I found the following quote here:

The Dao hides in wordlessness. Only the Dao is well begun and well completed.

-- Laozi, Dàodé Jīng / Tao Te Ching

What is the exact meaning and context of this quote? I was curious to know what is meant by the word Dao in the context of the given quote.

  • 3
    What translation are you basing your quote on? Please provide a link to it if it's available online. Or give me a chapter number. The translation I've found freely available online is this one by James Legge
    – Eddie Kal
    Sep 9, 2020 at 6:18
  • javascript.info/ninja-code I found the quote here. Sep 9, 2020 at 7:24
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    I've edited your question to ask about the exact source of this quote, using the quote-identification tag, as well as its meaning. Knowing the specific source and context will surely help in figuring out the meaning. Who knows, maybe the quote isn't even accurate, since it's not reliably sourced.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 9, 2020 at 12:42

1 Answer 1


The Dao is the more recent translation of the word formerly rendered Tao. The original Chinese term, in ordinary usage, means the Way. However, in Daoism (Taoism), it became a philosophical concept of great depth, pervasive to the philosophy, and one of its teaching is that

The Dao which can be explained is not the true Dao.

Therefore, the Dao "exists in wordlessness" -- it exists though it can not be explained in words -- and because it is the fundamental root of things, it is complete in itself, always beginning and ending things properly. More or less.

This will get deep into philosophy if you want to consider it further.

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    "Dao" is not a more recent translation, it is the pinyin transcription of 道; "tao" is the Wade-Giles transcription. Both transcription are intended to render the character's pronunciation, not its meaning.
    – Tsundoku
    Sep 9, 2020 at 17:25

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