A simple modern take on the first chapter of the Tao Te Ching

Tao ko tao fei ch’ang tao

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding

Words are only descriptions, so the Tao cannot be put into words.

Things are constantly changing, so their names will never be permanant.

It was during the big bang that heaven and earth sprang.

Our need to name things creates false distinctions.

Look at the world without desire and it will show you its secrets.

Look with desire and you’ll only find yourself projected into it.

It doesn’t matter what you call things, they’re all the same.

When you look back, regardless of what anything’s called, it all comes from the same place.

That blank space before the big bang.

Translation by Tod Parry, the audio guy behind the wonderful podcast “What’s this Tao All About?” Dr. Carl Totten, founder of the Tao Institute in Hollywood, California and Tod Parry have over 50 episodes of their podcast.

As Dr. Carl says, “Let the Tao be with you….always!”