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[3] "The Name" is used by Lao Zi as another title for the Dao. The Dao he talks about differs from what was taken for granted, for example, the commonly-termed Dao as demonstrated by means of the system of rites and music (li-yue) in Confucianism. The Dao that Lao Zi advocates stays constant and universal. Correspondingly, the Name thus drawn from one's reflection and cognition of the Daoist Dao is distinct from the secular name for such social values as humanity and righteousness (ren-yi) advocated by Confucianism and others. The Name here is therefore as constant or universal as the Dao. The relationship between the two (i.e. Name and Dao) and is allegorically identical to that between thinking and being-the former is the reflection of the latter.
[4] "Constant Name" is put in the same category as "constant Dao." That is, chang ming (constant Name) is identical with heng ming (eternal Name). The alteration of heng into chang was done for the reason cited in [2l above.
[5] Originally the Dao De Jing was not divided into two parts comprising 81 chapters. The division was done later, resulting in many variations of a minor nature in words and order. The punctuation of each chapter was done later as well. This has caused controversy among scholars. For instance, Wang Bi (226-249) punctuated the following sentence thus: Wu ming, tian di zhi shi; you ming, wan wu zhi mu. That is why some translations have "The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth; the Named is the mother of the myriad things." Wang Bi explained that the Named comes from the Nameless; the beginning of the myriad things is the state of being formless and nameless. When it has form and name it helps to rear, develop, nurture and protect the myriad things. Hence it is called the mother of them. The Dao is formless and nameless, making all things become complete without knowing its doings. That is why it is regarded as the beginning of all beginnings (see Wang Bi. Lao Zi Dao De Jing Zhu [Commentary on The Book of Lao Zi]). But ever since Wang Anshi (1021-1086) many scholars have punctuated these two sentences thus: Wu, ming tian di zhi shi; you, ming wan wu zhi mu. They are accordingly translated as "The Being-without form is the origin of Heaven and Earth; the Being-within-form is the mother of the myriad things." Neither Wu nor You has an equivalent in occidental languages. They are thus rendered here as "Being-without-form" and "Being-within-form." Some scholars are inclined to express them as "Non-being" (Wu) and "Being" (You). It is worth mentioning that "Non-being" in Lao Zi's terminology does not mean nothing or emptiness. It is actually in existence but without form, and therefore "vague and elusive" from sensory perception. Similarly, "Being" in Lao Zi's terminology is of course different in meaning from the "Being" of Parmenides. In Daoism the term You as the actuality of the Dao which is antithetical to Wu as the potentiality of the Dao embodies antithesis of form and name. In other words, it is a material kind of being with changes, whereas in the views of Parmenides and Plato, it is an immaterial kind of being without changes. In order to avoid this misleading aspect of the terms, 1 prefer to translate Wu as "Being-without-form" and You as "Being-within-form."
I accept Wang Anshi's punctuation, as do many other scholars today such as Chen Guying and Sha Shaohai. To justify their argument they both cite Chapter 40 (DDJ): "The myriad things in the world come from Being-within-form. And Being within-form comes from Being-without-form." Prof. Chen further argues that those who agree with Wang Bi's punctuation can also cite evidence in Chapter 32 (DDJ), that is, Dao chang wu ming/shi zhi you ming (The Dao is constant and nameless/As soon as there was an established system there were names.) As luck would have it, wu ming (nameless) fits in the context as an interpretation of the character of the Dao, while you ming (there were names) does not, since it here involves the differentiation of social names or ranks, similar to social stratification. Names as such were a cardinal cause of conflicts or clashes and therefore could not be the root of all things (i.e. "the mother of the myriad things") as Lao Zi proclaimed.
It should be pointed out that Wu (Being-without-form) and You (Being-within-form) are two categories first formulated by Lao Zi, which in fact represent one of his key contributions to the development of Chinese philosophy before the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.). In his book Lao Zi repeatedly emphasizes the distinction between the particular and the universal among all things, and equally the distinction between essence and appearance. Appearance is particular, while essence is universal. The particular emerges and vanishes, whereas the essential remains as it is for ever. From this point of view, Lao Zi's contemplation of Wu (Being-without-form) and You (Being-within-form) marks a great step forward in the history of human thinking and cognition.

 


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