"What you don't see when you look
is called the unobtrusive.
What you don hear when you listen
is called the rarefied.
What you don't get when you grasp
is called the subtle.
These three cannot be completely fathomed,
so they merge into one:
above is not bright, below is not dark.
Continuous, unnameable, it returns again to
This is called the stateless state,
the image of no thing;
this is called mental abstraction.
When you face it you do not see its head,
when you follow it you do not see its back.
Hold the ancient Way
so as to direct present existence:
only when you can know the ancient
can this be called the basic cycle of the Way."
- Translated by Thomas Cleary, 1991, Chapter 14
"Looked at, but cannot be seen -
That is called the Invisible (yi).
Listened to, but cannot be heard -
That is called the Inaudible (hsi).
Grasped at, but cannot be touched -
That is called the Intangible (wei).
These three elude our inquiries
And hence blend and become One.
Not by its rising, is there light,
Nor by its sinking, is there darkness.
It cannot be defined,
And reverts again to the realm of nothingness.
That is why it is called the Form of the Formless,
The Image of Nothingness.
That is why it is called the Elusive:
Meet it and you do not see its face;
Follow it and you do not see its back."
- Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 14
"Look for it, you won't see It;
It is called 'fleeting.'
Listen for It, you won't hear It;
It is called 'thin.'
Grasp at It, You can't get It;
It is called 'subtle.'
These three lines
Are about something that evades scrutiny.
Yes, in it everything blends and becomes one.
Its top is not bring
Its underside is not dim.
It runs back to nothingness.
This is the shape of something shapeless
The form of a nothing
This is elusive and evasive.
Encountering it, you won't see the front
Following it, you won't see its back.
Keep to the Tao of the ancients
And so manage things happening today.
The ability to know the ancient sources
This is the main thread of Tao."
- Translated by Michael LaFargue, 1992, Chapter 14
- Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 14
shih chih pu chien ming yüeh yi.
t'ing chih pu wên ming yüeh hsi.
po chih pu tê ming yüeh wei.
tz'u san chê pu k'o chih chieh.
ku hun erh wei yi.
ch'i shang pu chiao ch'i hsia pu mei.
shêng shêng pu k'o ming.
fu kuei yü wu wu.
shih wei wu chuang chih chuang.
wu wu chih hsiang.
shih wei hu huang.
ying chih pu chien ch'i shou.
sui chih pu chien ch'i hou.
chih ku chih tao.
yi yü chin chih yu.
nêng chih ku shih.
shih wei tao chi.
- Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 14
"We look for it but do not see it:
we name it "subtle."
We listen for it but do not hear it;
we name it "rare."
We grope for it but do not grasp it;
we name it "serene."
These three cannot be fully fathomed,
They are bound together to make unity.
its top is not distant,
its bottom is not blurred.
It returns to non-entity.
This is called
"the form of the formless,"
"the image of nonentity."
This is called "the amorphous."
Following behind it,
you cannot see its back;
Approaching it from the front,
you cannot see its head.
Hold to the Way of today
to manage the actualities of today
thereby understanding the primeval beginning.
This is called "the thread of the Way.""
- Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990, Chapter 14
"When you look, it isn't there
Listen and you cannot hear it
It seems to be beyond your reach
Because you are so near it
This single source of everything
Appears to be an empty image
Though it cannot be understood
You can see its naked visage
Follow it to nothingness
Approach it where you have no face
From nowhere to infinity
This vacant image leaves no trace
From never to eternity
This naked face is what you are
An empty, vacant, open door
- Translated by Jim Clatfelder, 2000, Chapter 14
"Se le llama invisible porque mirándole no se le ve.
Se le llama inaudible porque escuchándole no se le oye.
Se le llama impalpable porque tocándole no se le siente.
Estos tres estados son inescrutables y se confunden en uno solo.
En lo alto no es luminoso, en lo bajo no es oscuro.
Es eterno y no puede ser nombrado, retorna al no-ser de las cosas.
Es la forma sin forma y la imagen sin imagen.
Es lo confuso e inasible.
De frente no ves su rostro, por detrás no ves su espalda.
Quien es fiel al Tao antiguo domina la existencia actual.
Quien conoce el primitivo origen posee la esencia del Tao."
- Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 14
"Look at it: nothing to see.
Call it colorless.
Listen to it: nothing to hear.
Call it soundless.
Reach for it: nothing to hold.
Call it intangible.
it merges into oneness,
not bright above,
not dark below.
Never, oh! never
can it be named.
It reverts, it returns
Call it the form of the unformed,
the image of no image.
Call it the unthinkable thought.
Face it: no face.
Follow it: no end.
Hold fast to the old Way,
we can live in the present.
Mindful of the ancient beginnings,
we hold the thread of the Tao."
- Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin, 1997, Chapter 14
Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching
Taoism: A Selected Reading List
A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes 20 different English translations or interpolations of each Chapter, 3 Spanish translations for each Chapter, the Chinese characters for each Chapter, and the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for each Chapter; extensive indexing by key words and terms for each Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization is provided; recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, and other resources for each Chapter are included.