What the The Tao Te Ching Says About Extremes and Dualities


Taoism (arising around the time Buddhism arose), whose well-known yin yang symbol, is about the natural Way of things…balance, harmony, and coherence. When there is balance, there is peace. When there is balance, there is perfection. The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao so whatever words are written on the Tao are simply a shadow of the true absolute nature of the Tao. However, the words that can be written on the Tao are nonetheless very helpful for anyone who is looking for a guiding light towards living a life of balance in all areas of life and existence. The following are what the Tao Te Ching says about extremes and dualities.

Without Extremes

The cup is easier to hold
when not filled to overflowing.
The blade is more effective
if not tempered beyond its mettle.
Gold and jade are easier to protect
if possessed in moderation.
He or she who seeks titles,
invites his or her own downfall.
The sage works quietly,
seeking neither praise nor fame;
completing what he or she does with natural ease,
and then retiring.
This is the way and nature of Tao.

Experiencing the Mystery

The Tao is abstract,
and therefore has no form,
it is neither bright in rising,
nor dark in sinking,
cannot be grasped, and makes no sound.
Without form or image, without existence,
the form of the formless, is beyond defining,
cannot be described,
and is beyond our understanding.
It cannot be called by any name.
Standing before it, it has no beginning;
even when followed, it has no end.
In the now, it exists; to the present apply it,
follow it well, and reach its beginning.

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