Dao. Mostly associated in the West with Daoism and the DaoDeJing, it is a Chinese word with many meanings. Originally, the basic meanings are "road" and "woof" (as is the warp and the woof, or weft), signifying the horizontal lines of a fabric or a system of roads and paths. In contrast to "jing". Dao has come to mean many things, including road, way, path, morals, origin, line, journey, way or method, course, or doctrine. Used by the Daoists to indicate that which is common to all things. Similar in some ways to Zen, although very different in their linguistic roots (Zen is a bastardization of the Sankrit "Dhyana", by way of the Chinese word "Chan", all of which refer originally to deep meditative absorption, but have come to refer, in English to some peculiar quality that is difficult to name. In the DaoDeJing, it is referred to as the source of all things, mother of the universe, so large that it contains all, and yet so small that nothing is not permeated by it. The classic analogy, used also in Zen circles, is that of a the fish who does not know what water is because it is all pervading, and yet it is precisely that which gives life. (spelt Tao in the Wade-Giles system)