Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
Search Quotes Search Sages Search Chapters

Chapter 14
Finding and Following the Formless Form

We look but don’t see – it’s beyond form.
We listen but don’t hear – it’s beyond sound.
We grasp but can’t hold on – it’s intangible.

All three undifferentiated, it merges into oneness
With no light above and no shadow below -
Continuity

It returns beyond the realm of things
To emptiness: the formless form,
The empty image,
Unthinkable thought beyond imagination.

Face it but you will see no beginning,
Follow it but you will see no end.
Yet upholding this ancient way,
You will merge with and rule the present
Holding fast to the perpetual, momentary flickering of mind.

Commentary

“About what has no color, sound, or form; mouths can’t speak and books can’t teach… We cannot find it through investigation.”

Heshang Gong 河上公 via Edward Erkes
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)
202 – 157 BCE
from Lao-tzu-chu

Themes: Books

Comments: Click to comment

“Wisdom is not wisdom when it is derived from books alone.”

Horace
65 – 8 BCE

Themes: Books

Comments: Click to comment

“we call it ‘the formless form.’ But although it has neither shape nor form, neither sound nor echo, there is nothing it cannot penetrate and nowere it cannot go.”

Wang Bi 王弼
226 – 534 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“If you use your mind to study reality, you won't understand either your mind or reality. If you study reality without using your mind, you'll understand both.”

Bodhidharma 菩提達磨
(Daruma)
5th-6th C. CE

Themes: Reality

Comments: Click to comment

“There’s another world beyond the world of man.”

Li Bai 李白
(Li Bo)
701 – 762 CE

Themes: Shambhala

Comments: Click to comment

“there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient things, but that sentient being are attached to forms and so seek externally… By their very seeking they lose it.”

Huangbo Xiyun 黄檗希运
(Huangbo Xiyun, Huángbò Xīyùn, Obaku)
? - 850 CE

Themes: Ordinary Mind

Comments: Click to comment

“The treasury of teachings of the whole age cannot explain it thoroughly.”

Yuanwu Keqin 圜悟克勤 via J.C. and Thomas Cleary
(Yuánwù Kèqín)
1063 – 1135 CE
from Blue Cliff Record, Biyan lu 碧巖錄

Comments: Click to comment

“After awakening, continuity is the function of self dropped away.”

Hóngzhì Zhēngjué 宏智正覺
(Shōgaku)
1091 – 1157 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“One moon shows in every pool, in every pool the one moon.”

Mumon Ekai 無門慧開
(Wumen Huikai)
1183 – 1260 CE
from The Gateless Gate, 無門関, 無門關

Themes: Moon

Comments: Click to comment

“There is no beginning to practice nor end to enlightenment; There is no beginning to enlightenment nor end to practice.”

Dōgen Zenji 道元禅師
1200 – 1253 CE

Themes: Enlightenment

Comments: Click to comment

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”

Meister Eckhart
(Eckhart von Hochheim)
1260 – 1328 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“Originally, thoughts have no real substance… if they arise, just let them arise; if they stop, just let them stop. As long as you’re not attaching to these reflected traces, delusions won’t be produced.”

Bankei 盤珪永琢
(Bankei Yōtaku)
1622 – 1693 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“looking upon others and oneself as the same there will be no discordant action.”

Liu Yiming 刘一明 via Thomas Cleary
(Liu I-ming)
1734 – 1821 CE
from Taoist I Ching, , Zhouyi chanzhen 周易闡真

Themes: Egolessness

Comments: Click to comment

“Without a center, without an edge… without an inside, without an outside… as far as the sky pervades, so does awareness.”

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol ཞབས་དཀར་ཚོགས་དྲུག་རང་གྲོལ། via Matthieu Ricard
1781 – 1851 CE
from Life of Shabkar: The Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin

Comments: Click to comment

“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”

Henry David Thoreau
1817 – 1862 CE
Father of environmentalism and America's first yogi
from Walden or Life in the Woods

Comments: Click to comment

“The Holy Land is everywhere.”

Black Elk
(Heȟáka Sápa)
1863 – 1950 CE

Themes: Sacred World

Comments: Click to comment

“What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.”

Bertrand Russell
1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”
from Autobiography of Bertrand Russell

Comments: Click to comment

“'I live' becomes the objective 'it lives me'… In the Pauline Christ-symbol ('No longer do I live, but Christ liveth in me.') the deepest religious experience of the West and East meet.”

Carl Jung via Introduction to Secret of the Golden Flower
1875 – 1961 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.”

A.A. Milne
(Alan Alexander Milne)
1882 – 1956 CE
from Winnie the Pooh

Themes: Problems

Comments: Click to comment

“My consciousness is the world and the consciousness of the world is me.”

Krishnamurti
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)
1895 – 1986 CE
from Awakening of Intelligence

Themes: Know Yourself

Comments: Click to comment

“We have to believe in something that has no form and no color – something that exists before all forms and colors appear… By enlightenment I mean believing in nothing.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
1904 – 1971 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“…the endlessness of all that is, and the limitation of mortal bodily life, are the same, and their sameness is the key to the door.”

Ursula Le Guin
1929 – 2018 CE

Themes: One Taste

Comments: Click to comment

“‘Mind’ is a tool invented by the universe to see itself; but it can never see all of itself, for much the same reason that you can’t see your own back…

Robert Anton Wilson
1932 – 2007 CE

Comments: Click to comment

“‘Mind’ is a tool invented by the universe to see itself; but it can never see all of itself, for much the same reason that you can’t see your own back…

Robert Anton Wilson
1932 – 2007 CE

Themes: Mind

Comments: Click to comment

“What I stand for is what I stand on.”

Wendell Berry
1934 CE –

Comments: Click to comment

“There are enormous problems with thinking that we can only trust in what we were told rather than in how we feel… we are trying to become perfect actors rather than real people.”

Chögyam Trungpa
1939 – 1987 CE
from Journey Without Goal

Comments: Click to comment

“The ‘face’ and ‘back’ we don’t see refer to the darkness of the moon as it waxes and wanes.”

Red Pine or Bill Porter
1943 CE –

Comments: Click to comment

 

Comments (0)

Please log in or create an account to comment.