The eternal Way and its name are not known. The essence of creation is without form. The mother of creation is in the form of all things. Focus on the eternally formless to perceive the essence.Focus on the eternally formed to perceive the nature of things. These two issue from the same source, and differ only in name.Call that source mystery. Mystery of mysteries, gate of all wonder.
(Classic of the Way and how to live by it)
BY THE WAY
English translation with footnotes and illustrations by John Stubbs
Translation revised January 1, 2016
 
 
By the WayTHE ETERNAL WAY
  
The eternal Way and its name are not known.
 
The essence of creation is without form.
The mother of creation is in the form of all things.
 
Focus on the eternally formless to perceive the essence.
Focus on the eternally formed to perceive the nature of things.
 
These two issue from the same source, and differ only in name.
Call that source mystery.
Mystery of mysteries, gate of all wonder.
 
DUALITIES
 
The world judges some things as beautiful,
so other things are ugly.
Because some are judged to be good, others are evil.
 
So the comparisons arise:
achieving and lacking in production,
difficult and easy in accomplishment,
long and short in measurement,
high and low in position,
voice and instrument in harmony,
first and last in sequence.
 
The wise avoid judgement
and teach without words.
They accept all things as they are,
produce but to not possess,
act without anxiety for results,
succeed but do not claim success.
 
Because they do not claim success,
success never leaves them.