Study Guide

Tao Te Ching Chapter 25

By Lao Tzu

Chapter 25

  • This one starts by talking about some formless thing that existed before the Heaven and Earth.
  • (Hmm... what could it be?!)
  • It's quiet.
  • It's changeless, but is endlessly circulating.
  • It's the mother of the world.
  • We're guessing you've guessed what it is.
  • Yup, it's the Tao.
  • The TTC admits that it doesn't know the name of the Tao; Tao is only the name that's used.
  • The best way to describe it is "great," and "great" means that it's constantly receding and returning like a big, whopping ocean of everything (25.9).
  • The TTC closes this one out with the general hierarchy of everything there is.
  • Humans follow Earthly laws (because what choice do we have?)
  • Earth follows Heavenly laws. (It can't exactly stop revolving around the Sun, now can it?)
  • Heaven follows the Tao. (The Tao is the flow of everything, so the Universe doesn't get much choice in that, either.)
  • Lastly, the Tao follows the laws of nature, which is what it's basically made of, right?
  • It's the way—the flow of everything.

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