From Daodejing 25:


I have seen this translated as both:

"There is a being, wonderful, perfect; It existed before heaven and earth. How quiet it is! How spiritual it is! It stands alone and it does not change. It moves around and around, but does not on this account suffer. All life comes from it."


"There was something undefined and complete, coming into existence before Heaven and Earth. How still it was and formless, standing alone, and undergoing no change, reaching everywhere and in no danger (of being exhausted)! It may be regarded as the Mother of all things."

What is 物 here precisely? And what does 混成 mean in relation to 物?

  • bkrs:有物混成 эта вещь (Дао) возникает в хаосе this thing arises in the Chaos (Dao)
    – user6065
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 21:12
  • 1
    物:thing, object, matter 存在於天地間一切人事物的通稱; 混成:naturally appear/create as a whole 渾然一體,自然形成。
    – user16115
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 21:29
  • bkrs: 混成 1) 混杂而成。 如:「黄色和蓝色可以混成绿色。」 2) 浑然一体,自然形成。 老子.第二十五章:again:「有物混成,先天地生。」 mix/blend together 混沌之中自然生成。
    – user6065
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 21:47

2 Answers 2


I think that "the thing" can't be explianted precisely. We can't give it a name because"名可名,非常名".
When it comes to the relationship between "混成" and"物".It's naturally to say that "混成" is the adverbial of "物".
"混成" have several meanings at the same time.
1: 混杂而成:Everything is contained in "the thing".
2: 混然一体:However,"the thing" can't be separated as it makes no sense—— just like "ok" is not a part of "book" although "o" and "k" is 2 letters of the word "book".
3: 自然形成:"自然" is more suitable to be explained as"by itself" than "naturally" here. The orign and reason of "the thing" is itself so it's a perfect thing.


It can be described as an abstract being, or, colloquially, just a "thing". According to the Taoism philosophy, this "thing" is the root of everything of the present day. Because of this, it must be a mix of everything, and should be a perfect being.
混 and 成 should be two attributes of the "thing": 混 means "mixed", and 成 should be "perfect/complete". Since it's a mix of Everything and it's a perfect, omnipotent existence, it becomes the root of everything in the world.
BTW, I think both translations are very straightforward and clear. Perhaps the only difficulty for you is that you can't understand the philosophy of Taoism.

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