What does “the Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao” mean?

One of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Tao Te Ching revolves around the concept of the Tao itself.

Indeed, it is a very difficult question to formidable challenge. Even Lao Tzu, the author of the Tao Te Ching, struggles to a definitive answer. “The Tao that can be mentioned is not the eternal Tao,” says the sage at the beginning chapter of the ancient book.

The Tao is inherently elusive. It is literally beyond explanation because it exists beyond the realm of sensory perception. You cannot see, touch, hear, or smell it. It is formless. Describing something formless poses a challenge that is beyond even the most intelligent of the human being.

Although it is difficult to explain, understanding the Tao is crucial if we want to know how things work. It underlies every existence, and it keeps the entire universe in order. 

I created a series of four videos to offer a foundation for grasping the essence of Tao and to illustrate why it defies description. These videos approach the question of Tao from five different perspectives. Through them, I hope I can provide you with a glimpse into the nature of Tao and help you appreciate the challenges in explaining it.

Reason 1: It’s too old

Reason 2: It’s too big

Reason 3: It’s too small

Reasons 4:  It has no shape

Reason 5:  It can be in any shape

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