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Lao Tzu for Everyone

Students, Scholars

& Seekers

Peter Gilboy, Ph.D.



the Way

           第 四 十 二 章

Line 1  道 生 一

      一 生 二

      二 生 三

      三 生 萬物


Line 2  萬物負陰而抱陽

Line 3 中氣以爲和





Line 4  天下之所惡唯孤寡不穀

Line 5  而王公以自名也

Line 6 勿 ()或?員女  (損) 之而益

           益之而?員女 (損)

Line 7  故人之所 (亦) 議而教人

Line 8 故 (梁) 者不得死


likely scribal error, loan character or corrupted character




No Boundaries

       Lao Tzu again reminds us that the Way comes forth as all things in the world, but without being reduced to the things of the world. But "comes forth," it's just a manner of speaking. The way is not "coming forth" as something different from the Way.  No, the Way is inborn and indwelling in all things, closer than hands and feet.  There is no boundary between ourselves and the Way.

       Each thing in our world is unique and possesses it's own way.  That is why the "return" of which Lao Tzu speaks, is not a "going somewhere," but a journey back to our first-self, back to our original and indwelling way.  

     Our first-self is already present to us and always available to be rediscovered. Perhaps we have sensed it at times, but our attention has been diverted or crowded out by the many goings on in our days. And, perhaps that is why Lao Tzu continually reminds us of the Way's immanence.


Click on each line number

 for Chinese-English interlinear

& commentary


Tao births


One births


Two births


And three

births the

10,000 things.










The 10,000 things

carry yin

on their backs 

and embrace yang

in their arms.







And, harmony results from

the proper blending 

of yin and yang's

[qì] life-energies.






In the whole world,

what is detested by all

is being

orphaned, widowed,

and worthless.





And yet this is how

kings and dukes

refer to themselves.




There are some

things that gain by losing

and others that

lose by gaining.



For that reason

what others have taught,

upon reflection,

I teach to still others.





Because the violent

and the strong-willed

do not die

of natural causes,

I take this as the very

starting point

for my learning.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​.  .  .  .  .  .




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