Laozi underlines

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Laozi used underlines when writing! Here are two examples:


The Received Tao Te Ching chapter One:


The it isn't the eternal walk of it's walking maybe a walk is

the it isn't the eternal name of it's entitling maybe a name.

The first of the Heavenly was not entitled.

The Mother of everything is a title.

Therefore, observe their obedience,

whereby looking at the mystery forever having the desired,

which forever is to have no desire.

A similar pairing of same appearance and same meaning of the different titles dark darkness

is the additional darkness of the mysterious multitude gate.


darkness multitude (the multitude of darkness)


The Guodian Tao Te Ching chapter One (known as the chapters 19 + 66 + 46):


The knowledge of forsaking abandons the differentiation, that the people will profit a hundredfold.

The skill of forsaking abandons the benefit, that the robbers and the swindlers will lose existence.

The hypocracy of forsaking abandons the humbug, that the people will return to youngest children.

Precaution lacks the one ordering the three statements to someone in a subordinate position,

making a virtue of necessity.

The River and the Sea; which one rules the 100 mountainstreams?

Regard its ability as the low of the 100 mountainstreams.

Therefore Their ability to rule the 100 mountainstreams.

The people being foremost is the posture of the sage therewith humble presence.

The people being above is his attitude therewith lowly speech.

The people being highest, what doesn't denigrate the people, is his opinion.

The people being in the front, what doesn't override the people, is his view.

The music of the world advances but not disliked, because it doesn't invade.

Therefore the inability to engage in the world warfare.

There's no larger crime than extreme desire.

There's no more sorrowful conflict than spoils sharing.

There's no greater misfortune than not knowing when enough.

What's forever enough: Sufficient knowledge is enough!


the three statements world knowledge (The three statements are the knowledge of the world)



Laozi's underlines make together a headline of each text. Knowing this makes it possible to identify chapters in the 81 chapters edition, that originally were written by Laozi as one single text, but was divided into more chapters by later editors!


Laozi's underlines are easily identified: He placed the underlined in the front of a sentence and placed a zhi (Z) character where the underlined belonged to in the sentence. That'll say every zhi (Z) character or character(s) in the front of a sentence, misplaced due to classical chinese grammar rules, indicates an Laozi underline!

Edited by lienshan

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An example from chapter 2


The altogether wisdom complements beautifulness, the beautiful world done beautiful, and ugly.

The altogether wisdom complements the 'here you go' of goodness and not good.

The loss of existence is its summary life.

The change of difficulty is its summary completion.

The shortening of length is its summary closeness.

The lowering of height is its summary fullness.

The drowning of tone is its summary harmony.

The behind of former is its summary accompany.

Therefore does the man sit not doing the holy duty,

that exists and isn't thought,

that everything grows and isn't ruled,

the speechless wisdom of walking,

that mankind confirms standing,

that therefore is staying,

the completion of not sitting.



world holy (The world is holy)

Edited by lienshan

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Thanks lienshan


I always enjoy reading about your research.

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A Laozi underline found in the Guodian chapter 25:


It is formed flooding.

The filled up is former Heaven.

The Earth lives peacefully.

Separated singles constitute not fertilizing.

Is it possible that the mother of the world not yet knows its name?

Its character is called Dao being my powerful:

Great called dambursting of a title called great is

unlikely called reoccurence of a damburst called unlikely.

The large earth of a large heaven is

the large Dao of a king moreover a great nation.

The center has four large from it and the residence of the king is the first from it.

The earth following the sky of a man following the ground is

Dao following itself of heaven following Dao.


my powerful


I will not bore you with details concerning the underlining.

It's much more interesting, that Laozi here deals with Da Yi Sheng Shui (The Great One generates Water) :rolleyes:

Here is a link to a bad but although a translation of this text that Laozi didn't agree with (slips 10-12):


The Guodian chapter 25 is a copy of Laozi's original manuscript.

It's written in exactly the same style of writing as his famous chapter one.

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