Sima Qian, the Grand Historian of the Han Dynasty, recorded down the existence of Laozi and the Tao Te Ching comprising of eighty one chapters. He also wrote in the historical records circa 100 B.C. to inform future generations that the Daoists during his time or earlier were known as followers of the HuangLao (Huangdi and Laozi) tradition.
In the Secret of the Golden Flower, Lu Yen better known as Lu Dongbin – one of the famous eight immortals – indicated that the first ancient to reveal the secret of the Circulation of the Light was Guan Yinshi the accredited student of Laozi and the one whom the Great Sage wrote the TTC for.
Yet modern scholars or so called Daoists with unsubstantiated claims cast aspersions that Laozi never existed or that the TTC was penned by various authors over the years.
If sincere Daoist students or cultivators of Tao really study and research this authenticated ancient Classic (Ching/Jing), they can find many gems only a real adept of inner alchemy would know about or have written. Also because the Tao Te Ching was and still is so profound, the Chinese and many Daoist sects down the ages respectfully referred to it as a real classic.
If we put our minds to the TTC, we can probably see why Chapter One started that way (pun intended).
In case, some readers missed it, imagine what happened about 2,500 years ago when Guan Yinshi (a student) first met and asked Laozi (a sage) to tell him about Tao.
The Great Sage wrote this down in Chapter One and my simple translation follows:
The tao that can be told is not the eternal tao,
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
Nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth;
Named is the mother of myriad things.
Without desire observe the mysterious,
With desire contemplate the manifestations.
These two things are similar,
Only differing names for the profound.
Obscure and profound; (there will be) numerous mysterious gates.
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