What did Lao Tzu mean when he wrote in the Tao Te Ching, “Those who say, do not know. Those who know, do not say”?
In this series entitled What Did Lao Tzu Mean? are entertained some responses. You are welcome to include yours as a comment. This part is by several contributors:
Hi dear Jerry:
Re: Lao Tzu’s efforts to express the in-expressible — I would tend
to go with the first….”Those who say do not know” BEcause, !! ..what any one of us “knows” – is only valid for that “one – me- belief”. It isn’t valid for any other.
All us seekers are looking for a universal remedy (primarily) because of our own “need to fix/help/save/enlighten>>>>) others.
Usually meant in great kindness and love; yet…still “our” goal, or
essence… OUR “smell” … OUR “taste” etc. When time to exit comes, we still have to in-breath “our smell, our taste, our belief(s) …so humility has the last word. How can these ideas be expressed – or “given”?? Thus.. saying is empty, even when with great love.
Jenny/Center For Awareness
Don’t know what Lao meant but maybe something like: Knowing is seeing 256 million colors and saying is having a vocabulary that consists of only these 5 words: red, green, blue, black, and white.
“Those”, who know do not say. Those who say, do not know.
Those who know do not say “those”; who say, do not know.
Perhaps the koan points to there being ‘no separate knower’ to ‘know anything’ and ‘therefore ‘can say’ no thing. Or in other words there was never a split of ‘knower’/’known’ to utter anything just as there is no split of ‘subject’/’object’, ‘dynamic’/’static’, ‘knowing’/’unknowing’, ‘dual’ / ‘nondual’ or any apparent ‘set of correlates’.
And maybe although inseparable of ‘This inescapable completeness’ notionally any split may seemingly ‘arise’ yet no apparent ‘arising’ actually ‘utters a word’.