Myriad Creatures

Depending on what translation of the Tao Te Ching you are first exposed to, you may be confused early on by the term “myriad creatures.”

In the three different translations from which we at Nothing Just Is work from, this term appears as: “myriad creatures”, “the ten thousand things”, and “all beings.”

The definition of this term is fairly simple, but not always immediately obvious.

Tao is generally thought of as the ultimate essence of existence. While this mysterious oneness of which we are all a part may be impossible to understand or experience in its entirety, we spend our entire lives interacting with its physical manifestations.

While everyday things like rocks, candy, shoes, etc. may seem mundane and simple, they are nevertheless an inseparable part of this great mystery of which we are all a part.

Myriad creatures, then, refers to the simple physical manifestations of a great and all-encompassing mystery.

Some people prefer to think of “myriad creatures” as only referring to the living manifestations of Tao, which includes ourselves, dogs, cats, bacteria, etc. Others gravitate more towards the idea of “myriad forms,” meaning all physical manifestations, whether they be living or not. While the former position tends to be easier to relate to, both views provide the text with the same essential meaning.

To quote Fritjof Capra from his book The Tao of Physics:

The central aim of Eastern mysticism is to experience all phenomena in the world as manifestations of the same ultimate reality. This reality is seen as the essence of the universe, underlying and unifying the multitude of things and events we observe. The Hindus call it Brahman, the Buddhists Dharmakaya (the Body of Being), and the Taoists Tao; each affirming that it transcends our intellectual concepts and defies further description. This ultimate essence, however, cannot be separated from its multiple manifestations. It is central to its very nature to manifest itself in myriad forms which come into being and disintegrate, transforming themselves into one another without end.

One Response to “Myriad Creatures”
  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really
    appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further post thank you once

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