Tao Te Ching #32: “The Way is essentially nameless”

The Way is essentially nameless.
Though simplicity is small,
the world cannot subordinate it.
If lords and monarchs can keep to it,
all beings will naturally resort to them.
Heaven and earth combine,
thus showering sweet dew.
No humans command it;
it is even by nature.
Start fashioning, and there are names;
once names also exist,
you should know when to stop.
By knowing when to stop,
you are not endangered.
The Way is to the world
as rivers and oceans to valley streams.

– Thomas Cleary


The Tao remains unnamed
simple and though small
no one can command it
if a lord upheld it
the world would be his guest
when Heaven joins with Earth
they bestow sweet dew
no one gives the order
it comes down to all
the first distinction gives us names
once we have a name
we should know restraint
who knows restraint avoids trouble
to picture the Tao in the world
imagine a stream and the sea

– Red Pine


The Way continues on unnamed.
Though in its unhewn rawness low and humble,
None in the realm can force it to serve.
When lords and kings to this Way keep,
Ten thousand things as honored guests attend.

When heaven and earth conjoined and shed skymead,
Uncommanded the people shared it fairly.
But the advent of rule brought names;
And names meant mastering restraint.
To master restraint ensures survival.
The Way’s a presence in the realm of men,
As valley streams join rivers, then the ocean.

– Moss Roberts