THE TAO TEH KING
translated from the Code manifested in the Akasha
by 729 the Wizard Amalantrah
with a commentary by 666
[ed note: the above appears on page 23, the first
22 pages are preface and foreward]
The Principles of Tao
I. THE NATURE OF TAO
1. the Tao-Path is not the all Tao. the thing is not
the thing named.
Tao parallels Pleroma, Shiva, Jod, etc. Teh parallels Logos, Sakti, He, etc. but the conception of Lao Tzu unites all these at their highest. the best parallel is given in Liber CCXX, Chaps I and II, where Hadit is Tao, and Nuit is Teh (yet these are in certain aspects interchanged). the point of this paragraph is to make discrimination or definition, not to assert the superiority of either conception. the illusion of any such preference would depend on the Grade of Initiation of a Student. a Magus 9=2 of A A would doubtless esteem the Path of 'Becoming' as his Absolute, for the Law of his Grade is Change (see Liber I vel Magi). but who knows? an Ipsissimus 10=1 might find a conception to transcend even this. for instance, one might interpret this first paraghaph as saying that Becoming is not Tao, but that Tao is a Being whose nature is Becoming. Matter and Motion cannot exist separately. the reader should regard every verse of this Book as a text worthy of the most intense and prolonged meditation. he will not understand the Book thouroughly until he has wrought his mind into its proper shape in this great Forge of Samadhi.
2. unmanifested, it is the Secret Father of Heaven and Earth; manifested, it is their Mother
this doctrine is the initiated teaching, to hint at which priests invented legends of Parthenogenesis
3. to understand this mystery one must be fulfilling one's will (and therefore, without desire,frictionless) and if one is not thus free, one will but gain a smattering of it.
4. the Tao is one, and the Teh but a phase thereof. the Abyss of this Mystery is the Portal of the Serpent-Wonder.
Cf. Berashith for the identity of the phases 'O'
II. THE ENERGY SOURCE OF THE SELF
1. all men know that beauty and ugliness are
correlatives, as are skill
and clumsiness; one implies and suggests the
III. QUIETING FOLK
1. to reward merit is to stir up emulation; to prize rarities is to encourage robbery; to display desirable things is to excite the disorder of covetousness.
2. therefore the sage governs men by keeping their minds and their bodies at rest, contenting the one by emptiness, the other by fulness. he satisfies their desires, thus fulfilling their wills, and making them frictionless; and he makes them strong in body, to a similar end.
3. he delivers them form the
restlessness of knowledge and the cravings
of discontent. as to those
who have knowledge already, he teaches them
the way of non-action. this
being assured, there is no disorder in the
IV. THE SPRING WITHOUT SOURCE
1. the Tao resembleth the Emptiness of Space; to employ it we must avoid creating ganglia.
See Liber CCXX, 'make no difference between any one thing and any other thing'. inequality (an illusion) as disorder necessarily result from the departure from homogeneity.
Oh Tao, how vast art thou, the Abyss of Abysses, thou Holy and Secret Father of all Fatherhoods of Things!
2. let us make our sharpness blunt, (for that sharpness implies a concentration) let us loosen our complexities; (for these are ganglia of thought, which must be destroyed) let us (on the same principle) tone down brightness to the general obscurity. Oh Tao, how still art thou, how pure, continuous One beyond Heaven!
Cf. the doctrine in Liber CCXX as the 'space-marks'. the stars are blemishes, so to speak, on the continuity of Nuit.
3. This Tao hath no Father;
it is beyond all other conceptions, higher
than the highest.
V. FORMULA OF THE VACUUM
1. Heaven and earth proceed without motive, but casually in their order of nature, dealing with all things carelessly, like used talismans. so also the sages deal with their people, not exercising benevolence, but allowing the nature of all to move without friction.
2. the space between heaven
and earth is their breathing apparatus (and
so must not be interfered
with). exhalation is not exhaustion but the
compliment of inhalation,
and this equally of that. speech (by interfering
with this regular
order of breathing) exhausts; guard thyself, therefore
perfect freedom of thy nature.
VI. PERFECTING OF FORM
1. the Teh is the immortal energy of the Tao,
its feminine aspect. Heaven
and Earth issued from her Gate; this Gate is
the root of their World-Sycamore.
its operation is of pure Love and Joy,
and faileth never.
VII. THE CONCEALMENT OF THE LIGHT
1. Heaven and Earth are mighty in continuance, because their work is delivered from the lust of result.
2. thus also the sage, seeking not any goal, attains all things; he does not interfere in the affairs of his body, and so that body acts without friction. it is because he meddles not with personal aims that these come to pass with simplicity.
see Liber CCXX as to 'lust of result' the general
idea of the Way
of the Tao is that all evil is interference. it is
unnatural action which
is error. non-action is commendable only as a
corrective of such; to interfere
with one's own true Way is Restriction,
the Word of Sin.
VIII. THE NATURE OF PEACE
1. admire thou the High Way of Water! is not Water the soul of the life of things, whereby they change? yet it seeketh its level, and abideth content in obscurity. so also it resembleth the Tao, in this Way thereof!
2. the virtue of a house is to be well-placed; of the mind, to be at ease in silence as of the Abyss; of societies, to be well-disposed; of governments, to maintain quietude; of work, to be skillfully performed; and of all motion, to be made at the right time.
in all these illustrations, Lao Tzu depreciates restlessness or friction.
3. also it is the virtue of a man to abide in his place without discontent; thus offendeth he no man.
point to the previous paragraph. it is all another way
'do what thou wilt'.
IX. THE WAY OF RETICENCE
1. fill not a vessel, lest it spill in carrying. meddle not with a sharpened point by feeling it constantly, or it will soon become blunted. moderation. let well alone.
2. gold and jade endanger the house of their possessor. wealth and hounours lead to arrogance and envy, and bring ruin. is thy way famous and thy name becoming distinguished? withdraw, thy work once done, into obscurity; this is the way of Heaven. attend to the work; ignore the byproducts thereof.
3. here is the Mystery of Virtue (of the Tao,
and of him that hath
It). it creates all and nourishes all; yet
it does not adhere to them;
it operates all, but knows not of it, nor
proclaims it; it directs all,
but without conscious control. Virtue-
X. THINGS ATTAINABLE
1. when soul (neschamah) and body (nephesch) are in the bond of love, they can be kept together. by concentration on the breath (prana) it is brought to perfect elasticity, and one becomes as a babe. by purifying oneself of Samadhi, one becomes whole.
here we see once more the doctrine of being without friction. internal conflict leads to rupture. again, one's Pranayama is to result in perfect pliability and exact adjustment to one's environment. finally, even Sammasamadhi is a defect, so long as it is an experience instead of a constant state. so long as there are two to become one, there are two.
2. in his dealing with individuals and with society, let him move without lust of result. in the management of his breath, let him be like the mother-bird (i.e., brooding like the Spirit, quiet, without effort). let his intelligence (binah) comprehend every quarter; but his knowledge (Daath) cease.
absorb (or understand) everything without conscious knowledge,
is a shock, implying duality, like flint and steel, while understanding
is like a sponge, or even like the ocean absorbing rivers.
XI. THE VALUE OF THE UNEXPRESSED
1. the thirty spokes join in their nave, that is one; yet the wheel depends for use upon hollow place for the axle. clay is shapen to make vessels; but the contained space is what is useful. matter is therefore of use to mark the limits of that Space which is the real thing of value.
introduces the doctrine of the Fourth Dimension. matter is like
bounding a plane. the plane is the real thing, the lines infinitely
small in comparison, and serving only to define it. so also 'Self'
imaginary limit marking off the divisions of the 'Body of
God'. the errors
of Ahamkara (the ego-making faculty) is to take the
illusory surface for
XII. THE WITHDRAWL FROM THE EXTERNAL
1. the five colours film over the sight; the five sounds make hearing dull; the five flavors conceal taste; occupation with motion and action bedevil the mind; even as the esteem of rare things begets covetousness and disorder.
this is the regular Yogi doctrine, and may be tested by experience of various Bhavanas and other proper concentrations. but Lao Tzu draws a parallel for social or political use. to excite cupidity leads to theft at home, and war abroad. it is only too evident today how neglect of this rule has destroyed civilisation; i need not insist on examples of how A's potash, B's iron, C's coal and D's trade routes have caused E to set the world ablaze.
2. the wise man seeks therefore to content the actual needs of the people; not to excite them by the sight of luxuries. he bans these, and concentrates on those.
labour troubles are due to the absurd cult of material
XIII. THE CONTEMPT FOR CIRCUMSTANCES
1. favour and disgrace are equally to be shunned; honour and calamity to be alike regarded as adhering to the personality (and therefore 'ganglia' to be loosened, as stated above.)
2. what is this which is written concerning favour and disgrace? disgrace is the fall from favour. he then that hath favour hath fear, and its loss begetteth fear yet greater of a further fall. what is that which is written concerning honour and calamity? it is this attachment to the body which makes calamity possible; for were one bodiless, what evil could befall him?
3. therefore let him that regardeth himself rightly administer also a kingdom; and let him govern it who loveth it as another man loveth himself.
this does not mean
with extreme devotion, but rather passionless
XIV. THE SHEWING-FORTH OF THE MYSTERY
1. we look at it, and we see it not, though its Omnipresent; and we name it The Root-Balance (Hadit, the Root of Yod). we listen for it, and hear it not, though it is Omniscient; and we name it Silence (Nuit, the Root of He). we feel for it, and touch it not, though it is Omnipotent; and we name it the Concealed (Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Kether, the Root of Vau). these three virtues hath it, yet we cannot describe it as consisting of them; but, mingling them aright, we apprehend the One.
2. above, it shineth not; below, it is not dark. it moveth all continuously, without Expression, returning to Naught. it is Form of That which is beyond Form; it is the Image of the Invisible; it is Change, and Without Limit.
3. we confront it, and see not its Face;
we pursue it, and its back
is hidden from us. Ah! but apply the Tao
as in old time to the work of
the present; know it as it was known
in the Beginning; follow fervently
the Thread of the Tao.
XV. THE APPEARANCE OF THE NATURE
1. the adepts of past ages were subtle and keen to apprehend this Mystery, and their profundity was obscurity unto men. Since then they were not known, let me declare their nature.
2. to all seeming, they were fearful as men that cross a torrent in winter flood; they were hesitating like a man in apprehension of them that are about him; they were full of awe like a guest in a great house; they were readys to disappear like ice in thaw; they were unassuming like unworked wood; they were empty as a valley; and dull as the waters of a marsh
3. who can clear muddy water? Stillness will accomplish this. who can obtain rest? let motion continue eqably, and it will itself be peace.
4. the adepts of the Tao, conserving
its way, seek not to be actively
self-conscious. by their emptyness
of (the ganglion of) Self they
have no need to show their youth
and perfection; to appear old and imperfect
is that privilege
XVI. WITHDRAWL TO THE ROOT
1. emptiness must be perfect, and Silence made absolute with tireless strength. all things pass through the period of action; then they return to repose. they grow, bud, blossom, and fruit; then they return to the root. this return to the root is this state which we name Silence; and this Silence is Witness of their Fulfilment.
2. this cycle is
the universal law. to know (and acquiesce in)
it is the part
of intelligence; to ignore it (or to rebel against it)
folly of action, and the end is madness. to know it brings understanding
and peace; and these lead to the identification of the Self with the
this identification (Samadhi) makes man a king; and
grows into godhood. that godhood bears fruit in the
mastery of Tao. then
the man, the Tao permeating him, endures; and his
bodily principles are
in harmony, proof against (disorder and)
decay, until the hour of
XVII. THE PURITY OF CURRENT
1. in the Age of Gold, the people were not conscious of their rulers; in the Age of Silver, they loved them, with songs; in the Age of Brass, they feared them; in the Age of Iron, they despised them. as the rulers (becoming self conscious) lost confidence, so also did the people lose confidence in them.
hesitating did they seem, the Lords of the Age of Gold, speaking
deliberation, aware of the weight of their word! thus they accomplished
all things with success; and people deemed their well-being to be
course of events.
XVIII. THE DECAY OF MANNERS
1. when men abandoned the Way of the Tao, benevolence and justice became necessary. then also was need of wisdom and cunning, and all fell into illusion. when harmony ceased to prevail in the six spheres it was needful to govern them by manifesting Sons. when the kingdoms and races became confused, loyal ministers had to appear.
it is hard for the student to grasp (at first) the distain
Tzu for what we call good qualities. but the need for this 'good'
by the existence of 'evil', i.e. the restriction of anything
its own will without friction. good is then merely a symptom of
so itself a poison. a man who finds Mercury and Potassium Iodide
for him is a sick man. Frictionless Nourishment is the order of
XIX. RETURNING TO THE PURITY OF THE CURRENT
1. if we forget our statesmanship and our wisdom, it would be a hundred times better for the people. if we forgot our benevolence and our justice, they would become again like sons, folk of good will. if we forgot our machines and our business, there would be no knavery.
2. these new methods despised the olden Way, inventing
fine names to
disguise their barrenness. but simplicity in the doing of
will of everyman
would put an end to vain ambitions and desires.
XX. THE WITHDRAWL FROM THE COMMON WAY
1. to forget learning is to end trouble. the smallest difference in words, such as 'yes' and 'yea', can make endless controversy for the scholar. fearful indeed is death, since all men fear it; but the abyss of questionings, shoreless and bottomless, is worse!
the profane man, how he preens, as if at feast, or gazing
from a tower! but as for me, i am as one who yawns, without
of desire. i am like a babe before its first smile. i appear
forlorn, like a man homeless. the profane man has his need filled,
and more also. for me, i seem to have lost all i had. my mind is as
were stupified; it has no definite shape. the profane man looks lively
keen-witted; i alone appear blank in my mind. they seem eagerly critical;
i appear careless and without perception. i seem to be as one drift
the sea, with no thought of harbour. the profane have each one his
course of action; i alone appear useless and uncomprehending,
like a man
from the border. yea, i alone differ from all other men; but
my jewel is
XXI. THE INFINITE WOMB
1. the sole source of energy (and matter) is Tao. Who may decleare its nature? it is beyond Sense, yet all From is hidden in it. it is beyond Sense, yet all Perceptibles are hidden within it. it is beyond Sense, yet all Being is hidden within it, in its secure Abyss. This being excites Perception, and the Word thereof. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, its Name (Teh) operates continuously, causing all flow in the cycle of Change, which is Love and Beauty. How do i know this? by my comphrehension of Tao.
zero contains all possibilities, for it may be written 0= X +
where X is anything soever and -X is its opposite. however complex
be, it is always cancelled by -X. thus the universe is always
anything and everything, yet actually Nothing.
XXII. THE GUERDON OF MODESTY
1. the part becomes the whole. the curve becomes the straight; the void becomes full; the old becomes new. he who desires little accomplishes his Will with ease; who desires many things becomes distracted (thus he hath none of them).
2. therefore the sage concentrates upon one Will, and it is as a light to the whole world. hiding himself, he shines; withdrawing himself, he attracts notice; humbling himself, he is exalted; dissatisfied with himself (since the one Will is not yet attained) he gains force to achieve his Will. because he striveth not, no man may contend against him.
3. that is no idle saw of men of old: 'the part becomes the whole'; it is the Canon of Perfection.
part X becomes the whole Zero, by cancelling itself through 'love'
XXIII. THE VOID OF NAUGHT
1. to keep silence is the mark of one who is acting in full accordance with his Will. a fierce wind soon falls; a storm-shower does not last all day. yet Heaven and Earth cause these; and if they fail to make violence continue, how much less can man abide in a spasm of passion!
2. with him that devoteth him to Tao, the devotees of Tao are in accord; so also are the devotees of Teh (because Teh is part of Tao), yea, even they who fail in seeking these are in accord (because to him who has Tao all things are realised as harmonious).
3. so then his brothers in the Tao are joyful, attaining it; and his brothers in the Teh are joyful, attaining it; and they who fail in seeking these are joyful, partaking of it. but if he himself realize not the Tao with calm confidence, then they also appear lacking in confidence.
who has Tao has all things rightly disposed; his own failure creates
illusion of general failure.
XXIV. EVIL MANNERS
1. he who stands tiptoe stands not firm; he
who makes rigid his legs
walks ill. he who preens himself shines not;
he who talks positively is
vulgar; he who boasts is refused acceptance;
he who is wise in his own
conceit is thought inferior. such attitudes, to
him that hath the view
given by understanding the Tao, seem like garbage
or like cancer, abhorrent
to all. they then who follow the Way (of
Tao) do not admit them.
XXV. IMAGES OF THE MYSTERY
1. without Limit and Perfect, there is a Becoming, beyond Heaven and Earth. it hath nor Motion or Form; it is Alone; it changeth not (because it comprehendeth Change); it extendeth all ways; it hath no Adversary. it is like the All-Mother.
2. i know not its name, but i call it the Tao. moreoever i exert myself, and call it Vastness.
3. Vastness, the Becoming! Becoming, it flies afar. afar, it draws near. Vast is this Tao; Heaven also is vast; Earth is vast; and the Holy King is vast also (for they conform to the Tao). in the Universe are Four Vastnesses, and of these is the Holy King.
4. man follows the (magick) formula of Earth;
Earth follows that
of Heaven, and Heaven that of Tao. the Formula of
the Tao is its own Nature.
XXVI. THE NATURE OF MASS
1. mass is the fulcrum of mobility; stillness is the father of motion.
2. therefore the sage king, though he travel afar, remains near his supplies. though opportunity tempt him, he remains quietly in proper disposition, indifferent. Should the master of a host of chariots bear himself frivolously? if he attack without support, he loses his base; if he become a raider, he forfeits his throne.
is all obvious military metaphor. if we depart from the Tao,
engaged in futile activities which lead nowhere, and we find
in the Abyss of Choronzon. [enochian demon of dispersion]
XXVII. SKILL IN THE METHOD
1. the experienced traveller conceals his tracks; the clever speaker give no chance to the critic; the skilled mathematician uses no abacus; the ingenious safesmith baffles the burgular without the use of bolts, and the cunning binder without ropes and knots. (the reference is to certain 'puzzles' as we should call them, common in China). so also the sage, skilled in man-emancipation-craft, uses all men; understanding the value of everything, he rejects nothing.
this is called Occult Regimen.
2. the adept is then master to the zelator, and the zelator assists and honours the adept. yet unless these relations were manifest, even the most intelligent observer might be perplexed as to which was which. this is called the Crown of Mystery.
the adept has become so absolutely natural that he appears
ars est celare artem. it is only he who has started
on the Path
that can devine how sublime is the Master.
XXVIII. THE RETURN TO SIMPLICITY
1. balance thy male strength (yod) with they female weakness (he) and thou shalt attract all things, as the ocean absorbs all rivers; for thou shalt formulate the excellence of the Child (vau) eternal, simple and perfect. knowing the Light, remain in the dark. manifest not thy Glory, but thine obscurity. clothed in this Child-excellence eternal, thou hast attained the Return to the First State. knowing splendour of Fame, cling to Obloquy and Infamy; then shalt thou remain as in the Valley to which flow all waters, the lodestone to fascinate all men. Yea, the shall hail in thee this Excellence, eternal, simple and perfect, of the child.
2. the raw material, wrought into
form, produces vessels (Homogeneous
developed into heterogeneous;
naught becoming 'Something'). So the
sage king formulates his
Wholeness in diverse Offices; and his Law (being
concordant with the
nature of his people) is without violence or constraint.
XXIX. REFRAINING FROM ACTION
1. he that, desiring a kingdom, taketh action to obtain it, will fail. a kingdom is of the nature of spirit, and yields not to activity. he who grasp it, destroys it; he who gains it loses it.
the usurper merely seizes the throne; the people are not with him, as with one who becomes king by virtue of natural fitness. the usurper has but the mask of power.
2. the wheel of nature revolves constantly; the last becomes first, and the first last; hot things grow cold, and cold things hot; weakness overcomes strength; things gained are lost anon. hence the wise man avoids effort, desire, and sloth.
effort is the Rajo-Guna,
and makes one go faster than is natural.
sloth is the Tamo-Guna,
and makes one go slower than natural. desire is
the distrubance of the
Sattwa-Guna, exciting the lust of change, in one
direction or the other,
from the natural.
XXX. A WARNING AGAINST WAR
1. if a King summon to his aid a Master of the Tao, let Him not advise recourse to arms. such action certainly brings the corresponding reaction.
2. where armies are, are weeds. bad harvests follow great hosts.
3. the good General strikes decisively once and for all. he does not risk (counter-attack) by over-boldness. he strikes, but does not vaunt his victory. he strikes according to strick law of necessity, not from desire of victory.
in other words, he acts according to the rules of the game, without losing his head by vain glory, ambition, or hatred.
4. things become strong and ripe
then age. this (forcing on of strength,
instead of allowing natural
growth) is discord with the Tao; and what
is not at one with the Tao
XXXI. COMPOSING QUARREL
1. arms, though they be beautiful, are of ill omen, abominable to all created things. they who have the Tao love not their use.
2. the place of honour is on the left in common times, but on the right in wartime: so thinks the man of destinction. sharp weapons are ill-omened, unworthy of such a man; he uses them only in necessity. he values peace and ease, desires not violence of victory. to desire victory is to desire death of men; and to desire that is to fail to propitiate the people.
feasts, the left hand is the high seat; at funerals, the right.
second in command of the army leads the left wing; the commander in
the right wing; it is as if the battle were a rite of mourning.
has slain most men should weep for them most bitterly; so then
of the victor is assigned to him with philosophical propriety.
XXXII. THE WISDOM OF TEH
1. the All-Tao (comprehending Change within itself) has no name.
2. it is That Minute Point (hadit) yet the whole world dare not contend against him that hath it. did a lord or king gain it and guard it, all men would obey him of their own accord.
3. Heaven and Earth combining under its spell, shed forth dew, extending throughout all things of its own accord, without man's interference.
this 'dew' refers to the Elixir of the Fraternity R.C. and of the O.T.O. it has been described, with proper precaution, in various passages of the Equinox and of the Book of Lies.
4. Tao, in phase of action, has a name. then men can comprehend it; when they do this, there is no more risk of wrong or ill-success.
5. as the great rivers
and the oceans are to the valley streams, so
is the Tao to the whole
XXXIII. THE DISCRIMINATION (VIVEKA) OF TEH
1. he who understands others understands Two; but he who understands himself understands One. he who conquers others is strong; but he who conquers himself is stronger yet. (for the same reason as in the first sentence). contentment is riches; and continuous action (equable and carefree) is Will.
2. he adapts himself perfectly to his environment, continues for long; he who dies without dying, live forever.
the last paragraph refers once more
to a certain secret practice
taught by the O.T.O. see, in particular,
the Book of Lies.
XXXIV. THE METHOD OF ATTAINMENT
1. the Tao is immanent; it extendeth to the right hand as to the left.
2. all things derive from it their being; it createth them, and all comply with it. its work is done, and it proclaimeth it not. it is the ornament of all things, yet it claimeth not fief of them; there is nothing so small that it inhabiteth not, and informeth it. all things return, without knowledge of the Cause thereof; there is nothing so great that it inhabiteth no, and informeth it.
3. in this manner also may the Sage perform his Works. it is by
thrusting himself forward that he wins to his success.
XXXV. THE GOOD WILL OF THE TEH
1. the whole world is drawn to him that hath the likeness of the Tao (i.e., the Teh). Men flock unto him, and suffer no ill, but gain repose, find peace, enjoy all ease.
2. sweet sounds and
cates lure the traveller from his way. but the Word
of Tao, though it
appear harsh and insipid, unworthy to harken or to behold,
use all inexhaustible.
XXXVI. THE HIDING OF THE LIGHT
1. in order to draw breath, first empty the lungs; to weaken another, first strengthen him, to overthrow another, first exhalt him; to despoil another, first load him with gifts; this is called the Occult Regimen.
2. the soft conquers the hard; the weak pulls down the strong.
3. the fish that leaves the Ocean is lost; the method of government must be concealed from the people.
argument that can be adduced in favour of a Enlightened
that it provides more completely for the fooling of the Sovereign
than any other known system.
XXXVII. THE RIGHT USE OF GOVERNMENT
1. the Tao proceedeth by its own nature, doing nothing; therefore there is no doing which it comprehendeth not.
2. if kings and princes were to govern in this manner, all things would operate aright by their own motion.
3. if this transmutation were my object, i should call it Simplicity. Simplicity hath no name nor purpose; silently and at ease all things go well.