Dao de Jing: The Book of the Way

By Laozi; Moss Roberts | Go to book overview
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1. Manifesting material in form unshaped,
2. Born before heaven and earth themselves, 1
3. Unseen, unheard, above, apart,
4. Standing alone ever true to itself,
5. Swinging in cycles that never fail, 2
6. Mother of heaven and earth, it seems,
7. But I know not how to give it names.
8. Pressed, I shall dub it the moving Way,
9. Or call it by name the all-supreme,
10. All-supreme and passing-beyond,
11. Passing-beyond and reaching-far,
12. Reaching-far and reverting-back.
13. Indeed the Way is all-supreme,
14. And heaven too, and earth, and man—
15. The four things in this world supreme,
16. And among them one is man, 3
17. Who is bound to follow the rule of earth,
18. As earth must follow heaven's rule,
19. And heaven the rule of the Way itself;
20. And the moving Way is following
21. The self-momentum of all becoming.

COMMENT Which is more valued, the mother or the child? One of the principles of priority within the ruling families with multiple wives was “the mother is honored for the child; the child for the mother. 4 This means that the mother's status depends on having a child or on the career of that child, and the child's fortunes rest with the power of its mother's family. Laozi implicitly addresses the succession question by making the female figure su


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