Tao Tuesday – Chapter 40

On Tao Te Ching Daily, Amy Putkonin posts a chapter from her version of the Tao Te Ching every Tuesday, and invites fellow bloggers to comment on the chapter. Links to all the participating blogs are collected on the Tao Tuesday post there. You are welcome to participate too. Just link to Tao Te Ching Daily in your post, then add a link to your post on the Tao Te Ching daily post. I like to experience the chapter, comment, then read the other comments to expand that initial understanding. I hope to see your post there πŸ˜€


Tao is the movement back to source.
Yielding is its way.
The Ten Thousand Things exist from being.
Being exists from non-being.

As concise as it is, Chapter 40 reflects two of the core ideas in Taoism: “Only the empty cup can be filled” and “Life is movement, stagnation is death”

Without the state of non-existance, the state of existance wouldn’t have any meaning – just like light is meaningless without dark, up without down, and every other dynmic, balanced, relative opposite there is. I love that Amy uses a picture of Einstein on her Tao Tuesday posts…especially in this case. It is all relative – opposites owe their existance to each other, and existance owes itself to non-existance. Pretty brain – bendy, wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey kind of stuff, as Doctor Who fans already know πŸ˜‰

“The Tao is movement back to source” hints that not only is everything relative, it’s in motion. If everything stayed put…then movement would cease, life would cease. Β In the grand scheme of things, in the greater truth, things move toward non-being as much as things move toward being. If everything shifted to positive, then negative would cease and positive would in turn cease to have meaning. The converse is true as well. All things come to be from non-being (some might call this the “void”) . If there was no void, then the stuff that is loses all meaning…and in some essence, looses its life and existance.

If everything returns to the void, then nothing exists…IS stops, and the void becomes all-there-is…the void becomes what IS, and the idea of nothing or no-existance disappears. Without the opposite of being, non-being ceases to exist as well.

At a very fundamental level, the Tao teaches us of dynamic opposites. The beauty of Taoism is expressing such fundamental truths in clear, obvious ways. Taoism can speak big truths in few words. This chapter is an excellent example of that.