What does this verse from the Tao Te Ching mean?

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Verse 42
The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to all things.

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Kendra O

I think it’s up for interpretation. I believe it has to do with the philosophy of creation.
Can you give me the verse in Traditional Chinese? I’m fluent, it could just be a bad translation.


That is about your own life. Your own life “the I Am” is an unbounded unified field of Consciousness. Those who become familiar with that inner field can actually cognize how the entire creation comes out of the unified field.
The quote you cite here is an expression of the unfolding of creation from it’s source.

Happy Hiram

It is what Thomas Aquinas calls the Prime Mover argument.
Picture a blueprint. Then a house is built, then two, then many different kinds of houses. The houses that exist come from the IDEA of a house at some time in the past and as envisioned in each incarnation. The Way is that for existence.


Tao is the origin of the universe; or anything in the the universe. Be it a mountain, a table, or a human being. So, in a sense, Tao gives birth to one.
In the universe, or anything in the universe, there is always a dualism — yin and yang. Just like the human race has male and female, a coin has head and tail. Therefore, one gives birth to two.
The yin and yang energy in a thing will not stay static. They will interact and mingle. As a result, either yin may become stronger or yang becomes stronger, or a balance of yin and yang is struck. A third phenomenon different from the previous stage as a result emerges. So ‘two gives birth to Three’.
A good illustration is men and women. The human race is one. It is made up of men and women, i.e. yang and yin, so one gives birth to two. When a man and a woman become intimate, they produces a baby, and two gives birth to three.


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