Tao Te Ching

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Overview

The Tao Te Ching is a great treasure house of wisdom. Written by Lao Tzu as early as the sixth century B.C. and composed of only 5,000 characters, it has become one of the classic works of spiritual enlightenment. The Tao offers a much-needed alternative to our fragmented, modern ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. To live life in accordance with "Tao" is to be in harmony with others, with the environment, and with oneself.

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Overview

The Tao Te Ching is a great treasure house of wisdom. Written by Lao Tzu as early as the sixth century B.C. and composed of only 5,000 characters, it has become one of the classic works of spiritual enlightenment. The Tao offers a much-needed alternative to our fragmented, modern ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. To live life in accordance with "Tao" is to be in harmony with others, with the environment, and with oneself.

In this evocative and poetic new translation, Ralph Alan Dale has captured the beauty and essence of a unique masterpiece. He translates "Tao" as "the Great Integrity," signifying the return to holism, creativity, and honesty. Following his translation of the complete text, Dale provides insightful commentary on each verse, reprinting the verse on the same page with the commentary. The book is also a magnificent work of art: the elegant Chinese calligraphy and stunning photographs, printed in black and silver, enhance the poetry and stimulate the reader's imagination.

It has been 2,500 years since the Tao Te Ching was written. Yet living generations and those soon to come may be particularly attuned to Lao Tzu's words and their message. In Dale's translation, the Tao Te Ching resonates to our twenty-first century hopes, dreams, and challenges-as though Lao Tzu had written this remarkable book just for us.

Ralph Alan Dale has been practicing, teaching, researching, and writing on acupuncture for thirty years, and has published numerous books on Chinese medicine. He lives in Florida and North Carolina with his wife, Hendrina Ophey.

John Cleare is an internationally renowned photographer, specializing in landscapes and mountains.

The most accessible and authoritative English translation of the ancient Chinese classic. Offers the essence of each word and makes Lao Tzu's teaching alive.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dale, a teacher of alternative medicine and author of Acupuncture with Your Fingers, offers a new translation of the ancient Chinese text credited by legend to the sixth-century sage Lao Tzu. Relying on several earlier translations from Chinese, Dale lovingly renders the 81 sections into verse rather than prose. Accompanied by Cleare's evocative black-and-white nature photographs, each poem is titled and stands alone. Included are Dale's informed commentaries for each verse that present the meaning of Lao Tzu's words for life today. For example Verse 30, "Defense and Aggression," is interpreted as permitting defense against violence, but never taking revenge or attempting to conquer others through the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. One meaning of Verse 49, "Wisdom," is that each human, no matter how compromised and corrupted, has an innate humanity in his or her core. Dale uses the last verse, "The Paradoxes of Life," to summarize the meanings in the first 80. He contends that despite the evil uses that technology has been put to, such as the development of weapons of mass destruction, it is possible to transform this technological knowledge into a mutually dependent system of economy and communications that may be used to meet the needs of people worldwide. This transformation is a way for the modern world to live within Lao Tzu's Great Integrity, a life of harmony with one another. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
It is not often that books of merit in the field of spiritual writing also appeal to the eye and the hand. This version of the well-known Tao Te Ching is indubitably a coffee-table book, but it is as gratifying to the intellect as to the sense of aesthetics. In the principal section of the book, each verse chapter, in Chinese and in Dale's translation, is accompanied by a beautifully subtle black-and-white photograph. At the rear of the book, Dale, a longtime scholar of acupuncture and other fields, repeats each verse chapter and adds his own commentary. There is something unintentionally comic about Dale's Western, reasoned, and multisyllabic commentaries on Lao Tzu's studied simplicity, apparent even in translation; still, most readers will find Dale's insights helpful. For libraries with significant holdings in Taoism. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Based on contemporaneous texts discovered by archeologists in China in the last 20 years, this new translation of the Te-tao Ching is very readable and enjoyable yet at the same time meticulously researched and accurate. It has a clear introduction, extensive commentary, and complete notes. A library wanting complete holdings on Chinese philosophy should surely consider this first of a five-volume series on Chinese classics that will appear in the next years. Otherwise, it will suffice to have translations of Lao-Tzu, the Tao The Way, and/or the Tao-Te Ching by some or all of its past translators, including Stephen Mitchell, Wing-Tsit Chan, H.B. Crill, Witter Byner, Feng and English, Arthur Waley, Lin Yutang, and James Legge.-- Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585092277
  • Publisher: Book Tree, The
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.27 (d)

Meet the Author

Laozi (also Lao-Tzu or Lao-tze) was a philosopher and poet of ancient China. He is best known as the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching and the founder of philosophical Taoism, but he is also revered as a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions. Although a legendary figure, he is usually dated to around the 6th century BC and reckoned a contemporary of Confucius, but some historians contend that he actually lived during the Warring States period of the 5th or 4th century BC. A central figure in Chinese culture, Laozi is claimed by both the emperors of the Tang dynasty and modern people of the Li surname as a founder of their lineage. Throughout history, Laozi's work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements.
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Read an Excerpt

Tao Te Ching

The Way of Virtue
By Lao Tzu

Square One Publishers

Copyright © 2003 Lao Tzu
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0757000290


Chapter One


VERSE 1


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!


VERSE 2


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
arrivetogether
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


VERSE 3


Putting a value on status
will cause people to compete
Hoarding treasure
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


VERSE 4


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


VERSE 5


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


Continues...

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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Tao Te Ching - Translation 13
Verbatim Translation 95
Notes on the Verbatim Translation 256
Commentary on Verse I 271
Definitions, Concordance, and Wade-Pinyin Conversion 295
List of Radicals 337
Appendix Some of the Earliest English Translations of Verse One 341
Sources 345
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 58 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 75 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 13, 2010

    great translation

    Translation is great, love the use of both 'he' and 'she' throughout. As the author points out, the original Chinese is gender-neutral - so the use of both he and she makes it appealing to myself as a woman because I find the use of 'he' all the time in other texts to be annoying. It is nice that this translation uses both. Thought-provoking yet relaxing. Easy read, but to really grasp it, it should be read slowly or read through multiple times. Very refreshing read that I keep near me always now.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Buy

    A great book. Insightful, intellectual, and impossible to put down. A spiritual must read.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2008

    Ahhh, The Way

    I have read many versions and translations of The Tao Te Ching. This one flows like the water of a stream. It is the true embodiement of the Tao. I highly recommend this and most other of Stephen Mitchell's books.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2007

    Not a good choice if you want a real translation

    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.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2010

    The best

    Clearly the best translation. Captures the meaning, humor and depth of Tao.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

    A must for the ages.

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Translation

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    seriously, "Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!"

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Book to live by

    If I could only have 3 books - this would be top on my list

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Beautiful Translation

    This is my favorite translation of the Tao Te Ching. It is easy to read and a joy to learn.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2005

    Not a Translation

    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

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    This book is nothing like the true Tao Te Ching. In fact, it sho

    This book is nothing like the true Tao Te Ching. In fact, it shouldn't even be called by that name. It is loosely based on the original, but is full of Mitchell's own New Age ideas. If you want true literal translations that also have commentaries, Ellen M. Chen, Derek Lin, and Rodney A. Cooper are excellent choices. Mitchell's version is completely different than the original. Its a real shame that it has gained such popularity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    A great book!!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    The second best book ever next to The Bible

    Tao is like water. Water is soft but outlasts the hard, finds a lower place and benefits everything.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2008

    the purest translation

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2000

    Great Gift, Hardcover Tao Te Ching

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    &heart &#heart &hearts &#hearts

    &love &#love

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2014

    ! [33]

    Is where it starts

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2014

    1-100

    &#1&#2&#3&#4&#5&#6&#7&#8&#9
    &#10&#11&#12&#13&#14&#15#&16&#17#&18&#19&#20&#21&#22&#23&#24&#25&#26&#27&#28&#29&#30&#31&#32&#33&#34&#35&#36&#37&#38&#39&#40&#41&#42&#43&#44&#45&#46&#47&#48&#49&#50&#51&#52&#53&#54&#55&#56&#57&#58&#59&#60&#61&#62&#63&#64&#65&#66&#67&#68&#69&#70&#71&#72&#73&#74&#75&#76&#77&#78&#79&#80&#81&#82&#83&#84&#85&#86&#87&#88&#89&#90&#91&#92&#93&#94&#95&#96&#97&#98&#99&#100

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

    cliffrock

    Ok for traviling it depends on your conditions and the conditions of the other cats with you like if your a queen with newborn kits you will need borage if your in perfect condition you will want cobwebs and marigold thy look like this.poijts to cobwebs and marigold.we have very little borage and watermint do to river rise

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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