It is unseen because it is colorless.
It is unheard because it is soundless.
When seeking to grasp it
it eludes one because it is incorporeal.

Because of these qualities it cannot be examined
and yet they form an essential unity.

Superficially it appears abstruse
but in its depths it is not obscure.
It has been nameless forever!
It appears and then disappears.

It is what is known as the form of the formless
the image of the imageless.
It is called the transcendental.
Its face cannot be seen in front or its back behind.

But by holding fast to the Tao of the ancients
the wise man may understand the present
because he knows the origin of the past.