Tao Te Chingby Lao Tzu, Lao Tzu
The Tao Te Ching has served as a personal road map for millions of people. It is said that its words reveal the underlying principles that govern the world in which we live. Holding to the laws of nature--drawing from the essence of what all things are--it offers both a moral compass and an internal balance. A fundamental book of the Taoist, the Tao Te/i>
The Tao Te Ching has served as a personal road map for millions of people. It is said that its words reveal the underlying principles that govern the world in which we live. Holding to the laws of nature--drawing from the essence of what all things are--it offers both a moral compass and an internal balance. A fundamental book of the Taoist, the Tao Te Ching is regarded as a revelation in its own right. For those seeking a better understanding of themselves, it provides a wealth of wisdom and insights.
Through time--from one powerful dynasty to another--many changes have been made to the original Chinese text of the Tao Te Ching. Over the last century, translators have added to the mix by incorporating their interpretations. While jackhammering its original text, some have created beautiful versions of the Tao Te Ching in the name of poetic license. Others have relied on variant forms of the original, while still others have added their own philosophical spins to the material. For those readers who are looking for a purer interpretation of the Tao Te Ching, researcher Patrick Michael Byrne has produced a translation that is extremely accurate, while capturing the pattern and harmony of the original. Here is a Tao Te Ching that you can enjoy, understand, and value.
Patrick Michael Byrne, PhD, received his undergraduate degree in Asian studies and philosophy from Dartmouth College, a certification from Beijing Teachers University, his master’s degree from Cambridge University, and his doctorate in philosophy from Stanford University. He has served as a visiting lecturer at both Dartmouth and the Beijing Normal University. Dr. Byrne is currently Chief Executive Officer of Overstock.com, a successful internet site. He travels extensively throughout the world.
Read an Excerpt
Tao Te ChingThe Way of Virtue
By Lao Tzu
Square One PublishersCopyright © 2003 Lao Tzu
All right reserved.
A way that can be walked
is not The Way
A name that can be named
is not The Name
Tao is both Named and Nameless
As Nameless, it is the origin of all things
As Named, it is the mother of all things
A mind free of thought,
merged within itself,
beholds the essence of Tao
A mind filled with thought,
identified with its own perceptions,
beholds the mere forms of this world
Tao and this world seem different
but in truth they are one and the same
The only difference is in what we call them
How deep and mysterious this unity is
How profound, how great!
It is the truth beyond the truth,
the hidden within the hidden
It is the path to all wonder,
the gate to the essence of everything!
Everyone recognizes beauty
only because of ugliness
Everyone recognizes virtue
only because of sin
Life and death are born together
Difficult and easy
Long and short
High and low--
all these exist together
Sound and silence blend together
Before and after
* * *
The Sage acts without action
and teaches without talking
All things flourish around him
and he does not refuse any one of them
He gives but not to receive
He works but not for reward
He completes but not for results
He does nothing for himself in this passing world
so nothing he does ever passes
Putting a value on status
will cause people to compete
will turn them into thieves
Showing off possessions
will disturb their daily lives
Thus the Sage rules
by stilling minds and opening hearts
by filling bellies and strengthening bones
He shows people how to be simple
and live without desires
To be content
and not look for other ways
With the people so pure
Who could trick them?
What clever ideas could lead them astray?
When action is pure and selfless
everything settles into its own perfect place
Tao is empty
yet it fills every vessel with endless supply
Tao is hidden
yet it shines in every corner of the universe
With it, the sharp edges become smooth
the twisted knots loosen
the sun is softened by a cloud
the dust settles into place
So deep, so pure, so still
It has been this way forever
You may ask, "Whose child is it?"--
but I cannot say
This child was here before the Great Ancestor
Heaven and Earth have no preference
A man may choose one over another
but to Heaven and Earth all are the same
The high, the low, the great, the small--
all are given light
all get a place to rest
The Sage is like Heaven and Earth
To him none are especially dear
nor is there anyone he disfavors
He gives and gives without condition
offering his treasure to everyone
* * *
The universe is like a bellows
It stays empty yet is never exhausted
It gives out yet always brings forth more
Man is not like this
When he blows out air like a bellows
he becomes exhausted
Man was not made to blow out air
He was made to sit quietly and find the truth within
Excerpted from Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Copyright © 2003 by Lao Tzu. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
D. C. Lau, a world renowned scholar on sinological studies, is professor emeritus of Chinese language and Lliterature at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is reknowned for his classic English translations of Tao Te Ching, the Mencius, and The Analects of Confucius.
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As other reviewers have already pointed out, this book is not really a translation at all. It's basically a mish-mash of some of the original material and the author's own politically correct new age philosophy. For instance, Mitchell always uses the female pronoun in refering to sages, but that is incorrect. The original Chinese is gender-neutral. There are also many omissions in this translation. Some of the best passages from the original Tao Te Ching are nowhere to be found in this book. The reason this book has become so popular is that, well, people are fairly gullible. Most do not know Chinese -- I on the other hand am a native speaker despite being Caucasian -- so they trust the opinion of academics and scholars. Unfortunately, in this case these learned folks have really dropped the ball. They don't have to be critical, but at least they should refrain from calling this book authentic or authoritative. The truth is that it is neither. Barnes & Noble has many other translations available. I advise people to look at the other choices.
This is not a translation of the Dao De Jing. This is an interpretation. Stephen Mitchell puts his personal spin on many passages and teachers of Asian Religion an Philosophy warn against his writing on this subject. When compared to the original text there is much that differs. This is a version that incorporates more new age western thinking than classic Daoist thought. If you're looking for comforting ideas this is the text for you, but if you're looking for Doaist text try the translation by Red Pine
This is the book you need to condense the teachings of many other holy books into one. And you can carry it with you and keep it close to you for daily inspiration.
If you are only going to read one version, this should be it. A very easy to read translation. Ideally, you should read this along with a more traditional translation - you'll get the most out of the text that way. When you read more than one translation, you really start to form your own unique conclusions, and that is the most important part.
This is my favorite translation of the Tao Te Ching. It is easy to read and a joy to learn.
Once I pick this book up I can't put it down. It was to me recommended by a friend. The author explains the text well.
this is a feel good, slap your forehead and go "duh, of course" listen....seriously, very calming and something I've been listening to daily and thoroughly enjoying.
I've been given other versions of the Tao de Ching to read, but none have shone the quality and the essence of the original author as I believe this one by Stephen Mitchell does. It's one of those books you read very slowly, again and again, and let the beauty of it sink in to your being. It's truth has given me a peace like nothing else-- a sidewards glance and acceptance of the paradox of life. My version is a hard copy with a ribbon page saver, which I relish! Thank you!
On comparing the original and translation, this translation of the Chinese classic is quite unsatisfactory. The translator presents the basic ideas of Taoism, but deviates from the original Tao Te Ching. I am quite disappointed about the translator's work. Many important points found in the original work were cut in the translation. It is my advice for other purchasers not to buy this translation; it would be a waste.
This book is a fun and happy presentation of the Tao Te Ching with good translations. I would definately recommend it as both a piece of literature and art. It's the kind of book that sparks conversation on a coffee table. Peace.
Tao is like water. Water is soft but outlasts the hard, finds a lower place and benefits everything.