I'm going to annotate the Tao Te Ching, putting it into my understanding of its meaning.
The tao that can be described is not the eternal tao The name that can be spoken is not the eternal name The nameless is the boundary of Heaven and Earth The named is the mother of creation
If you are mathematically minded, think of set theory. If there is a subset, it has no way to see outside of itself, the superset knows what it contains. Therefore the subset cannot name what is outside of it, that name would exist within itself.
Freed from desire, you can see the hidden mystery By having desire, you can only see what is visibly real
In order to have desire, you have a whole lot of appendages. First, you have to assume a particular beingness. You have taken a step down from freedom in order to play a game. A game consists of beingness, goal, barriers, opponents, winning, losing etc. In order to drop down from enlightenment one has to assume a mystery then, otherwise you would not be interested in desire. So therefore, dropping down from knowing, to looking, especially after assuming a beingness, you see a filtered sense of reality.
Yet mystery and reality emerge from the same source This source is called darkness
Darkness born from darkness The beginning of all understanding
To have a mystery, you also need a reality. In order to drop down into these, it must come from a source. I see it as crossing some sort of boundary, an entering into a universe. That boundary must be the darkness. Outside is enlightenment, inside is mystery.
Darkness born from darkness must mean ones awareness being aware that one is, but one is in a state of mystery. Darkness being abstract, but not abstract for ones awareness of not knowing. If one is aware of being aware, really, they are on a path beginning understanding.
When people see things as beautiful ugliness is created When people see things as good, evil is created
Being and non-being produce each other Difficult and easy complement each other Long and short define each other High and low oppose each other Fore and aft follow each other
I think the best way to understand this is to do a little drill. With you mind silent, create in front of you a eight corners of a rectangle. Inside create 2 balls at either side, one blue, extremely cold, and one red, extremely hot. Here you have dichotomies - hot and cold. Also notice that they are being kept apart by you, so to have a dichotamy you have to have a way to keep them seperate. This is quite subtle. When you have a scale, if you are bias towards one, you knowingly, or unknowingly create the other. 'I want to be pious' for example. From this the world would turn into a place full of temptation, and your life would become a struggle to keep on the straight line.
Therefore the Master can act without doing anything and teach without saying a word.
I think this is a subtle one. In order to do, in a dichotomic state, one has to 'be' first. For example, to bake a cake one takes on the beingness of a baker. Be-do-have. Have your cake and eat it. However, the Master can still act. Being present with ingredients for a cake, the art of creation, they can still bake a cake. 'All the gear and no idea' rings true.
Things come her way and she does not stop them; things leave and she lets them go. She has without possessing, and acts without any expectations. When her work is done, she takes no credit. That is why it will last forever.