Admiration of the Profound “Tao Te Ching” verse 14 for Artists

by | Aug 30, 2014 | 2 comments

Admiration of the Profound blog illustration of sumi-e symbols.


Verse 14*
Look at it, it cannot be seen
It is called colorless
Listen to it, it cannot be heard
It is called noiseless
Reach for it, it cannot be held
It is called formless
These three cannot be completely unraveled
So they are combined into one
Above it, not bright
Below it, not dark
Continuing endlessly, cannot be named
It returns back into nothingness
Thus it is called the form of the formless
The image of the imageless
This is called enigmatic
Confront it, its front cannot be seen
Follow it, its back cannot be seen
Wield the Tao of the ancients
To manage the existence of today
One can know the ancient beginning
It is called the Tao Axiom
This is a beautiful verse. Lao Tzu’s very poetic admiration of what Tao (The Way) is.
As for the artist, before we start an artwork, it is invisible, has no sound, colour or form. All these qualities are there to manifest and can’t be separated or measured, though they can feel  the same. We have  access to the whole universe with it’s limitless textures, sensibilities and qualities, names for which haven’t been created , but just felt.
When we create, as we get wrapped up with the details, explanations, ideas and images, we lose the touch of this vast source. It is the limitless source of everything there is or has ever been, with it’s natural eternal laws. For us, to access these spaces is to just let go and dance  with the brush (or whatever the tool of the creation is) in our hands. We are to respect the natural law of Tao (The Way), by not resisting, fighting what comes naturally, freeing the mind, feeling the present moment and creating artwork (order) out of this seemingly chaotic eternal tapestry of life.
For me, as a sumi-e artist, I dance, sing, and connect with that magical place….the place where I came from.
And you?


  1. Lilith Ohan

    Beautiful! Enjoy your journey creating/communicating with your word sculptures.
    Thanks for sharing.


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