BodyLogos Blog

Is It Tao or Dao?

Is it Tao te Ching or Dao de Jing? The spelling of Chinese words is confusing and inconsistent. Here’s an explanation.

Chinese writing consists of simplified images called pictograms, which represent words. Many Chinese pictograms combine two or more images. So the word for forest is simply a few trees combined into one pictogram. The choices within a pictogram can say a lot more about a word than what Western letters communicate.

A good example of this is the word Tao, the Way (seen above). It combines the image of taking a step and that of a head. You walk using your head – both when choosing a direction and in learning from the walk. One could say that it’s a way for mind and body to align. A spiritual path, if you will.

Pictograms illustrate the meaning of a word while analyzing the history and origin of the word. But it doesn’t help much in pronunciation or spelling.

The Western alphabet is all about pronunciation. In Western language, there is pretty much a consensus about how each letter is pronounced. Chinese pronunciation isn’t based on the Western letters and their sounds; in fact, the Chinese have sounds that differ slightly from the ones we are accustomed to. Again, Tao is a good example.

The sound for “T” is pronounced somewhere between a “T” and a “D” in our ears, somewhere between the unvoiced and voiced consonant. It was translated as “Tao” in the late 19th/early 20th centuries using a Romanization system called Wade-Giles. “Dao” was later transcribed into the Western alphabet using a Chinese adaptation called Pinyin.

The “unvoiced T––voiced D” is far from the only difference in transcriptions. Here are other differences in Tao’s transmutation:

Wade-Giles

Tao te Ching

Lao Tzu

Chi

I ching

T’ai chi   

Pinyin 

Dao de Jing

Lao zi

Qi

Yi jing

Taiji

English

Scripture of the Way

Founder of Taoism

Energy

Book of changes

Great art of boxing

And the list continues.

The mystery of pictograms lives on.

The Body Logos Journey

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People always ask me: Tammy, how did you get into this work? Today…

Aflame with Sensations

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BODYLOGOS = The Body’s Divine Wisdom It is a Practice and…

Welcome to the BodyLogos blog. Here’s where you’ll get your dose of alignment and balance with grace. (Want to get it by email? Sign up here.)

Redefining Strength

I want to change our perception of strength. Strength is the ability to meet resistance and influence an outcome without compromising ourselves. And we already have it.

Strength is not an attribute; it’s a state of being. Gladiators, bodybuilders, and football players demonstrate strength through brute force, sheer willpower, muscle mass, and relentless pursuit. But we’re also quick to identify dancers and martial artists as strong. Their medium taps into a sense of vulnerability, balance, alignment, controlled power, and grace—but no one can deny their strength. Strength may look different on each of us, but it is an inherent part of who we are.

You are not weak by nature; you are stronger than you think. Your strength is not something you need to kill yourself to gain—it is already within you, waiting to be excavated. The key is to stop chasing something you already have and tap into it, so you can manifest that strength in your everyday life.

Because we don’t think we’re strong, we approach resistance with the idea that we’re not enough. We throw everything we have at it and push past our physical, mental, and emotional limitations. We see strength as domination, but it’s not.

When you learn to listen to your body’s divine wisdom, you cultivate a sense of where your body is developing tension instead of standing in its strength. You end the vicious cycle of unrealistic expectations, injury, and self-criticism and learn how to consciously embrace responsible growth. You stop compartmentalizing your strength into emotional, physical, and mental pieces and operate from the strength of your being at all times.

You learn how to align yourself with gravity—instead of working against it—so you can channel your strength to meet life’s resistance. As you meet resistance with equal parts power and alignment, you transform tension into strength

As in the sword dance above, the power lies in bringing just the right amount of force—not too little and not too much. By meeting the sword’s weight, I meet gravity. I am tapped into a larger source of energy, free of tension, and discover a strength that is wholly and uniquely mine.

About Tammy Wise

Tammy Wise is a widely respected mind-body fitness expert based out of New York City, owner of BodyLogos, Inc. author of The Art of Strength: Sculpt the Body ~ Train the Mind. A former Broadway dancer turned Tao minister, Tammy was voted the Best of Fitness by Time Out New York and has appeared in Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine, New York Magazine, Natural Health, Shape, and Thrive Global. She’s a Transformational Authors Contest Winner and regular contributor to Honeysuckle magazine and Medium. Visit her at bodylogos.com.