Chapter 16

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

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Chapter 16

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu



English and Chinese (Wade-Giles) Terms:  Emptiness or Void or Openness (hsü), Resting, Know or Understand (chih), Destiny or Fate (ming), Returning to the Root, Knowing the Eternal, Kingly or Royal (wang), Ten Thousand Things Arising and Returning to the Source, Danger or Peril (tai), Community of Feeling, Disaster or Calamity (hsiung), Longevity, Sage, Leader, Returns or Recovers (kuei), Abode of Eternal Tao, Sky, Eternal, Enlightenment (ming), Eternal or Everlasting (ch'ang), Rest, Tao, Inner Life, Heaven, Peace, Emptiness, Watch or See or Recognize (kuan), Highest or Utmost or Ultimate (chi), Root or Source (kên), Free (pu), Stillness or Quietude or Tranquility (ching), Receptivity, Root, Arise or Grow (tso), Unchanging, Together or United (ping), Tao or Dao, Return or Returning (fu), Things, Keep or Hold or Cling (shou), Enlightened, Serenity, Death, Flourish or Bloom or Grow (yün), Impartial or Unprejudiced (kung), Freedom from Fear of Aging, Immortality, Open-minded or Broad or Tolerant (jung), Self or Body or Individual (shên), Error or Falsehood (wang), Constant or Essence or Absolute (tu),  歸根  

Términos en Español:  Vacío, Apertura, Descansar, Saber, Entender, Destino, Suerte, Volviendo a la Raíz, Conociendo el Eterno, Regio, Diez Mil Cosas, Surgen y que Vuelven a la Fuente, Peligro, Comunidad de Sentimiento, Desastre, Calamidad, Longevidad, Sabio, Líder, Devoluciones, Recupera, Morada del Tao Eterno, Cielo, Ilustración, Resto, Vida Interior, Paz, Reloj, Reconocer, Más Alta, Máxima, Raíz, Origen, Gratuito , Silencio, Quietud, Receptividad, Crecer, Juntos, Estados, Retorno,  Llegada, Cosas, Mantener, Retener, Serenidad, Muerte, Imparcial, Sin Prejuicios, Inmortalidad, Mentalidad Abierta, Amplia, Tolerante, Ser, Error, Falsedad, Entidad, Persona, Esencia, Absoluto, Floración, Flor. 




"By attaining the height of abstraction we gain fullness of rest.  
All the ten thousand things arise, and I see them return.
Now they bloom in bloom but each one homeward returneth to its root.
Returning to the root means rest.
It signifies the return according to destiny.
Return according to destiny means the eternal.
Knowing the eternal means enlightenment.
Not knowing the eternal causes passions to rise; and that is evil.
Knowing the eternal renders comprehensive.
Breadth renders royal.
Royalty renders heavenly.
Heaven renders Reason-like.
Reason renders lasting.
Thus the decay of the body implies no danger."
-  Translated by D. T. Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 16    



"It is only by means of being
that non-being may be found.
When society changes
from its natural state of flux,
to that which seems like chaos,
the inner world of the superior man
remains uncluttered and at peace.
By remaining still, his self detatched,
he aids society in its return
to the way of nature and of peace.
The value of his insight may be clearly seen
when chaos ceases.
Being one with the Tao is to be at peace,
and to be in conflict with it,
leads to chaos and dysfunction.
When the consistency of the Tao is known,
the mind is receptive to its states of change.
It is by being at one with the Tao,
that the sage holds no prejudice
against his fellow man.
If accepted as a leader of men,
he is held in high esteem.
Throughout his life,
both being and non-being,
the Tao protects him."
-  Translated by Stan Rosenthal, 1984, Chapter 16  



"To quiet down the heart to stay at a constant stillness,
To settle down the heart to remain in infinite emptiness,
All the myriad things are involved in constant motion, but I just gaze
into emptiness to unintentionally wait for the coming of the Mysterious Pass.
Yes, though all things flourish with myriad variations,
each one will eventually return to the very root of birth and death.
To return to the root needs constant stillness.
Only by staying in constant stillness can Congenital Nature be recovered.
To fully recover Congenital Nature is called 'Chang.'
To know Chang is called enlightenment.
To no know Chang and to act blindly will result in disaster.
Only knowing Change, can one tolerate all;
Only tolerating all, can one be impartial.
By being impartial, can one be all-accomodating;
By being all-accommodating, one can equal Heaven;
By equaling Heaven, one can accomplish Tao, which lasts without death.
Only by accomplishing Tao, can one be rid of death and birth,
lasting eternally without any danger."
-  Translated by Hu Xuezhi, 2005, Chapter 16




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






"Make emptiness in yourself complete and achieve the full calm!
Let everything around move by itself.
Let everyone bloom spiritually and advance to cognition of their true Essence.
Those who cognized their true Essence — achieve full calm.
Thus they attain the common Abode of All Who Attained.
One’s being in this Abode has to become constant.
He, who fulfilled this, is called Enlightened, Perfect, possessing the Higher Wisdom.
Those Who attained that Abode represent the United “We” which is the Highest Ruler.
That Abode is also called the Sky.
This is the Abode of the Eternal Tao.
Tao is non-corporeal.
It cannot be caught by anyone.
Thus, It is invincible."
-  Translated by Mikhail Nikolenko, Chapter 16 



Cloud Hands Blog 



"To arrive at ultimate quietness
Steadfastly maintain repose.
All creatures together have form;
I see them return again to their root.
The Master creatures come to perfect form,
Continuously they return to their root.
Continuous return to the root is called repose,
Repose is called the law of return,
The law of return is called eternity.
To know eternity is called illumination.
To ignore eternity is to draw misfortune on oneself,
To know eternity is to be great of Soul,
To be great of soul is to be a ruler,
To be a ruler is to be greater than all,
To be greater than all is to be conscious of Life,
To be conscious of Life is to endure.
The body shall disappear but not decay."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 16 



"Attaining perfect emptiness
Remain patient and sincere
The myriad beings arise as one
Through this we observe the return
Of beings in numberless multitudes
Each coming home to its root
Return to the root means serenity
It may be called a return to a higher order
Return to higher order speaks of the enduring
To comprehend the enduring speaks of clarity
To not comprehend the enduring
Is to recklessly create suffering
To comprehend the enduring (is) tolerance
Tolerance becomes justice
Justice becomes sovereignty
Sovereignty becomes celestial
The celestial becomes the path
The path is then continuous
The death of self is nothing to fear"
-  Translated by Bradford Hatcher, 2005, Chapter 16




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






"The state of vacancy should be brought to the utmost degree, and that of stillness guarded with unwearying vigor. 
All things alike go through their processes of activity, and then we see them return to their original state.
Then things in the vegetable world have displayed their luxuriant growth, we see each of them return to its root.
This returning to their root is what we call the state of stillness;
And that stillness may be called a reporting that they have fulfilled their appointed end.
The report of that fulfillment is the regular, unchanging rule.
To know that unchanging rule is to be intelligent;
Not to know it leads to wild movements and evil issues. 
The knowledge of that unchanging rule produces a grand capacity and forbearance,
And that capacity and forbearance lead to a community of feeling with all things.
From this community of feeling comes a kingliness of character;
And he who is king-like goes on to be heaven-like.
In that likeness to heaven he possesses the Dao.
Possessed of the Dao, he endures long;
And to the end of his bodily life, is exempt from all danger of decay."
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 16 




夫物芸芸, 各復歸其根.
不知常, 妄作凶知常容.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 16




chih hsü chi.
shou ching tu.
wan wu ping tso.
wu yi kuan fu.
fu wu yün yün, ko fu kuei ch'i kên.
kuei kên yüeh ching.
shih wei fu ming.
fu ming yüeh ch'ang.
chih ch'ang yüeh ming.
pu chih ch'ang, wang tso hsiung chih ch'ang jung.
jung nai kung.
kung nai wang.
wang nai t'ien.
t'ien nai tao.
tao nai chiu.
mo shên pu tai.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 16


Audio Version in Chinese of Chapter 16 of the Tao Te Ching

zhi xu ji.
shou jing du.
wan wu bing zuo.
wu yi guan fu.
fu wu yun yun, ge fu gui qi gen.  
gui gen yue jing.
shi yue fu ming.
fu ming yue chang.
zhi chang yue ming.
bu zhi chang, wang zuo xiong zhi chang rong.
rong nai gong.
gong nai quan.
quan nai tian.
tian nai dao.
dao nai jiu.
mo shen bu dai.
-  Pinyin translation, Daodejing, Chapter 16 







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

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Pinyin 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. 




"Effect emptiness to the extreme.
Keep stillness whole.
Myriad things act in concert.
I therefore watch their return.
All things flourish and each returns to its root.
Returning to the root is called quietude.
Quietude is called returning to life.
Return to life is called constant.
Knowing this constant is called illumination.
Acting arbitrarily without knowing the constant is harmful.
Knowing the constant is receptivity, which is impartial.
Impartiality is kingship.
Kingship is Heaven.
Heaven is Tao
Tao is eternal.
Though you lose the body, you do not die."
-  Translated by Charles Muller, 1891, Chapter 16



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






"I adopt the following practice for self-improvement:
To strive to be extremely humble and unassuming;
To retain Serenity single-mindedly;
Through such effort, I shall be able to maintain a serene state of mind so that
I can observe and judge most efficiently the simultaneous unfolding of activities of each and every creature and thing, as well as their recurrences.
Each and every innumerable individual living thing will flourish like weeds every instant;
Each and every living thing will eventually return to its root;
The returning of an individual to his its root is called Serenity;
Serenity means to respond to the determining forces Tao;
Responding to the determining forces Tao leads to perpetuation;
Individuals who know how to perpetuate are brilliant;
Individuals who do not know how to perpetuate are prone to rash activities, hence they are doomed.
A person who truly knows is comprehensive tolerant;
His comprehensiveness will make him an impartial person;
Impartiality is the essential quality of a good and proper king;
Kings of good standing came with the background of having recognized the importance of being in harmony with Heaven;
A person who recognizes the significance of being in harmony with Heaven is on the right path of Tao;
Being on the path of Tao, a person will perpetuate his existence;
Throughout my life I have never had, and will never have, any doubt about this the above described progressive stages of existence."
-  Translated by Org, Lee Sun Chen, Chapter 16 



"Reach the pole of emptiness (hsü-chi),
Abide in genuine quietude (ching).
Ten thousand beings flourish together,
I am to contemplate (kuan) their return (fu).
Now things grow profusely,
Each again returns (kuei) to its root.
To return to the root is to attain quietude (ching),
It is called to recover life (ming).
To recover life is to attain the Everlasting (ch'ang),
To know the Everlasting (ch'ang) is to be illumined (ming).
Not knowing (chih) the Everlasting (ch'ang),
One commits evils wantonly.
Knowing the Everlasting one becomes all containing (yung).
To be all containing is to be public (kung).
To be public is to be kingly (wang).
To be kingly is to be like heaven.
To be like heaven is to be like Tao.
To be like Tao is to last long.
This is to lose the body without becoming exhausted (pu tai)."
-  Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 1989, Chapter 16 



"Seek to attain to absolute emptiness;
Maintain a state of perfect stillness.
See how all things come into being,
And see how they return!
They come to flower and fullness
And then go back to the roots whence they came.
To go home to the root is to achieve perfect stillness.
Thus, in attaining stillness, do they fulfill their destiny;
And thus, in turning back, they join the Never-changing.
To be aware of the Never-changing is to be enlightened.
Not to know the Never-changing is to stumble blindly into miseries.
He who knows the Never-changing embraces all;
Embracing all, shall he not accept all impartially?
To be impartial is an attribute of kingship,
And kingship is of Heaven.
He who is of Heaven can attain to the Tao.
He who is of the Tao endures forever,
And though his body decay, he never dies."
-  Translated by Herman Ould, 1946, Chapter 16 


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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






"When one is extremely stilled and free of vain desires,
All things will work together
So that one can watch the changes,
For all things return to their roots:
Their original states without poles.
Returning is completing the cycle of life's work.
The cycling of life is absolute,
Awareness of that absoluteness is wisdom.
Without that wisdom, one may do things willfully
And may hence meet with an early death.
With the wisdom, one can be tolerant.
Being tolerant, one can be just to everything.
Being just, one can be a wise leader,
Being a wise leader, one can fulfill the greatest cause.
Being able to fulfill, one is serving the Way.
By serving the Way, the cause can last,
And will not vanish even after one's death."
-  Translated by Qixuan, Liu Chapter 16 



"If you can empty your mind of all thoughts
your heart will embrace the tranquility of peace.
Watch the workings of all of creation,
but contemplate their return to the source.
All creatures in the universe
return to the point where they began.
Returning to the source is tranquility
because we submit to Heaven's mandate.
Returning to Heaven's mandate is called being constant.
Knowing the constant is called 'enlightenment'.
Not knowing the constant is the source of evil deeds
because we have no roots.
By knowing the constant we can accept things as they are.
By accepting things as they are, we become impartial.
By being impartial, we become one with Heaven.
By being one with Heaven, we become one with Tao.
Being one with Tao, we are no longer concerned about
losing our life because we know the Tao is constant
and we are one with Tao."
-  Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 16  



"Empty the self completely; Embrace perfect peace.
Realize that all beings alike go through their processes of activity and life,
and then they return to the original source.
Returning to the source brings peacefulness and stillness.
This stillness is the flow of nature, and signifies that the beings have lived their allotted span of life.
Accepting this brings enlightenment and tranquility,
ignoring this brings confusion and sorrow
If one can accept this flow of nature; one can cherish all things.
Being all-cherishing you become impartial;
Being impartial you become magnanimous;
Being magnanimous you become natural;
Being natural you become one with The Way;
Being one with The Way you become immortal:
Though the body will decay, the Way will not."
-  Translated by John Discus, 2002, Chapter 16 




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






"Attain the climax of emptiness, preserve the utmost quiet:
as myriad things act in concert, I thereby observe the return.
Things flourish, then each returns to its root.
Returning to the root is called stillness;
stillness is called return to Life, return to Life is called the constant;
knowing the constant is called enlightenment.
Acts at random, in ignorance of the constant, bode ill.
Knowing the constant gives perspective; this perspective is impartial.
Impartiality is the highest nobility; the highest nobility is divine, and the divine is the Way.
This Way is everlasting, not endangered by physical death."
-  Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 16 



"In order to arrive at complete contentment, restrain your ambitions.
For everything which comes into being eventually returns again to the source from which it came. Each thing which grows and develops to the fullness of its own nature completes its course by declining again in a manner inherently determined by its own nature.
Completing its life is as inevitable as that each thing shall have its own goal.
Each thing having its own goal is necessary to the nature of things.
He who knows that this is the ultimate nature of things is intelligent; he who does not is not.
Being intelligent, he knows that each has a nature which is able to take care of itself.
Knowing this, he is willing that each thing follow its own course.
Being willing to let each thing follow its own course, he is gracious.
Being gracious, he is like the source which graciously gives life to all.
Being like the gracious source of all, he embodies Nature's way within his own being.
And in thus embodying Nature's way within himself, he embodies its perpetually recurrent principles within himself.
And so, regardless of what happens to his body, there is something about him which goes on forever."
-  Translated by Archie J. Bahm, 1958, Chapter 16 




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  






"I do my utmost to attain emptiness;
I hold firmly to stillness.
The myriad creatures all rise together
And I watch their return.
The teaming creatures
All return to their separate roots.
Returning to one’s roots is known as stillness.
This is what is meant by returning to one’s destiny.
Returning to one’s destiny is known as the constant.
Knowledge of the constant is known as discernment.
Woe to him who wilfully innovates
While ignorant of the constant,
But should one act from knowledge of the constant
One’s action will lead to impartiality,
Impartiality to kingliness,
Kingliness to heaven,
Heaven to the way,
The way to perpetuity,
And to the end of one’s days one will meet with no danger."
-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 16 



"Attain to the goal of absolute vacuity;
Keep to the state of perfect peace.
All things come into existence,
And thence we see them return.
Look at the things that have been flourishing;
Each goes back to its origin.
Going back to the origin is called peace;
It means reversion to destiny.
Reversion to destiny is called eternity.
He who knows eternity is called enlightened.
He who does not know eternity is rushing blindly into miseries.
Knowing eternity he is all-embracing.
Being all-embracing he can attain magnanimity.
Being magnanimous he can attain omnipresence.
Being omnipresent he can attain supremacy.
Being supreme he can attain Tao.
He who attains Tao is everlasting.
Though his body may decay he never perishes."
-  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 16 



"Arriving at emptiness is reaching an extreme.
Guarding what’s at neither extreme requires diligence.
All living things, side by side, appear suddenly;
Resting, as though waiting to return to something.
Nature and Dao go round and round, each one reverting to where they began.
That is called being quiet and calm.
It’s correctly described as returning to destiny.
Returning to destiny constantly.
This knowledge is always obvious.
Ignorance of it will always cause recklessness.
Recklessness will cause sudden calamities.
This knowledge will always allow endurance;
Endurance, then equanimity;
Equanimity, then sovereignty;
Sovereignty, then naturalness;
Naturalness, then connection to Dao;
Connection to Dao, then the disappearance of the body isn’t at jeopardy."
-  Translated by Nina Correa, 2005, Chapter 16 




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






"Bring to its full effectiveness the state of vacancy,

Guard with unwearied watchfulness the stillness of the breast,

All things alike go through their stages of activity,

And then return again to their primordial state of rest.

Luxuriant vegetation blooms around on every hand,

But to its root returns again, where ever it may extend,

As though its growth had traveled forth at some supreme command,

And, returning home to stillness, had thus fulfilled its end.

These returnings of command are eternal in their course,

To know of the eternal is called enlightenment,

To know not the eternal of confusion is the source,

And so awakens wickedness, and evil discontent.

To know brings comprehension and a great capacity,

A breadth of comprehension brings a kingliness of way,

The king-like grows to heaven-like, like Tao it comes to be,

Everlasting, though the body perish and decay."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 16 



"Having emptied yourself of everything, remain where you are.
All things spring forth into activity with one accord, and wither do we see them return?
After blossoming for a while, everything dies down to its root.
This going back to one's origin is called peace: it is the giving of oneself over to the inevitable.
This giving of oneself over to the inevitable is called preservation.
He who knows this preservation is called enlightened.
He who knows it not continues in misery.
He who knows this preservation is great of soul.
He who is great of soul is prevailing.
Prevailing, he is a king.
Being a king, he is celestial.
Being celestial, he is of Tao.
Being of Tao, he endures for ever: for though his body perish, yet he suffers no hurt."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 16 



"Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind become still.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The way of nature is unchanging.
Knowing constancy is insight.
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.
Knowing constancy, the mind is open.
With an open mind, you will be openhearted.
Being openhearted, you will act royally.
Being royal, you will attain the divine.
Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away."
-  Translated by Gai-fu Feng and Jane English, 1989, Chapter 16 




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






"When the extreme of emptiness is reached as by Heaven, and quiescence rigidly preserved as by Earth, then all things are simultaneously produced; and by this example I observe their revolutions. All things, after flourishing like the herb yün, return each to what it sprang from.
Returning to this source is called quiescence, and this implies a reversion to the original ordinance of Heaven.
Reversion to the original ordinance of Heaven is called the basis or pivot of Tao. 
Knowledge of this may be called enlightenment, while ignorance of it leads to a reckless working-out of one's own ruin.
He who knows it, bears with others.
Bearing with others, he is just; being just, he is fit to be a king; being a king, he is the associate of Heaven whose decree he holds and whose ordinance he carries out.
Heaven is the offspring of Tao; and Tao survives the death of him who is the embodiment of it, living on unharmed for ever."
-  Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 16 



"Touch ultimate emptiness,
Hold steady and still.
All things work together:
I have watched them reverting,
And have seen how they flourish
And return again, each to his roots.
This, I say, is the stillness:
A retreat to one's roots;
Or better yet, return
To the will of God,
Which is, I say, to constancy.
The knowledge of constancy
I call enlightenment and say
That not to know it
Is blindness that works evil.
But when you know
What eternally is so,
You have stature
And stature means righteousness
And righteousness is kingly
And kingliness divine
And divinity is the Way
Which is final.
Then, though you die,
You shall not perish."
-  Translated by Raymond Blakney, 1955, Chapter 16  



"Bring about emptiness to the extreme.
Guard true stillness.
The ten-thousand things rise together.
I therefore observe their return:
Those ten-thousand plants—each plant—returns
Going back to its root.
Going back to the root is said to be stillness.
This is called returning to life.
Returning to life is called the Constant.
Understanding the Constant is called clarity.
Not understanding the Constant:
Reckless actions—misfortune.
Understanding the Constant, forgive.
Forgive, then be unbiased.
Be unbiased, then be whole.
Be whole, then be Heaven.
Be Heaven, then be Tao.
Be Tao, then be eternal.
Not having a body, there is no danger."
-  Translated by Aalar Fex, 2006, Chapter 16 




Spanish Language Versions of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing)
Tao Te Ching en Español

Lao Tsé Tao Te Ching   Traducido al español por Anton Teplyy

Tao Te Ching   Traducido por Stephen Mitchell, versión española  

Tao Te Ching   Traducido al español por el Padre Carmelo Elorduy

Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons   Consejos de Estilo de Vida de Sabios

Tao Te Ching en Español

Lao Tzu-The Eternal Tao Te Ching   Traducido al español por Yuanxiang Xu y Yongjian Yin 

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices   By Mike Garofalo    Maduración Duraznos: Estudios y Prácticas Taoístas por Mike Garofalo

Tao Te Ching - Wikisource

Tao Te Ching   Traducido al español por William Scott Wilson. 

Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching   Traducido al español por Javier Cruz

Tao te king   Translated by John C. H. Wu, , versión española  

Daodejing   Español, Inglés, y Chino Versiones Lingüísticas de la Daodejing







"Vacía tu mente de deseos y ambiciones
para conservar la paz.
De la aparición bulliciosa de todas las cosas,
contempla su retorno.
Todos los seres crecen agitadamente,
pero luego, cada uno vuelve a su raíz.
Volver a su raíz es hallar el reposo.
Reposar es volver a su destino.
Volver a su destino es conocer la eternidad.
Conocer la eternidad es ser iluminado.
Quien no conoce la eternidad
camina ciegamente a su desgracia.
Quien conoce la eternidad
da cabida a todos.
Quien da cabida a todos es universalista.
Quien es universalista es parte de la Naturaleza.
Quien es parte de la Naturaleza es como el Tao
Quien es como el Tao alcanza la inmortalidad,
ya que el cuerpo perecerá, pero el Tao no."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 16  



"Alcanza al máximo el vacío.
Conserva la firmeza de la paz.
Nacen las cosas innumerables, pero las veo volver a su reposo.
Las cosas tienen desarrollos florecientes y cada una retorna a su raíz.
Volver a la raíz es encontrar el descanso, descanso que significa nuevo destino;
Nuevo destino es durar constantemente;
Conocer lo constante es la iluminación;
No conocer lo constante es caer en la ceguera y el desastre.
Quien conoce lo constante es tolerante, el tolerante es justo con todos;
Siendo justo con todos es universal,
Lo universal es el ritmo del cielo;
Lo que está conforme con el cielo, lo está con Tao.
Lo que está conforme con Tao perdura eternamente y toda su vida está fuera de peligros."
Translation from Logia Medio Dia, 2015,
Capítulo 16



"Vacía tu Ego completamente;
Abraza la paz perfecta.
El Mundo se mueve y gira;
Observale regresar a la quietud.
Todas las cosas que florecen
Regresarán a su origen.

Este regreso es pacífico;
Es el camino de la Naturaleza,
Eternamente decayendo y renovandose.
Comprender ésto trae la iluminación,
Ignorar esto lleva a la miseria.

Aquel que comprende el camino de la Naturaleza llega a apreciarlo todo;
Apreciandolo todo, se convierte en imparcial;
Siendo imparcial, se convierte en magnánimo;
Siendo magnánimo, se convierte en parte de la Naturaleza;
Siendo parte de la Naturaleza, se hace uno con el Tao;
Siendo uno con el Tao, se alcanza la inmortalidad:
Piensa que el cuerpo perecerá, el Tao no."
-  Translated by Antonio Rivas Gonzálvez, 1998, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 16





Tao Te Ching, Dao De Jing



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Previous Chapter of the Tao Te Ching #15

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching 





Tao Te Ching
Commentary, Interpretations, Research Tools, Resources
Chapter 16


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

Yellow Bridge Dao De Jing Comparison Table   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 Hanyu Pinyin (1982) 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 English Language Corncordance by Gerold Claser.  An excellent concordance providing terms, chapter and line references, and the proximal text.  No Chinese language characters or Wade-Giles or Pinyin Romanizations. 

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Hanyu Pinyin (1982) 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

Spanish Language Translations of the Tao Te Ching, Daodejing en Español

Concordance to the Daodejing 

Tao Te Ching in Chinese characters, Wade-Giles (1892) and Hanyu Pinyin (1982) Romanization spellings, English; a word for word translation of the Guodian Laozi Dao De Jing Version.  From the Dao is Open website. 

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 (1892) Romanization, and a list of meanings for each character.  An excellent print reference tool! 

Two Visions of the Way: A Study of the Wang Pi and the Ho-Shang Kung Commentaries on the Lao-Tzu.  By Professor by Alan Kam-Leung Chan.   SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture.  State University of New York Press, 1991.  Index, bibliography, glossary, notes, 314 pages.  ISBN: 0791404560.     

Chinese Reading of the Daodejing  Wang Bi's Commentary on the Laozi with Critical Text and Translation.  By Professor Rudolf G. Wagner.  A SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture.  English and Mandarin Chinese Edition.  State University of New York Press; Bilingual edition (October 2003).  540 pages.  ISBN: 978-0791451823.  Wang Bi (Wang Pi, Fusi), 226-249 CE, Commentary on the Tao Te Ching.

Chapter 16 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 

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 16, 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.












Laozi, Dao De Jing



Gushen Grove Notebooks for the Tao Te Ching

Research and Indexing by
Michael P. Garofalo

Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Center, Gushen Grove Notebooks, Red Bluff, California
Green Way Research, 2011-2015. 
Indexed and Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo


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This webpage was last modified or updated on May 4, 2015. 
This webpage was first distributed online on February 10, 2011. 


Michael P. Garofalo's E-mail

Brief Biography of Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.

Valley Spirit Center, Red Bluff, California



Ripening Peaches: Daoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: Resources and Guides

Cloud Hands Blog

Valley Spirit Qigong

Ways of Walking

The Spirit of Gardening

Months: Cycles of the Seasons

Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu, Zhuang Zhou, Master Chuang)  369—286 BCE

Chan (Zen) and Taoist Poetry

Yang Style Taijiquan

Chen Style Taijiquan

Taoist Perspectives: My Reading List


Somaesthetics, Bodymind Theories and Practices

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

Recurring Themes (Terms, Concepts, Leimotifs) in the Tao Te Ching

Spanish Language Translations of the Tao Te Ching


Comments, Feedback, Kudos

Chinese Characters, Wade-Giles (1892) and Hanyu Pinyin (1982) Romanizations

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



Cloud Hands Blog


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Tao Te Ching
 Chapter Number Index

Standard Traditional Chapter Arrangement of the Daodejing
Chapter Order in Wang Bi's Daodejing Commentary in 246 CE
Chart by Mike Garofalo

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80