what does the "ten thousand things" in Tao Te Ching mean?

in Tao Te Ching, the phrase "ten thousand things" very often. what does this mean?

11 Answers

  • Cora
    Lv 6
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The 10,000 things is allegorical for many. Just a more poetic way of saying it.

  • Erika
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    The Tao Te Ching is fundamental to the Taoist school (Dàojiā 道家) of Chinese philosophy and strongly influenced other schools, such as Legalism and Neo-Confucianism. This ancient book is also central in Chinese religion, not only for Taoism (Dàojiāo 道教) but Chinese Buddhism, which when first introduced into China was largely interpreted through the use of Taoist words and concepts. Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and even gardeners have used the Tao Te Ching as a source of inspiration. Its influence has also spread widely outside East Asia, aided by hundreds of translations into Western languages.

  • 3 years ago

    The Ten Thousand Things

  • 8 years ago

    I cannot classify it, but I call it Tao. Powerful, it creates all things, is present in all things, returns all things to their origin. The Tao is great. Heaven is great. Earth is great. Humanity is great. These are the four great things. Humanity follows Earth. Earth follows Heaven. Heaven follows Tao. Tao follows its own nature. The Tao is like an overflowing river. It rises to the left and to the right.The ten thousand things arise from it, but do not depart from it. The Tao acts, but cannot be defined. It clothes and nourishes all beings, but does not rule over them. It endures without desire and without seeming "big." The ten thousand things find their home in it, and yet it does not exercise lordship over them. The Tao is very great, but it does not show its greatness. Therefore, it is truly great. Tao gives birth to the ten thousand things. Te nurtures them. They are formed from matter and completed by environment. Therefore, the ten thousand things honor Tao and respect Te, not in response to commandments, but just naturally. Tao gives birth to the ten thousand things, and Te nurtures, rears, develops, shelters, and protects them. But Tao and Te do not try to own or rule the ten thousand things, nor do they seek to make them dependent. This is true power.

    This is from Lao Tzu- from this I judge the "ten thousand things" to be all things in the world or everything.

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  • 8 years ago

    Let me tell you in this way…. These are the three things in your life. On the outermost fringe are things, the world; what Lao Tzu calls “The world of ten thousand things.” On the outermost fringe – the periphery, the circumference – are things, millions of things. Then between the center and the circumference there are thoughts, desires, dreams, memories, imaginations – the mind. If the world is called “The world of ten thousand things,” the mind should be called “The world of ten million thoughts.”

    So you have to unlearn things, thoughts. First watch the gross, then watch the subtle, and then watch the beyond that is beyond the gross and the subtle.

  • 8 years ago

    Not an expert, but I once read that "the ten thousand things" was just referring to the material world and all the things in it, ten thousand being just "a very big number" for the people at the time. Nowadays we might say "the myriad things" or "the ten trillion things", and we would be just as inaccurate.

  • hlavac
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    10000 Things

  • 4 years ago

    I agree with those who basically say "everything" since it's in reference to the "10,000 things between heaven and earth." WSupposedly, when Lao Tzu was asked "Why 10,000?" he replied "Because it is enough."

  • 8 years ago

    Effectively everything.


  • 8 years ago


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