Tantra and the Tao Te Ching

The Tao is the void, the space that exists between the subatomic structure of our universe in the microcosm and the space between celestial bodies in the macrocosm. According to the Tao Te Ching this space is the potential for all that exists though in itself it is nothing, absolutely nothing.

The Te is the physical expression that proceeds from the Tao and expresses itself through all physical forms and all sentient life. When the sentient organism is expressing the Te without modification it is referred to as virtue.

Whenever we are "in accordance with nature" we are expressing this virtue. Often the only time humans sense this flow through them is when they are engaging in extreme sports, focused energetic activity, or sexual behavior. Often it is thought that neurochemical events are causing the exhilaration and sense of well being, we will explain that it is more than that.

The Tao is the all pervading source of the energy that keeps the planets in their orbits, keeps the gases of the sun from dissolving into space, and maintains the integrity of our own physical form. The Tao exists in the space between the atomic structure of all material and sentient forms and is the ultimate source of all that exists. The Tao itself is the empty space, the nothingness of nonexistence or preexistence. The tao permeates everything, surrounding everything. The Tao is from where everything proceeds and to where everything returns. One of the important things to understand about the Tao is that it is the center of all beingness, whether animate or inanimate, this source of energy is within each material form.

Section 4 of the Tao Te Ching:

Tao is space
Permeating everything
It is the luminosity of the universe
In its depth and stillness
It is infinite and eternal
Where did it come from?
It was here before creation

The Tao is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent in its simplicity and as its nature of the source of all that exists. The perception of the Tao is essential to present moment awareness, unconditional love and compassion, and a life of virtuous expression.

The Tao cannot be described or "named", as soon as it is named it is not the Tao. This accounts for the untold number of books, and religions, and philosophies relating to spirituality. Each one misses the essential truth and encourages just one more book to be written. According to most translations, however, the Tao is "...both named and nameless, as nameless it is the origin of all, as named the nurturance of all. As nameless it is the essential nonexistence or the source, as named it is the essential expression.

What is the Void?

The Tao has been crafted into both a religion and a philosophy, both unfortunate the way I understand it. Hence, I would not call myself a Taoist. I have been reading the Tao since I was 16, however, and I started with D.C. Lau's translation, which I still love for the poetry and simplicity.

The English language is, in essence, dualistic. The writings in the Tao Te Ching transcend dualism, so most translations have some basic problems. Stephen Mitchell popularized his "translation" by using feminine forms, however it is a paraphrase, as he clearly states.

About five years ago I discovered a translation by Jonathan Star and it is the best out of 30 I have studied over the years. Star also translated Rumi and other poet saints, and has written a few collections like "Two Suns Rising" comparing the writings of mystics from a variety of religions.

Viewed as Lao Tzu's basic understanding of Chinese "wisdom" as it is called, I read the Tao Te Ching as I would a physics book. The physics of the cosmos, but the physics of relationships as well. Our relationships with each other and our relationships with all material forms.

So what is the Tao?

The first chapter basically defines that Tao as indefinable. In fact Einstein's efforts to quantify the cosmos were frustrated by the very concept of the "void".

Here is an example. Within (figuratively) this void, there is nothing, not even time or space. At the speed of light it would take about 4.5 years to reach the star Alpha Centauri, as it is about 25.8 trillion miles from our solar system. However, theoretically if you were to enter into the void here on Earth, you could re-enter near Alpha Centauri immediately.

The concept of the void was defined as a Star Trek idea, a factor in both the transporter and the warp speed concepts.

According to the Tao Te Ching, the void is "our father" and the plenum from which every material form, sentient or not, proceeds, and where all material form returns to. Actually if you consider that Jesus had access to this wisdom, his references to God and his own relationship to God make much more sense.

According to the Tao Te Ching, the process of creation, the expression that proceeds directly from this void and manifests as reality is the Te, or "our mother".

Physicists are just now developing a language through which we will be able to conceive of our physical world and include the void as well as the manifestation, or the material world we perceive and interact with. Newton and the classical physics that grew from his work, used a language that ignores the void.