➼ [Reading] ➾ 道德經 [dào dé jīng] By Lao Tzu ➱ – Agedanna.info
I m an unbeliever and have been since the first time I played hooky from Sunday services and the Eye in the Sky didn t say boo So it may seem strange that I m reviewing the Tao Te Ching, the widely known and influential Taoist text, written by Lao Tzu and poetically translated in this edition by Stephen Mitchell For me, the Tao Te Ching is folk wisdom than religious treatise and is useful than a million sermons.Where the Tao Te Ching parts company with religious attempts at morality such as the 10 Commandments is in its inclusiveness Seven of the 10 Commandments don t mention God and are sound advice designed to facilitate peaceful community relations respect your elders, don t kill, don t cheat on your spouse, don t steal, don t tell lies, and don t lust after another s spouse or his belongings For me, the tragedy of the Great List is that the three that top it serve only to divide the world into believers and nonbelievers regardless how closely you follow the last seven, if you don t believe in God you re not worth a fig In doing so the first three create division where the last seven seek harmony With Taoism, even if you don t believe in the Force like nature of the Tao and in case there s any question, I don t you can still consider yourself a Taoist.Taoism seeks harmony by freeing the individual from the caustic effects of judgmental thinking, desire, and greed, and its fulcrum is the concept of non action, or literally doing not doing Non action, Mitchell writes in his introduction, is not the act of doing nothing but instead is the purest form of action The game plays the game the poem writes the poem we can t tell the dancer from the dance This slim book is both a quick read and a long study Mitchell s lyrical rendering of the Tao Te Ching might read to some like silly hippie clich s, but there s to it than that Take chapter 9, a photocopy of which hung on my office corkboard for years Fill your cup to the brim and it will spill.Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.Care about people s approval and you will be their prisoner.You can almost see the hacky sack and smell the patchouli But there s a truth to it that, if grasped, will change the way you think.As chapter 1 states The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao The name that can be named is not the eternal Name Analogy, then, plays an important role in understanding the Tao Te Ching, and the reader has to do quite a bit of work the long study part to fathom the book s richness Take chapter 11 in its entirety, where non action is discussed We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move.We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.We work with being, but non being is what we use.There is to the book than philosophical abstraction In fact, common sense pervades the Tao Te Ching Take these lines, which discuss the roots of crime If you overvalue possessions, people begin to steal chapter 2 and If you don t trust the people you make them untrustworthy chapter 17 Or these, from chapter 38, which describe the toll of illusory thought When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.When goodness is lost, there is morality.When morality is lost, there is ritual.Ritual is the husk of true faith,The beginning of chaos.Therefore the Master concerns himself with the depths and not the surface,With the fruit and not the flower.He has no will of his own.He dwells in reality, and lets all illusions go.I m telling you, had I been born into Taoism I might actually believe in something. This is, by far, my favorite translation of the Tao Te Ching I own a few others and they re all well and good, but this one is the one I continually read from and refer to when people ask me about the Tao.The translation is well done, it captures the nature of the text well, and it flows fairly evenly It s not overly flowery or ornate, it gives you the basics of what you need to understand the various entries and assist in understanding what Tao is i.e the the Tao named Tao is not the great, eternal Tao.It s a book that changed my life I learned of Taoism in a world history class in high school, and when my friends took their Philosophy 101 course at the local university this was the text they worked with My copy came second hand from the U s bookstore and I have had it ever since It has taught me to understand a lot of the things in the world that otherwise would baffle me and lends a lot to my own personal philosophies.I highly recommend this book to anyone who is lost on their path through life It doesn t have all of the answers, but it does have a LOT of perspective. Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu The Tao Te Ching, also known by its pinyin romanization Dao De Jing, is a Chinese classic text traditionally credited to the 6th century BC sage Laozi The text s authorship, date of composition and date of compilation are debated The oldest excavated portion dates back to the late 4th century BC, but modern scholarship dates other parts of the text as having been written or at least compiled later than the earliest portions of the Zhuangzi The Tao Te Ching, along with the Zhuangzi, is a fundamental text for both philosophical and religious Taoism It also strongly influenced other schools of Chinese philosophy and religion, including Legalism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, which was largely interpreted through the use of Taoist words and concepts when it was originally introduced to China Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and gardeners, have used the Tao Te Ching as a source of inspiration Its influence has spread widely outside East Asia and it is among the most translated works in world literature 2012 1379 109 1382 81 9649447229 1383 1386 9648496064 1386 1387 1388 1389 1390 1391 1392 9789648496062 6 600 160 200 The Tao is always namelessChapter 71 Trying to narrow down the philosophy of the Tao Te Ching with limiting words is to violate its primordial essence How can one describe the Universe, the natural order of things, the incessant flowing from being to non being, the circular unity of a reality traditionally mismatched in dualistic terms The Tao Te Ching doesn t provide answers because there needn t be questions, just the harmony of moulding to the landscape rather than trying to impose a particular shape on it.The Tao Te Ching is the route in itself, the path to emptying the human mind of ambitions, schemes and desires and allow it to be flooded with the smoothness of humility and the exhilarating liberation of a simple life.The Tao Te Ching exults the feminine yin over the masculine yang in the eternal interdependence of opposites, identifying its indwelling suppleness with the intrinsic elements of the TaoThe great state should be like a river basin.The mixing place of the world,The feminine of the world.The feminine always overcomes the masculine by its softnessBecause softness is lesserChapter 61 Thus the Tao cannot be expressed, it has no name, it is indivisible, inaudible and immutable but also the origin of multiplicity that gives way to ambivalent interpretation, which in turn engenders the befuddling suspicion that the one wants to unravel the Tao the less one masters it because its aim relays precisely in attaining unforced wisdom.Composed of eighty one aphorisms with aesthetic lyricism reminiscent of ancient riddles or even taunting wordplay, the Tao Te Ching dismisses moral teachings, embraces paradoxical dichotomies and differentiates itself from other doctrines like Confucianism because it relays in intuition rather than in duty rooted on imposed moral principles or any other contrived authority.According to the introduction , some schools of thought have accused the Tao of endorsing chaotic anarchy and of not responding to consistent criteria, but such ambiguity in the use of language and its playful axioms are in fact a pure reflection of its skeptical views on measuring all actions according to artificial rules disguised as traditional rituals.I can t claim to have found everlasting serenity in connecting to the natural flow of Taoism and accepting its philosophy of action through inaction , but the idea of finding comfort in the constant contradiction of the positive and negative forces within oneself in order to embrace the convoluted intricacies of existence casts an overwhelming shadow to the absolute dichotomies and blind beliefs prompted by the familiar monotheistic fear based religions, where guilt, punishment and suffering are the conduits to salvation.Why crave for redemption if we learn to follow the way things are and welcome the natural interdependence between opposites, accepting disorder, nothingness and non being as part of the indestructible unity of all thingsThere is nothing better than to know that you don t knowChapter 71 Note The Barnes Nobles edition comes with an explanatory introduction about the origins of the Tao, a very useful epilogue and an historical timeline of the identity of its mysterious author s Highly recommended edition. This is an amazing I ve read many books out there and this is the best one Very enjoyable read I highly recommend it I bought this book at discounted price from here There are many translations of the Taoteching, nearly every one of which is probably worth reading, but this is my favorite version I can t attest to the accuracy of the translation, but having read so many different translations of the same text I feel like in some strange way I have a grasp of the original as if a blank space the Chinese original has been given shape and definition by all the English versions surrounding it But anyway while I like the spare sensitivity of the language in this version, what makes this version extra special are the added bonuses an engagingly detailed introduction exploring the life of Lao Tzu, what amounts to an original thesis on the very meaning of tao , and commentaries on specific lines, even specific words appended to each of the 81 entries that have been culled from centuries upon centuries of critical commentary, by scholars and eccentric mystics alike.There is recent scholarship that is making the argument that instead of meaning way or path , which is usually taken to mean how we as people conduct ourselves in accordance with a mysterious spiritual principle, that tao actually refers to the Moon and its various phases and paths in space, with particular emphasis on the darkness of the new moon and its significance as potential in darkness The new moon hides its fullness The fullness is there in potential, unspent I like this There s something pleasingly primitive about it gimme that old time religion , i.e something real and tangibly mysterious, but also something practical and spiritual a connector between eye and heart that through some subtle gravity guides our feet along a path.The commentaries that follow each poem or entry are fascinating and just scratch the surface of what I understand is a vast accumulation of scholarship on this text The commentaries are often wildly contradictory and tangential, obsessive to an anal nth degree, but also at times wise in their own right These commentaries have been written by official scholars, by mendicant monks, and even one or two extreme eccentrics living on the fringes of society unaffiliated with any institution At the back of the book are short biographies of each commentator, which is fascinating reading in itself It all adds up to evidence that this is a living book, with enough clear and direct meaning to be perpetually valid, and enough obscurity to be endlessly pondered.The translator is an American who goes by the name Red Pine He s almost 70 now and has been a practicing Buddhist for years, but in the wandering independent scholar Gary Snyder type style He s also translated the Diamond Sutra, poems of Han Shan Cold Mountain and Stonehouse, and some other Buddhist texts In every work of his I ve read there s serious scholarship in evidence, but also a free spirit and independent thinker with a unique store of fresh air. The Tao Te Ching, The Esoteric But Infinitely Practical Book Written Most Probably In The Sixth Century BC By Lao Tsu, Has Been Translated Frequently Than Any Work Except The Bible This Translation Of The Chinese Classic, Which Was First Published Twenty Five Years Ago, Has Sold Copies Than Any Of The Others It Offers The Essence Of Each Word And Makes Lao Tsu S Teaching Immediate And AliveThe Philosophy Of Lao Tsu Is Simple Accept What Is In Front Of You Without Wanting The Situation To Be Other Than It Is Study The Natural Order Of Things And Work With It Rather Than Against It, For To Try To Change What Is Only Sets Up Resistance Nature Provides Everything Without Requiring Payment Or Thanks, And Also Provides For All Without Discrimination Therefore Let Us Present The Same Face To Everyone And Treat All Men As Equals, However They May Behave If We Watch Carefully, We Will See That Work Proceeds Quickly And Easily If We Stop Trying, If We Stop Putting In So Much Extra Effort, If We Stop Looking For Results In The Clarity Of A Still And Open Mind, Truth Will Be Reflected We Will Come To Appreciate The Original Meaning Of The Word Understand, Which Means To Stand Under We Serve Whatever Or Whoever Stands Before Us, Without Any Thought For Ourselves Te Which May Be Translated As Virtue Or Strength Lies Always In Tao, Or Natural Law In Other Words Simply Be Concatenated thoughts Review 1 2 They come to be and he claims no possession of them, He works without holding on, Accomplishes without claiming merit Because he does not claim merit, His merit does not go away. The Tao Te Ching is a classical text credited to Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu 6th century and on which Taoism is based It consists of 81 short chapters written in poetic form which, using a pithy language brimming with evocative and, at times, repetitive contradictions, provide guidance on how humanity may have a harmonious relationship with nature, with the Tao In an inspiringly laconic way, the chapters reveal the sage s fundamental truths that range from theology to politics, inseparable components of the Tao Te Ching I read two editions simultaneously Ellen Chen s The Tao Te Ching A New Translation with Commentary and Stephen Mitchell s Tao Te Ching A New English Version After reading chapter 11 by the latter, the merits of each work became particularly noticeable Chen s translation is an accurate marvel It s the kind of translation I like literal as possible I don t want only the translator s interpretation, I want to know the precise words that went through the author s mind I ve made peace with everything that gets lost in translation, so at least give me surgical precision.On the opposite side stands Mitchell with another approach divesting the verses of all metaphor, he focuses on the meaning, the thoughts Lao Tzu intended to convey In that sense, it s a remarkable work a detailed examination of all the elements that constitute this treatise While keeping a small amount of literality, it expresses a similar interpretation If I have to choose, I prefer Chen s academic translation with its enriching commentary over Mitchell s version with its still lyrical directness Even though she generally refers to the sage as a man, whereas Mitchell states that since we are all, potentially, the Master since the Master is, essentially, us , I felt it would be untrue to present a male archetype, as other versions have, ironically, done Ironically, because of all the great world religions the teaching of Lao tzu is by far the most female.As for my experience with this book, I should revisit it in a few years The dynamics between opposites that say and don t say, that affirm and deny, that teach without speaking and act without doing it all starts to get a tad annoying after a while I wasn t able to identify with some notions, naturally my skeptical disposition began to take control rather soon However, The Tao Te Ching includes several useful concepts to improve our fleeting stay in this world Moreover, many of those impressions are addressed to politicians In that regard, this book should be required reading for every single one of them.I close this review with some chapters according to the views of each translator 18On the decline of the great Tao, There are humanityjenand righteousness i General comment The overall message of this chapter, just as in preceding and subsequent chapters, is that the unconscious state of nature is superior to the conscious state of virtue Consciousness marks a lack We are not aware of and do not pursue something until we have already become separated from it 30One who assists the ruler with Tao, Does not overpowerch iangthe world by military conquests Such affairs have a way of returninghuanWhere armies are stationed, Briars and thorns grow, After great campaigns, Bad years are sure to follow The good person is resolutelwoonly, But dares notkantake the path of the strongch iangBe resolutekuoyet do not boastching , Be resolute yet do not show offfa , Be resolute yet do not be haughty, Be resolute because you have no choice, Be resolute yet do not overpowerch iangWhen things are full grown, they age This is called not following Tao Not following Tao they perish early General commentWhile the preceding chapter serves as the basis of a theology of nature, this chapter provides the rationale for a theology of peace It carries the theme of non action or non domination in the preceding chapter to international relations If humans are not supposed to dominate other creatures, neither should they dominate fellow humans This chapter is a critique of military power ch iang specifically against wars, which are instruments of death 66Rivers and seas can be kings of the hundred valleys, Because they are good at flowing downwardshsiaTherefore they can be kings of the hundred valleys Thus if you desire to be above the people, Your words must reach downhsiato them.If you desire to lead the people, Your personshen, bodymust be behind them.Thus the sage is above, Yet the people do not feel his weight He stays in front, Yet the people do not suffer any harm Thus all gladly praise him untiringlypu yenBecause he does not contend with any, Therefore no one under heaven can contend with him General commentThis chapter on the relationship between the ruler and the people is directly connected with chapter 61, which is on the relationship among states The key concept is again hsia, low or downward flowing In domestic affairs as well as in international relations, the ruler is to imitate water by reaching downward to the people, assisting in their own self unfolding without imposing himself on them.Aug 18, 18 Also on my blog I shared the same chapters on each review. I m always reading this little book containing the essence of wisdom For years I ve read it again and again, one chapter every morning. Concatenated thoughts Review 1 2 Things arise and she lets them come things disappear and she lets them go.She has but doesn t possess,acts but doesn t expect. The Tao Te Ching is a classical text credited to Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu 6th century and on which Taoism is based It consists of 81 short chapters written in poetic form which, using a pithy language brimming with evocative and, at times, repetitive contradictions, provide guidance on how humanity may have a harmonious relationship with nature, with the Tao In an inspiringly laconic way, the chapters reveal the sage s fundamental truths that range from theology to politics, inseparable components of the Tao Te Ching I read two editions simultaneously Ellen Chen s The Tao Te Ching A New Translation with Commentary and Stephen Mitchell s Tao Te Ching A New English Version After reading chapter 11 by the latter, the merits of each work became particularly noticeable Chen s translation is an accurate marvel It s the kind of translation I like as literal as possible I don t want only the translator s interpretation, I want to know the precise words that went through the author s mind I ve made peace with everything that gets lost in translation, so at least give me surgical precision.On the opposite side stands Mitchell with another approach divesting the verses of all metaphor, he focuses on the meaning, the thoughts Lao Tzu intended to convey In that sense, it s a remarkable work a detailed examination of all the elements that constitute this treatise While keeping a small amount of literality, it expresses a similar interpretation If I have to choose, I prefer Chen s academic translation with its enriching commentary over Mitchell s version with its still lyrical directness Even though she generally refers to the sage as a man, whereas Mitchell states that since we are all, potentially, the Master since the Master is, essentially, us , I felt it would be untrue to present a male archetype, as other versions have, ironically, done Ironically, because of all the great world religions the teaching of Lao tzu is by far the most female.As for my experience with this book, I should revisit it in a few years The dynamics between opposites that say and don t say, that affirm and deny, that teach without speaking and act without doing it all starts to get a tad annoying after a while I wasn t able to identify with some notions, naturally my skeptical disposition began to take control rather soon However, The Tao Te Ching includes several useful concepts to improve our fleeting stay in this world Moreover, many of those impressions are addressed to politicians In that regard, this book should be required reading for every single one of them.I close this review with some chapters according to the views of each translator 18When the great Tao is forgotten,Goodness and pity appear Notes the great Tao Jayata said to Vasubandu, If you have nothing to ask for in your mind, that state of mind is called the Tao goodness and pity appear When the Tao is forgotten, people act according to rules, not from the heart This goodness is as insecure as Job s and can be as self satisfied as Little Jack Horner s Whereas a good father has no intention of being good he just acts naturally 30Whoever relies on the Tao in governing mendoesn t try to force issues or defeat enemies by force of arms.For every force there is a counter force.Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.The Master does his job and then stops.He understands that the universe is forever out of control, and trying to dominate events goes against the current of the Tao.Because he believes in himself, he doesn t try to convince others.Because he is content with himself, he doesn t need other s approval.Because he accepts himself, the whole world accepts him.Notes doesn t try to force issues He lets the issues resolve themselves out of control Out of control of his own, tiny, personal, conscious self 66All streams flow to the seabecause it is lower than they are.Humility gives it its power If you want to govern the people,you must place yourself below them.If you want to lead the people,you must learn how to follow them The Master is above the people,and no one feels oppressed.She goes ahead of the people,and no one feels manipulated.The whole world is grateful to her.Because she competes with no one,no one can compete with her.Notes The Master is above the people Not that she feels superior, but that, looking from a higher vantage point, she can see The whole world is grateful to her Even those who think they are ungrateful no one can compete with herShe sees everyone as her equal.Aug 18, 18 Also on my blog I shared the same chapters on each review.