One day Dong Guozi asked Chuangtse, “What are you calling the Tao, where is it to be found?” Chuangtse answered, “There is nowhere it is not found.” Dong Guozi asked again, “Can you give an example of where it can be found.” Chuangtse said, “All right. It is here in this ant.” Dong Guozi said, “What, so lowly?” Chuangtse said, “It’s also in the weeds.” Dong Guozi said, “That’s even more lowly.” Chuangtse kept on, “It’s also in this tile.” Dong Guozi said, “More lowly still!” In the end Chuangtse said, “It’s also in the feces and urine.” This time Dong Guozi only kept silent, he didn’t know what to say. But Chuangtse continued, “Your questions miss the whole point about Tao. From the standpoint of Tao, there is no loftiness or lowliness among things. The ants, the weeds, the tile and excrement are all the same in Tao. If they are not manifestations of Tao, then each of them have no essence. That’s why I said the Tao is everywhere.”
Opposing concepts always exist in people’s mind, like good and bad, beautiful and ugly, high and low, fragrant and rank. But if we analyze them carefully we find these concepts don’t have any absolute standards in Nature, it’s just the way it is. We call this Tao. For instance, we all don’t like excrement but if we observe nature we can usually see many insects and animals using excrement as food. So when we see excrement, it makes us feel nauseous but when some bugs see it, they feel hungry. The smell of decaying bone will make us feel sick but there are still some birds and animals that clearly enjoy the smell and love eating it. Even the same thing or same food for people also doesn’t have an absolutely standard. For anything that thought of as nice or tasting good you can find someone who thinks it looks bad or tastes awful, if you can ever get them to taste it.
The whole concept of opposites exists just in people’s mind and it opposes the Tao. So think of this; most people dislike lowly things; though the ocean is lowly it contains entire rivers of water…does that make the Ocean lowly?
When the Tao produces things, among them there is surplus and shortage, beging and ending, coming together and going apart. In itself, however, it has none of these qualities.