Translation: Tao Te King – Chapter 52. Returning to origin cause

Chapter 52. Returning to origin cause

Picture of a monochrome painting depicting Laozi riding a bull with the merchandise in his right hand.
Lao-c by Tomáš Páv 1920. PD life-plus-seventy uploaded by Tomáš Páv.

That, of which the universe emerged from, can be considered its mother.

By knowing the mother you will figure out the child.¹

And if knowing the child you consider the mother higher you will suffer no evil, even if your body perishes.

Keep your mouth locked and close the doors of vision and hearing and you will have no troubles all through your life.

But open your mouth and be questionful and you will get troubles all your life.²


  1. Mr. Ervast: ‘All philosophers and mystics of the ancient concur that there are two knowledges: lower and higher. Lower knowledge encompasses the sciences: it is knowledge of the manifest world, visible and invisible. Higher knowledge is spiritual knowledge, that does not come through the senses, but via when human in his spirit joins with the divine conciousness. Then he knows the “mother” and may from above know all which concerns the manifest world (“the child”).’
  2. Mr. Ervast: ‘Refers to that the path of wisdom, of the higher knowledge is also temporally more peaceful than the scientific road of curiosity.’

Own translation from 1925 Finnish translation by Pekka Ervast (ISBN 951-8995-01-X) with kind permission of Ruusu-Ristin Kirjallisuusseura ry.

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