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From Thelemapedia

Tao (道 literally the Way or the Path; pronounced "Dao"), often translated as The Principle, is a basic element in Chinese philosophy. It is the ever-lasting essential and fundamental force that runs through all matter in the Universe, living or not. It is most often associated with Taoism, but Confucianism also refers to it. To put it simply the tao is.

An understanding of the Tao may be approached (see note) as a certain resonance residing in the negative space created by glamorous objects. At the same time it flows through the glamourous objects to form the immediacy that they create. It is thus said (in the Tao Teh Ching by Lao Tzu c.604 - c.521 BCE ) to nurture all things: to create a pattern in the chaos. The signature characteristic of this pattern is "unfulfillable longing," to borrow a phrase from Amadeus. Taoist philosophers therefore ascribed to it the quality of change, and artwork attempting to reproduce it is characterized by flaws.

In describing Tao, the following analogy has been used: Imagine a person walking on a road. A bamboo pole is carried, resting on the person's shoulder. On the end of the pole two buckets are suspended. The buckets are likened to yin and yang. The pole is Taiji, the entity integrating the two. The road is Tao.

Tao is spoken of in many ways in the Tao Te Ching. The following interpolation of the first stanza is based on five of the best known translations:

The Tao that can be known is not Tao.
The substance of the World is only a name for Tao.
Tao is all that exists and may exist;
the World is only a map of what exists and may exist.
One experiences without Self to sense the World,
and experiences with Self to understand the World.
The two experiences are the same within Tao;
they are distinct only within the World.
Neither experience conveys Tao
which is infinitely greater and more subtle than the World.
Tao Te Ching (1) Based on an interpolation by Peter Merel of translations by Lin Yutang, Ch'u Ta-Kao, Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English, Richard Wilhelm and Aleister Crowley.[1] (

See also


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