Thank you Vajradhara for the recommendation on Thomas Cleary's translation of Tao Te Ching. Just picked up a copy of The Essential Tao. As far as translation go this is quite different from the one I've been reading. Chapter 1 from two translations: Chapter 1 The tao that can be described is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be spoken is not the eternal Name. The nameless is the bourndary of Heaven and Earth. The named is the mother of creation. Freed from desire, you can see the hidden mystery. By having desire, you can only see what is visibly real. Yet mystery and reality emerge from the same source. This source is called darkness. Darkness born from darkness. The beginning of all understanding. -translated by J. H. McDonald Chapter 1 A way can be a guide, but not a fixed path; names can be given, but not permanent labels. Nonbeing is called the beginning of heaven and earth; being is called the mother of all things. Always passionless, thereby observe the subtle; ever intent, thereby observe the apparent. These two come from the same source but differ in name; both are considered mysteries. The mystery of mysteries is the gateway of marvels. -translated by Thomas Cleary These were not put in order of my preference. They don't seem to be translated from the same piece of work. Are they both saying the same thing and I just don't understand?