe distinct.
When you try to make it clear to yourself,
    it evasively reverts to Nothingness."
-  Translation by Hua-Ching Ni, 1995, Chapter 14




Walking the Way: 81 Zen Encounters with the Tao Te Ching by Robert Meikyo Rosenbaum

The Tao of Zen by Ray Grigg

Tao Te Ching: Zen Teachings on the Taoist Classic by Takuan Soho 

Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face: Scripture, Ritual, and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China by Christine Mollier  






"They call it elusive, and say
That one looks
But it never appears.
They say that indeed it is rare,
Since one listens,
But never a sound.
Subtle, they call it, and say
That one grasps it
But never gets hold.
These three complaints amount
To only one, which is
Beyond all resolution.
At rising, it does not illumine;
At setting, no darkness ensues;
It stretches far back
To that nameless estate
Which existed before the creation.
Describe it as form yet unformed;
As shape that is still without shape;
Or say it is vagueness confused:
One meets it and it has no front;
One follows and there is no rear.
If you hold ever fast
To that most ancient Way,
You may govern today.
Call truly that knowledge
Of primal beginnings
The clue to the Way."
-  Translation by Raymond B. Blakney, 1955, Chapter 14



"What we look for beyond seeing
And call the unseen,
Listen for beyond hearing
And call the unheard,
Grasp for beyond reaching
And call the withheld,
Merge beyond understanding
In a oneness
Which does not merely rise and give light,
Does not merely set and leave darkness,
But forever sends forth a succession of living things as mysterious
As the unbegotten existence to which they return.
That is why men have called them empty phenomena,
Meaningless images,
In a mirage
With no face to meet,
No back to follow.
Yet one who is anciently aware of existence
Is master of every moment,
Feels no break since time beyond time
In the way life flows."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 14 




Further Teachings of Lao-Tzu: Understanding the Mysteries (Wen Tzu)   Translated by Thomas Cleary

The Lunar Tao: Meditations in Harmony with the Seasons   By Deng Ming-Dao

Awakening to the Tao   By Lui I-Ming (1780) and translated by Thomas Cleary

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices   By Mike Garofalo

Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings with Selections from Traditional Commentaries   Translation and commentary by Brook Ziporyn

The Inner Chapters of Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi)   Translated by A. C. Graham






"Plainness is that which cannot be seen by looking at it.
Stillness is that which cannot be heard by listening to it.
Rareness is that which cannot be felt by handling it.
These, being indiscernible, may be regarded as a Unity of the Tao.
It is not bright above nor dark beneath.
Infinite in operation, it is yet without name.
Issuing forth it enters into Itself.
This is the appearance of the Non-Apparent, the form of the Non-Existent.
This is the unfathomable mystery.
Going before, its face is not seen; following after, its back is not observed.
Yet to regulate one's life by the ancient knowledge of Tao is to have found the path."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 14



"Look at it: nothing to see.
Call it colorless.
Listen to it: nothing to hear.
Call it soundless.
Reach for it: nothing to hold.
Call it intangible.
Triply undifferentiated,
it merges into oneness,
not bright above,
not dark below.
Never, oh! never
can it be named.
It reverts, it returns
to unbeing.
Call it the form of the unformed,
the image of no image.
Call it the unthinkable thought.
Face it: no face.
Follow it: no end.
Hold fast to the old Way,
we can live in the present.
Mindful of the ancient beginnings,
we hold the thread of the Tao."
-  Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin, 1997, Chapter 14 




Tao Te Ching: An Illustrated Journey   Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Tao Te Ching   Translated by David Hinton

The Book of Tao: Tao Te Ching - The Tao and Its Characteristics   Translated by James Legge

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: Growth of a Religion   By Isabelle Robinet

Zhuangzi (Chuang Tsu), Daoist Scripture: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations, Notes

Zhuangzi: Basic Writings   Translated by Burton Watson

Zhuangzi Speaks: The Music of Nature   An illustrated comic by Chih-chung Ts'ai

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons






"What we cannot see by looking is the evenness of things,

What we cannot hear by listening the rare,

What we cannot seize by grasping is the subtleness that springs

When we try to scrutinize them and compare.

Blended into Unity, above it is not bright,

Below it is not buried in obscurity,

Ceaseless in its action, nameless in its flight,

It returns again to formless immaturity;

The form of formlessness, the shape of the unseen,

Abstruse and indeterminate as shadows on a screen

We meet it front to front and we do not see its face,

We follow it and do not see its back,

But who holds its ancient way

Is the master of to-day,

And its far-away beginning in the olden time can trace,

T'is the thread of Tao that lies along its track."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 14



"We look at it, and see it not; though it is Omnipresent; and we name it
the Root-Balance.
We listen for it, and hear it not, though it is Omniscient; and we name it the Silence.
We feel for it, and touch it not, though it is Omnipotent; and we name it the Concealed.
These three Virtues hath it, yet we cannot describe it as consisting of them;
but, mingling them aright, we apprehend the One.
Above, it shineth not; below, it is not dark.
It moves all continuously, without Expression, returning into Naught.
It is the Form of That which is beyond Form>
It is the Image of the Invisible.
It is Change, and Without Limit.
We confront it, and see not its Face; we pursue it, and its Back is
hidden from us.
Ah! but apply the Tao as in old Time to the work of the present.
Know it as it was known in the Beginning.
Follow fervently the Thread of the Tao."
-  Translated by Aleister Crowley, 1918, Chapter 14





Lao Tzu, Laozi



Next Chapter of the Tao Te Ching #15

Previous Chapter of the Tao Te Ching #13

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching 






Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
Chapter 14


Daodejing by Laozi : Chapters with Chinese characters, seal script, detailed word by word concordance, Pinyin, German, French and English.  This is an outstanding resource for serious students of the Tao Te Ching

Yellow Bridge Dao De Jing Comparison Table, Chapter 14   Provides side by side comparisons of translations of the Tao Te Ching by James Legge, D. T. Suzuki, and Dwight Goddard.  Chinese characters for each paragraph in the Chapter are on the left; place your cursor over the Chinese characters to see the Pinyin romanization of the Chinese character and a list of meanings. 

Center Tao.  Includes a brief commentary on each Chapter.  A keyword glossary for each chapter is provided. 

Tao Te Ching Commentaries - Google Search 

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin Romanization (romanization), English and German by Dr. Hilmar Alquiros. 

Translators' Index, Tao Te Ching Translators Sorted Alphabetically by Translator, Links to Books and Online Versions

Taoism and the Tao Te Ching: Bibliography, Resources, Links

Concordance to the Daodejing

Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition  By Jonathan Star.  Translation, commentary and research tools.  New York, Jeremy P. Tarcher, Penguin, 2001.  Concordance, tables, appendices, 349 pages.  A new rendition of the Tao Te Ching is provided, then a verbatim translation with extensive notes.  Detailed tables for each verse provide line number, all the Chinese characters, Wade-Giles romanization, and a list of meanings for each character.  An excellent print reference tool! 

Chapter 14 in the Rambling Taoist Commentaries by Trey Smith.  The Rambling Taoists are Trey Smith and Scott Bradley. 

The Philosophy of the Daodejing  By Hans-Georg Moeller.  Columbia University Press, 2006, 176 pages.  

Valley Spirit, Gu Shen, Concept, Chapter 6 

Das Tao Te King von Lao Tse  The largest collection of very nicely formatted complete versions of the Tao Te Ching.  The collection includes 209 complete versions in 27 languages, plus 28 Chinese versions.  There are 112 English language versions of the Tao Te Ching available at this website.  A variety of search methods and comparison methods are provided, as well a a detailed index.  Offline as of 25 May 2013. 

Tao Te Ching English Translations from Terebess Asia Online.  Over 30 translations. 

Lao-tzu's Taoteching
 Translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter).  Includes many brief selected commentaries for each Chapter draw from commentaries in the past 2,000 years.  Provides a verbatim translation and shows the text in Chinese characters.  San Francisco, Mercury House, 1996, Second Edition, 184 pages.  An invaluable resource for commentaries.   

Reading Lao Tzu: A Companion to the Tao Te Ching with a New Translation  By Ha Poong Kim.  Xlibris, 2003, 198 pages. 

Chapter 14, Line by Line Comparisons of 27 Translations of the Tao Te Ching Compiled by the St. Xenophon Wayist Seminary 

Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation  By Roger T. Ames and David T. Hall.  Ballantine, 2003, 256 pages. 

Thematic Index to the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu: Te-Tao Ching - A New Translation Based on the Recently Discovered Ma-wang-tui Texts (Classics of Ancient China) Translated with and introduction and detailed exposition and commentary by Professor Robert G. Henricks.  New York, Ballantine Books, 1992.  Includes Chinese characters for each chapter.  Bibliography, detailed notes, 282 pages. 

Lieh-Tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living.  Translated by Eva Wong.  Lieh-Tzu was writing around 450 BCE.  Boston, Shambhala, 2001.  Introduction, 246 pages. 

Revealing the Tao Te Ching: In-depth Commentaries on an Ancient Classic.  By Hu Huezhi.  Edited by Jesse Lee Parker.  Seven Star Communications, 2006.  240 pages. 

Cloud Hands Blog   Mike Garofalo writes about Taoism, Gardening, Taijiquan, Walking, Mysticism, Qigong, and the Eight Ways.

Tao Te Ching: A New Translation and Commentary.  By Ellen Chen.  Paragon House, 1998.  Detailed glossary, index, bibliography, notes, 274 pages. 

The Tao and Method: A Reasoned Approach to the Tao Te Ching.  By Michael Lafargue.  New York, SUNY Press, 1994.  640 pages.  Detailed index, bibliography, notes, and tables.  An essential research tool. 

The Whole Heart of Tao: The Complete Teachings From the Oral Tradition of Lao Tzu.
By John Bright-Fey.  Crane Hill Publishers, 2006.  376 pages.








Comments on Chapter 14 by Michael P. Garofalo


"I saw Master Chang San-Feng
Enter the Sidhe, Fairies by his side,
Crossing over the pond at dawn.
Astonished I was!
On the teahouse table by the pond I later found
Some of his neatly printed notes
Folded in a well worn tome 
Of the Tao Te Ching, in Chapter 14.

He had written:
Even for an Immortal, the Past is the Key.

The Future
Grasp at it, but you cant get it,
Colorless as an invisible crystal web,
Unformed, thin, a conundrum of ideas,
The Grand White Cloud Temple of Possibilities,
Flimsy as a maybe, strong as our hopes,
Silent as eternal Space.
When you meet it, you cant see its face.
You want to stand for it, but cannot find a place.

The Present
It appears and disappears through the moving ten thousand things,
Quick as a wink, elusive as a hummingbird,
Always Now with no other choice,
Moving ground, unstable Plates,
Real as much as Real gets to Be,
This Day has finally come,
Room for something, for the moment, waits
Gone in a flash, assigned a date,
Gulp, swallowed by the future.
Unceasing, continuous, entering and leaving
The vast empty center of the Elixir Field.

The Past
Becoming obscurer, fading, falling apart,
A mess of memories in the matrix of brains;
Some of it written, fixed in ink, chiseled in stone,
Most of it long lost in graves of pure grey bones.
Following it you cannot see its back,
Only forms of the formless, stories, tales,
Images of imageless, fictions, myths.
A smattering of forever fixed facts,
Scattered about the homes of fading ghosts.    
The twists and turns of millions of tongues
Leaving us languages, our passports to the past.

The future becomes past, the present becomes past,
Every thing lives, subtracting but seconds for Nowness, in the Past. 
The Realms of the Gods, the kingdoms of men,
The Evolutionary Tree with roots a million years long
Intertwined with turtles, dragons, trees, stars and toads;
     crickets, coyotes, grasses, tigers, bears, monkeys and men. 

These profoundest Three of Time
An unraveled red Knot of Mystery,
Evading scrutiny in the darkness of days
Eluding capture in the brightness of nights,
In beginnings and endings are only One, the Tao,
Coming from Nowhere, Returning to Nothing. 

What dimension of Time
Does your mind dwell within?
Future, Present or Past
Where is your homeland? 

The Past holds the accomplishments, the created, the glories, and the Great.
The Present is but a thin coat of ice on the Pond of Fate. 
The Future is an illusion, a guess, a plethora of possible states.

Recreate the Past
By playing within the Present. 
Twisting and reeling ones silky reality
From the Black Cocoons of the Acts
From which we create our Pasts.
Follow the Ancient Ways.    
The Past is the Key.   

-  Michael P. Garofalo, Meetings with the Taoist Master Chang Sang-feng








Laozi, Dao De Jing


Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching

Research by
Michael P. Garofalo

Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California

This webpage was last modified or updated on December 1, 2013.   
This webpage was first distributed online on February 7, 2011.


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Study with Mike Garofalo



Ripening Peaches: Daoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: Resources and Guides

Cloud Hands Blog

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Months: Cycles of the Seasons

Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu, Zhuang Zhou, Master Chuang)  369286 BCE

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Taoist Perspectives: My Reading List


One Old Druid's Final Journey: Notebooks of the Librarian of Gushen Grove

Cloud Hands: T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Index to Cloud Hands and Valley Spirit Websites


Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching 



Index to English Language Translators of the Tao Te Ching

Thematic Index 1-81  

Chapter Index 1-81    

Concordance to the Daodejing

The Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) circa 500 BCE




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