title: Tao Te Ching 1 - The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao

Book - Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu

Stephen Mitchell Translation

The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name1.

The unnamable is the eternally real2. 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

1: Truth is never expressed in words 2: the map is not the territory - misplaced concreteness -

Other translations I like

- Ursula Le Guin

The way you can go isn’t the real way. The name you can say isn’t the real name.

Heaven and earth begin in the unnamed: name’s the mother of the ten thousand things.

So the unwanting soul sees what’s hidden, and the ever-wanting soul sees only what it wants.

Two things, one origin, but different in name, whose identity is mystery.

Mystery of all mysteries! The door to the hidden.