This sentence, the first in the Dao De Jing, is just so…I just like it so much. Lol. So here are five different translations of that one sentence:
The Dao that can be spoken is not the eternal Dao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The Dao that can be understood cannot be the primal, or cosmic, Dao, just as an idea that can be expressed in words cannot be the infinite idea.
There are ways but the Way is uncharted. There are names but not nature in words.
The way that becomes a way is not the Immortal Way; the name that becomes a name is not the Immortal Name
The divine law may be spoken of, but it is not the common law. Things may be named, but names are not the things.
Five different translations, five different flavors.
And here’s the original Mandarin:
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