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 the ten thousand things. Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations. These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gate to all mystery. % % If you can talk about it, it ain't Tao. If it has a name, it's just another thing. Tao doesn't have a name. Names are for ordinary things. Stop wanting stuff; it keeps you from seeing what's real. When you want stuff, all you see are things. Those two sentences mean the same thing. Figure them out, and you've got it made.
Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. All can know good as good only because there is evil. Therefore having and not having arise together. Difficult and easy complement each other. Long and short contrast each other: High and low rest upon each other; Voice and sound harmonize each other; Front and back follow one another. Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking. The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease, Creating, yet not. Working, yet not taking credit. Work is done, then forgotten. Therefore it lasts forever. % % If something looks beautiful to you, something else must be ugly. If something seems good, something else must seem bad. You can't have something without nothing. If no job is difficult, then no job is easy. Some things are up high because other things are down low. You know you're listening to music because it doesn't sound like noise. All that came first, so this must be next. The Masters get the job done without moving a muscle and get their point across without saying a word. When things around them fall apart, they stay cool. They don't own much, but they use whatever's at hand. They do the work without expecting any favors. When they're done, they move on to the next job. That's why their work is so damn good.