Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Tao Te Ching
Chapter 6
The Source

The valley spirit of the morning light never dies.
The mysterious feminine, the primal mother;
The root and source of heaven and earth,
Elusive as gossamer yet inexhaustible and unfailing.


“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth

Themes: Meaningfulness

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“How could what is real end? How could it have been created? For if it came into being, it would have had to come from nothing. But nothing is not. Therefore there is no birth or death.”

Parmenides 540 – 450 BCE via Shan Dao
Grandfather of Western philosophy
from On Nature

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“They are free and do nothing, yet there is nothing they do not do… All thing have their outcomes, but only sages know how to keep to the root… they respond like echoes without wearing out.”

Liú Ān 劉安 1 via Thomas Cleary
from Huainanzi

Themes: Skillful Means

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“That which is called the Christian religion existed among the ancients and never did not exist from the beginning of the human race”

Augustine ɔːɡəstiːn 354 – 430 CE via Thomas Merton
(Saint Augustine, Saint Austin, Augustine of Hippo)

Themes: Christianity

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“The innate purity that is the nature of mind… exists within, so do not look elsewhere.”

Virupa བི་རཱུ་པ། 1 via Keith Dowman
(“Dakini Master”)
Mahasiddha #3
from Masters of Mahamudra

Themes: Travel Mind

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“When there is continuous awareness from mind-moment to mind-moment you will naturally meet the Source on all sides.”

Yuanwu Keqin 圜悟克勤 1063 – 1135 CE
(Yuánwù Kèqín)
from Zen Letters

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“The feminine, the valley, the spontaneity of spiritual transformation, this subtle and profound way to wonder is the most powerfully creative principle”

Zhu Xi 朱熹 1130 – 1200 CE via Wing-Tsit Chan, Shan Dao
(Zhū Xī)

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“For us there can be no attachment to a particular manner of behavior in this life, nor has this ever been right, however successful we may have been.”

Meister Eckhart 1260 – 1328 CE
(Eckhart von Hochheim)

Themes: Strategy Success

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“Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.”

Teresa of Avila 1515 – 1582 CE
from Way of Perfection

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“Purposeful action leads to exhaustion. The Tao is empty and acts without purpose. Therefore it can’t be exhausted.”

Deqing 1546 – 1623 CE

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“The ‘valley spirit’… is named the Mysterious Female and the Doorway of the Mysterious Female is the base from which Heaven and Earth sprang. It is there within us all the while; draw upon it as you will, it never runs dry.”

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

Themes: Magic

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“Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, then reached the caverns measureless to man”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772 – 1834 CE
from Kubla Khan

Themes: Emptiness

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“Eternal truths survive the shock of empires, outlive the struggles of rival creeds, and witness the decay of successive religions.”

Henry Thomas Buckle 1821 – 1862 CE
from History of Civilization

Themes: Religion

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“At the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit. And that center is really everywhere. It is within each of us.”

Black Elk 1863 – 1950 CE
(Heȟáka Sápa)

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“when spirit began to degenerate into intellect, there set a reaction against it, … the dark, earth-born, feminine principle with its emotionality and instinctiveness reaching far back into the depths of time and into the roots of psychological continuity.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist

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“there is a purpose above each purpose, and there is again a purpose under each purpose; and yet beyond and beneath all purposes there is no purpose.”

Inayat Khan 1882 – 1927 CE

Themes: Meaningfulness

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“Emptiness is the garden where you can't see anything. It is the mother of all.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE via David Chadwick

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“Because of the feminine principle… there is a lot of room, openness, groundlessness… no one is standing on any ground so communication can take place quite freely.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Illusion's Game

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Comments (1)

  1. Shan Dao
    Shan Dao 6 years ago
    Liezi, a Taoist master in the 4th C. BCE quotes this passage but attributes it to Huangdi (the Yellow Emperor 2698-2598 BCE) instead of to Lao Tzu. Du Daojian (1264-1306 CE) wrote that Lao Tzu frequently used passages like this from ancient texts. The translator, Arthur Waley writes that this doesn’t necessarily mean that Lao Tzu was quoting from Huangdi’s Book of the Yellow Ancestor but rather from a shared oral tradition. Those of us in the West who have a difficult time even imagining the antiquity of Lao Tzu’s time, may have an interesting time contemplating that many of these teachings were considered ancient already in the 6th Century BCE.
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