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.
About the Author
The way of life defined in the Tao Te Ching was developed by ancient sages who lived in China some two thousand years ago. Lao Tzu, known as the Old One, was one such sage who practiced "the way," although there were almost certainly other religious thinkers who contributed further ideas and wisdom to it.
R. B. Blakney, past president of Olivet College, former missionary and teacher in China, and author of many volumes on Eastern religions, made this splendid translation of a great gem of Chinese religion and provided an illuminating interpretative commentary.
Richard John Lynn is Professor Emeritus of Chinese Thought and Literature, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto, Canada. His books include Chinese Literature: A Draft Bibliography in Western European Languages, Guide to Chinese Poetry and Drama, and The Classic of Changes: A New Translation of the I Ching as Interpreted by Wang Bi. He is the editor of James J. Y. Liu’s Language—Paradox—Poetics: A Chinese Perspective.
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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
|List of Passages for Comparison||89|
|1||The Problem of Authorship||90|
|2||The Nature of the Work||104|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am a Chinese. I like Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching or Tao Te Sutra very much. I searched and read many English translations, but I was always not very satisfied with their translations comparing the original Chinese meanings. After I read this book, I think it is the most faithful and satisfying English version. The translator understood Lao Tzu completely and never gave excess transcendental meanings. I am wondering who is translator of this book, why there is no introduction and the biography of the translator'? I really appreciate if who can tell me the translator with his biography.
This book is mostly cultural. not so modern to think of. but its content are amazing. for example: "...he who knows himself is wise..." this is in fact a relevant sentence. the book contains many more principles of life, and tend to give encouragement to these who feel weak because of the way people's moral are in today's world. very educational. its just like a book of proverbs. Fiknd your way in life, but don't forget to think of others.
This is a standard late 19th century translation by James Legge. The text is easy to read but the Artwork sets it apart. The reproductions are of good quality with the frequent guttering of images being the only complaint; this is the one thing that always flaws an otherwise excellent book.
I think a lot more people should read this book because it helps people see clearer. Young people should really read this not as a required book but as a book that can help them into their journey into adulthood.
This is a very good translation. Although there are several minor mistakes, all the basic concepts of Taoism philosophy are correctly translated. If you are interested in Taoism, this book is recommended. The problem of this book is, for general public it is a little too academic.
Tao is like water. Water is soft but outlasts the hard, finds a lower place and benefits everything.
Translations are always a blizzard of words, as opposed to the steady fall of the original piece. It becomes the translators job to not only communicate the original phrases, but to be as true to the overall meaning as possible. From what I have seen of other translations of the Tao? This piece is much clearer in it's meaning, has a continuity of imagery and phrasing that the others lack. I reccomend!
wow... this is definatly a literal translation, from what i can tell, but has none [NONE] of the actual meaning. if you're looking for an excellent translation, i'd definately go with witter bynner. [see below]
I've reviewed many different translations and this one seems to me to best convey the universality of the comments, without overly modernizing it - in terms of money or success etc. Lyrical and beautiful - buy 2 or 3 great holiday gifts.
This book has the answers all our seeking to fully understand life as we know it. Read it again and again, learn more and see more. I recommend this book highly.