The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao

The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.

The named is the mother of ten thousand things.

these two spring from the same source but differ in name;

This appears as darkness.

Darkness within darkness.

The gate to all mystery.


The Tao begot one.

One begot two.

Two begot three.

And three begot the ten thousand things.

The ten thousand things carry yin and embrace yang.

They achieve harmony by combining these forces.

Men hate to be, “orphaned,” “Widowed,” or “worthless,”

But this is how kings and lords describe themselves.

For one gains by losing

And loses by gaining.