There was something formless yet complete
That existed before heaven and earth;
Without sound, without substance,
Dependent on nothing, unchanging,
All pervading, unfailing.
One may think of it as the mother
Of all things under heaven.
Its true name do not know;
“Tao” is the nickname I gave it.
This mysterious words come from the 5000 word poem on Tao called Tao The Ching, written almost 2500 years ago (between the third and the fifth century) and traditionally attributed to Lao Tze, the “Old Sage”. Lao Tze did not invent Taoism, like Confucius, he claimed to recapitulate an ancient way of life that had prevailed in China 2500 years before his own time, during the reign of the Yellow Emperor(Huang Ti), the China’s founding father.
Daniel Reid, History of Taoism in China.