Tao Te Ching #1: “A way can be a guide, but not a fixed path”

Notes from the Grid: The Perpetual Adolescent Human Voices Wake Us

Preorder print copies of Notes from the Grid here. https://wordandsilence.com/human-voices-wake-us/ For the next month or so, I will be reading a short book of essays, Notes from the Grid, that I have been writing since 2006. Tonight, I read the sixth and seventh (which begins at 20:30). Spirit Murmur, the album of string quartet music I mention in the episode, composed by Alan Hovhaness and performed by the Shanghai Quartet, can be purchased here. As always, send any comments to humanvoiceswakeus1@gmail.com. — Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/humanvoiceswakeus/support
  1. Notes from the Grid: The Perpetual Adolescent
  2. Notes from the Grid: All Things Can Console
  3. Notes from the Grid: To Criticize the Critic
  4. Notes from the Grid: Rediscovering the Hidden Life
  5. Walt Whitman's Mystical Poetry

A way can be a guide, but not a fixed path;
names can be given, but not permanent labels.
Nonbeing is called the beginning of heaven and earth;
being is called the mother of all things.
Always passionless, thereby observe the subtle;
ever intent, thereby observe the apparent.
These two come from the same source but differ in name;
both are considered mysteries.
The mystery of mysteries
is the gateway of marvels.

– Thomas Cleary


The way that becomes a way
is not the Immortal Way
the name that becomes a name
is not the Immortal Name
no-name is the maiden of Heaven and Earth
name is the mother of all things
thus in innocence we see the beginning
in passion we see the end
two different names
for one and the same
the one we call dark
the dark beyond dark
the door to all beginnings

– Red Pine


The Way as “way” bespeaks no common lasting Way,
The name as “name” no common lasting name.
Absent is the name for sky and land’s first life,
Present for the mother of all ten thousand things.
Desire ever-absent:
Behold the seed germs of all things;
Desire ever-present:
Behold their infinite course.
Forth together come the two
As one and the same
But differ in name.
As one, a dark recess
That probed recedes
Past that portal whence
The milling seed germs teems.

– Moss Roberts


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