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A Thousand Names for Joy


The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.

The tao that can be told isn't the eternal Tao, because trying to tell it brings it into time. Once anything is named, it's no longer eternal. Before you name anything, the world has no things in it, no meaning. There's nothing but peace in a wordless, questionless world. It's the space where everything is already answered, in joyful silence.

The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.

Name is the origin of all particular things

Naming is the origin of all the particular things that make up the world of illusion, the dream world. When the mind believes what it thinks, it names what cannot be named and tries to make it real through a name.

The whole world is projected. When you're shut down and frightened, the whole world seems hostile; when you love what is, everything in the world becomes beloved. Inside and outside always match.

Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.

Not believing your own thoughts, you're free from the primal desire: the thought that reality should be different than what is.

There is no mystery. Everything is as clear as day. It's simple, because there really isn't anything. There's only the story appearing now. And not even that.

In the end, "desire" is equal to "free from desire."

I have questioned my thoughts, and I've seen that it's crazy to argue with what is. I don't ever want anything to happen except what's happening.

Any apparently separate thing can't be real, since the mind has created it with its names. When we understand this, the unreal becomes beautiful, because there's nothing that can threaten the real.

Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source.

This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.

The gateway to all understanding.

Tao Te Ching says the source of everything is called "darkness." What a beautiful name. In reality, the darkness is always benevolent.

Darkness is our source. In the end, it embraces everything. Its nature is love, and in our confusion we name it terror and ugliness, the unacceptable, the unbearable.

What is the darkness within darkness? It's the mind that doesn't know a thing. This don't-know mind is the center of the universe --- it is the universe --- there's nothing outside it.

The reason that darkness is the gateway to all understanding is that once the darkness is understood, you're clear that nothing is separate from you.

The dark, the nameless, the unthinkable --- that is what you can absolutely trust. It doesn't change, and it's benevolent. No name, no thought, can possibly be true in an ultimate sense.

When you realize this, you just have to laugh. There's nothing serious about life or death.


The Tao doesn't take sides; it gives both to both good and evil.

The Master doesn't take sides; she welcomes both saints and sinners.

All suffering is mental. It has nothing to do with the body or with a person's circumstances. You can be in great pain without any suffering. How do you know you're supposed to be in pain? Because that's what's happening.

To be in pain and believe that you shouldn't be in pain --- that's hell. Even pain is projected: it's always on its way out. If your thinking changes, the pain changes.

To live without a stressful story, to be a lover of what is, even in pain --- that's heaven.

The Master can't take sides. She is in love with reality, and reality includes everything. Her arms are open to it all. She finds everything in herself: all crimes, all holiness.

She doesn't see saints as saints or sinners as sinners; they're just people who are suffering or not, believing their thoughts or not. She doesn't see any difference between states of consciousness. There is nothing to strive for, nothing to leave behind. There's only one and not even that.

Believing a stressful thought is an attempt to break the connection. That's why it feels so uncomfortable.

The darkness, the void, the space that the mind is terrified to enter, is the beginning of all life. Fall in love with it, and when you do, it will immediately be taken from you, as you witness the birth of light. The Tao doesn't take sides. It embraces both the darkness and the light. They're equal.

The Tao is like a bellows: it is empty yet infinitely capable.

The more you use it, the more it produces; the more you talk of it, the less you understand.

Hold on to the center.

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