Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Celebrating Mystery

Look at it; nothing to see.
Call it colorless.
Listen to it: nothing to hear.
Call it soundless.
Reach for it: nothing to hold.
Call it intangible.

Triply undifferentiated,
it merges into oneness,
not bright above,
not dark below.

Never, oh! never
can it be named.
It reverts, it returns
to unbeing.
Call it the form of the unformed,
the image of no image.

Call it unthinkable thought.
Face it: no face.
Follow it: no end.

Holding fast to the old Way,
we can live in the present.
Mindful of the ancient beginnings,
we hold the threat of the Tao.


I reread this passage every year or so. "Celebrating Mystery" is my favourite chapter in Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching and Ursula K. Le Guin's rendition gives this text a kind of vibrance that captivates me.

The Tao Te Ching is a book that has proven invaluable to me. It is a book that actively resists interpretation. It offers simple lessons from which to fashion a principled life but, simultaneously, offers a literate, accessible, and subsersive commentary on consciousness and history.

1 comment:

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