Tao Te Ching

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Both the Mawangdui and Guodian versions are generally consistent with the received texts, excepting differences in chapter sequence and graphic variants. Several recent Tao Te Ching translations utilize these two versions, sometimes with the verses reordered to synthesize the new finds.

Other notable English translations of the Tao Te Ching are those produced by Chinese scholars and teachers: a translation by linguist Lin Yutang , a translation by author John Ching Hsiung Wu , a translation by sinologist Din Cheuk Lau , another translation by professor Wing-tsit Chan , and a translation by Taoist teacher Gia-Fu Feng together with his wife Jane English.

Many translations are written by people with a foundation in Chinese language and philosophy who are trying to render the original meaning of the text as faithfully as possible into English. Some of the more popular translations are written from a less scholarly perspective, giving an individual author's interpretation. Critics of these versions claim that their translators deviate from the text and are incompatible with the history of Chinese thought.

Tao Te Ching - Wikisource, the free online library

These Westernized versions aim to make the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching more accessible to modern English-speaking readers by, typically, employing more familiar cultural and temporal references. The Tao Te Ching is written in Classical Chinese , which poses a number of challenges to complete comprehension. As Holmes Welch notes, the written language "has no active or passive, no singular or plural, no case, no person, no tense, no mood. Since there are no punctuation marks in Classical Chinese, it can be difficult to conclusively determine where one sentence ends and the next begins.

Moving a full-stop a few words forward or back or inserting a comma can profoundly alter the meaning of many passages, and such divisions and meanings must be determined by the translator. Some editors and translators argue that the received text is so corrupted from originally being written on one-line bamboo strips linked with silk threads that it is impossible to understand some chapters without moving sequences of characters from one place to another.

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January Learn how and when to remove this template message. Tao Te Ching. It stands alone and empty, solitary and unchanging.

Tao Te Ching

It is ever present and secure. It may be regarded as the Mother of the universe. Because I do not know its name, I call it the Tao. If forced to give it a name, I would call it 'Great'. Because it is Great means it is everywhere. Being everywhere means it is eternal. Being eternal means everything returns to it. Tao is great.

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Heaven is great. Earth is great. Humanity is great. Within the universe, these are the four great things. Humanity follows the earth. Earth follows Heaven. Heaven follows the Tao. The Tao follows only itself. Go back to the Table of Contents 26 Heaviness is the basis of lightness. Stillness is the standard of activity. Thus the Master travels all day without ever leaving her wagon. Even though she has much to see, she is at peace in her indifference. Why should the lord of a thousand chariots be amused at the foolishness of the world?

If you abandon yourself to foolishness, you lose touch with your beginnings. If you let yourself become distracted, you will lose the basis of your power. Go back to the Table of Contents 27 A good traveler leaves no tracks, and a skillful speaker is well rehearsed. A good bookkeeper has an excellent memory, and a well made door is easy to open and needs no locks.

A good knot needs no rope and it can not come undone. Thus the Master is willing to help everyone, and doesn't know the meaning of rejection.

Leadership Advice from the Tao Te Ching

She is there to help all of creation, and doesn't abandon even the smallest creature. This is called embracing the light.

go What is a good person but a bad person's teacher? What is a bad person but raw material for his teacher? If you fail to honor your teacher or fail to enjoy your student, you will become deluded no matter how smart you are. It is the secret of prime importance. Go back to the Table of Contents 28 Know the masculine, but keep to the feminine: and become a watershed to the world. If you embrace the world, the Tao will never leave you and you become as a little child. Know the white, yet keep to the black: be a model for the world. If you are a model for the world, the Tao inside you will strengthen and you will return whole to your eternal beginning.

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Know the honorable, but do not shun the disgraced: embracing the world as it is. If you embrace the world with compassion, then your virtue will return you to the uncarved block. The block of wood is carved into utensils by carving void into the wood. The Master uses the utensils, yet prefers to keep to the block because of its limitless possibilities.

Great works do not involve discarding substance. Go back to the Table of Contents 29 Do you want to rule the world and control it? I don't think it can ever be done. The world is a sacred vessel and it can not be controlled. You will only make it worse if you try. It may slip through your fingers and disappear.

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Some are meant to lead, and others are meant to follow; Some must always strain, and others have an easy time; Some are naturally big and strong, and others will always be small; Some will be protected and nurtured, and others will meet with destruction. The Master accepts things as they are, and out of compassion avoids extravagance, excess and the extremes. Go back to the Table of Contents 30 Those who lead people by following the Tao don't use weapons to enforce their will.

Using force always leads to unseen troubles.

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In the places where armies march, thorns and briars bloom and grow. After armies take to war, bad years must always follow. The skillful commander strikes a decisive blow then stops. When victory is won over the enemy through war it is not a thing of great pride. When the battle is over, arrogance is the new enemy.

War can result when no other alternative is given, so the one who overcomes an enemy should not dominate them. The strong always weaken with time. This is not the way of the Tao. That which is not of the Tao will soon end. Go back to the Table of Contents 31 Weapons are the bearers of bad news; all people should detest them. The wise man values the left side, and in time of war he values the right. Weapons are meant for destruction, and thus are avoided by the wise.

Only as a last resort will a wise person use a deadly weapon. If peace is her true objective how can she rejoice in the victory of war? Those who rejoice in victory delight in the slaughter of humanity. Those who resort to violence will never bring peace to the world. The left side is a place of honor on happy occasions. The right side is reserved for mourning at a funeral. When the lieutenants take the left side to prepare for war, the general should be on the right side, because he knows the outcome will be death.

The death of many should be greeted with great sorrow, and the victory celebration should honor those who have died. Go back to the Table of Contents 32 The Tao is nameless and unchanging. Although it appears insignificant, nothing in the world can contain it.