Librarything apparently won't allow me to review each edition separately. Oh well. I keep the Waley edition for his notes and his bare, literal, somewhat political translation. The Feng-English has a good balance between poetics and literalism and generally comes in a nice edition with Jane English's photographs. The Le Guin edition has the most beautiful English poetry I've seen in a translation and she has an interesting take on the text. Her notes are also funny, humble, and helpful. It's good to own multiple English translations, as the thing is basically untranslatable in any perfect fashion. As for the Tao Te Ching itself... I've read many philosophical and religious texts, and this is the one that speaks to me the most. Simple, humble, strikingly conservative yet almost revolutionary in this day and age. I go back to it as often as I can.
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About This Item
Lightning Source Inc
|Number of Pages|
Laozi, Tzu, Lieh, Tzu, Chuang
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)|
8.50 x 5.75 x 0.75 Inches
This translation with ...
This translation with commentary by Ellen M. Chen has the reputation for being the best contemporary explication of the Tao Te Ching. I can't claim to have glanced at more than a few of the scores of translations currently available, but I did find that this had the terseness that I expect mimics the original. Also, the translation is careful to use the same English word to represent a given Chinese word whenever it appears in the text. This doubtless makes the translation less poetic, but it brings out the rigor of the Taoist philosophy.The commentary is amazing. Chen takes a philosophical rather than religious approach to the Tao Te Ching. Her commentary not only draws on Chinese texts from the Confucian, legalist, and Taoist traditions, but also on such western philosophers as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Thomas, Hegal, Proudhon, Marx, Freud, and Wittgenstein (the Tao is like that "whereof one cannot speak"). The result is a book that places Taoism in a global philosophical context, emphasizing its commonalties and, especially, its differences with other schools of thought.
Written by Laozi short...
Written by Laozi shortly before the Analects of Confucius this classic Chinese text has been more frequently translated than any book except the Bible. It is one of the foundations of East Asian thought that is still read today. The Tao Te Ching provides a combination of spirituality, common sense advice and a little nonsense to remind us that we live in world that cannot be known. Much of the text is open to a wide variety of interpretations. The beginning is a famous quote that provides a good example: The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. There is an important thought conveyed in those two lines that loses its' meaning if you try to reduce it to an objective fact. On the other hand the following lines are simple good advice about how to live your life. In dealing with others, be gentle and kind. In speech, be true. In ruling, be just. In business, be competent. In action, watch the timing. One of the author's favorite devices is the use of contradictions to express an idea. When the Tao is present in the universe, The horses haul manure. When the Tao is absent from the universe, War horses are bred outside the city. The Tao Te Ching is eighty-one verses and each time I read it I discover something new. For me that is the hallmark of a truly great book. The edition I have is filled with full page pictures and has the original Chinese on the opposite page from the translation.
Laozis set of 81 brie...
Laozi's set of 81 brief chapters sets forth the philosophy of Taoism. The author cautions the reader that words alone cannot faithfully describe his subject, the Tao or the way of the universe, which in our time has led some to dismiss this perspective due to its ambiguity. Enigmas and apparent contradictions appear frequently, which compelled me to pause to contemplate what Laozi was trying to convey. The necessity of pausing and reflecting makes reading this material fulfilling, especially when I felt I moved closer to understanding. I found the three jewels of Taoism appealing: Compassion, frugality (also translated as restraint and moderation), and humility (or not seeking to be first). Laozi is also persuasive in advocating selective gradual change rather than confrontation. This book is not for the been-there-done-that crowd, who see the ideal life as a experience of episodes of serial consumption. Instead the truths here are intended to be revealed though a combination of experience and contemplation. Some have wisely recommended memorizing some of the chapters, allowing the enigmas and puzzles to remain with us and perhaps to be solved later on with the help of experiential and contextual diversity. The edition I read was translated by Thomas H. Miles and his students. It served my purpose well, though at times I would have appreciated some additional commentary to supplement the helpful existing guidance. Miles' translation also has some useful introductory material in which key terms are defined, insofar as that is possible within Taoism. I intend to read other translations to get a better idea of the range of interpretations.
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