The well-known ambiguity surrounding the concept of Dao, especially in the Daode jing, has led some scholars to argue for “religious” interpretations. They find the difficultly in defining Dao intentional and argue that Dao cannot be appreciated through language, but requires some personal change. In this essay I will argue that these types of interpretations, generally speaking, reduces the text to a mainly religious (i.e. faith based) thought by ignoring important philosophical elements of Daode jing. The inability to put Dao into words does not negate any or all comprehension of Dao; it merely informs readers that Dao cannot be exhausted in words. Accordingly, elucidating this idea seems to be one of the major focuses of the text, which is done mainly through the wide use of a variety of images. In order to tackle this issue I propose a “cross-cultural image analysis.” I will use metaphor interpretation of Western cognitive science to examine images in the Daode jing and show how they are related to aid in an understanding of Dao. I employ the “multiple blend” metaphor analysis purposed by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner (2003), a template that explains how a series of metaphors can work together to produce new dimensions of comprehension. When Fauconnier and Turner describe multiple blends they do so in order to explain how the mind works (2003, 17–18). This “multiple blend analysis” is slightly different: it explains how one could think of the images in Daode jing.


Additional Information

pp. 1-26
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.