Look, it cannot be seen - it is beyond form.
Listen, it cannot be heard - it is beyond sound.
Grasp, it cannot be held - it is intangible.
These three are indefinable;
Therefore they are joined in one.
From above it is not bright;
From below it is not dark:
An unbroken thread beyond description.
It returns to nothingness.
The form of the formless,
The image of the imageless,
It is called indefinable and beyond imagination.
Stand before it and there is no beginning.
Follow it and there is no end.
Stay with the ancient Tao,
Move with the present.
Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.
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 unthinkable thought.
Face it: no face.
Follow it: no end.
Holding fast to the old Way,
we can live in the present.
Mindful of the ancient beginnings,
we hold the thread of the Tao.
Looked at but cannot be seen - it is beneath form;
Listened to but cannot be heard - it is beneath sound;
Held but cannot be touched - it is beneath feeling;
These depthless things evade definition,
And blend into a single mystery.
In its rising there is no light,
In its falling there is no darkness,
A continuous thread beyond description,
Lining what does not exist;
Its form formless,
Its image nothing,
Its name silence;
Follow it, it has no back,
Meet it, it has no face.
Attend the present to deal with the past;
Thus you grasp the continuity of the Way,
Which is its essence.
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