Tao Te Ching

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Arc Manor, 2008 - Philosophy - 105 pages
2 Reviews
Tao Te Ching is a classic Chinese text, probably from around the 6th century BC. While the authorship is still debated, most of the text is attributed to Lao-Tzu ("Old Master"), who was a court record keeper during the Zhou Dynasty. The text is considered an essential element of Taoist philosophy as well as having significant influences on Chinese religions, including Buddhism. This is a classic translation of the book by James Legge. Visit www.ArcManor.com for other, similar books.

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the teaching is not about the master the teachings are about your action im sure what is your action did you read all the good books ? this teaching is profound can you consume it?

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The reason I read this book was that I had read about Taoism, and was intrigued by the ancient Chinese text, and finally buckled down and read it. I was kind of disappointed by the lack of clarity that the author brought, but overall it was worth my time, for it hadn’t lost the deep thought provoking themes of Lao Tzu.
The Tao Te Ching is basically a book about understanding the nature of the world, and the patterns that exist in it, for the purpose of living with the system (Tao) so that the system is not constantly in opposition with the person, and so the person can benefit from it. The overall theme is that of subjugating the rash desires to act directly, strive for doing, and impeding the Way. This is possible by learning to do without striving to accomplish, to allow the natural cyclical balance of the world to occur to one’s own benefit, without trying to tip the scales. It holds that the way is difficult to understand, and to see, “We look at it, and we do not see it, and we name it 'the Equable.' We listen to it, and we do not hear it, and we name it 'the Inaudible.' We try to grasp it, and do not get hold of it, and we name it 'the Subtle.' With these three qualities, it cannot be made the subject of description; and hence we blend them together and obtain The One.” This states that when one is attempting to overtly act, it often fails, or has an effect in direct opposition to the desired outcome, as acting directly upsets the balance. It is only in ignoring the desire to tip the scales for or against one’s self that lasting change can be effected, according to the Way, according to the book.
Though I find the writings of the Tao Te Ching wise, I must admit that I believe that it is not in striving that men are defeated. It is in striving for great things without bringing balance to these actions that causes strife. Also, the book holds that the lowest classes need not education, and seems not to highly value innovation and improvement upon the intellect and technology of man, and this I hold contrary, that there must be a balance between the education of the highest noble and lowest peasant for there to be a nation to live in accordance to that which is eternal, for it is thus that both keep the other in check. The nobles manage greater scaled affairs than the working class, but as this occurs, the lower classes must be intelligent enough to integrate with the upper classes, as to prevent disillusionment, decadence, and finally adversity. Thus the balance is held. But other than that, I find the only issues to be with the translation holding to more loose translations, and allegorical references to Chinese metaphors that I needed to research to understand. This is not, however, greatly disruptive to the comprehension of the text, as much of the translator’s liberties lend well to the poetic nature of the original text, and much of the poetry and style are made clearer by it, and it holds a nice flow to the recitation.
All in all, I would recommend this novel, even if a tad unfaithful. It conveys most of the ideas of the original text, and is a very interesting book, with much wisdom locked within.

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About the author (2008)

Lao Tse (c. 6th century BCE) was a philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching (often simply referred to as Laozi). His association with the Tao Te Ching has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of philosophical Taoism (pronounced as "Daoism"). He is also revered as a deity in most religious forms of Taoist philosophy, which often refers to Laozi as Taishang Laojun, or "One of the Three Pure Ones." According to Chinese traditions, Laozi lived in the 6th century BCE. Some historians contend that he actually lived in the 5th-4th century BCE, concurrent with the Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States Period, while some others argue that Laozi is a synthesis of multiple historical figures or that he is a mythical figure. A central figure in Chinese culture, both nobility and common people claim Laozi in their lineage. He was honored as an ancestor of the Tang imperial family, and was granted the title Taishang xuanyuan huangdi, meaning "Supreme Mysterious and Primordial Emperor." Throughout history, Laozi's work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements.

Confucius (551-479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. His followers competed successfully with many other schools during the Hundred Schools of Thought era only to be suppressed in favor of the Legalists during the Qin Dynasty. Following the victory of Han over Chu after the collapse of Qin, Confucius's thoughts received official sanction and were further developed into a system known as Confucianism. Confucius is traditionally credited with having authored or edited many of the Chinese classic texts including all of the Five Classics, but modern scholars are cautious of attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself. Aphorisms concerning his teachings were compiled in the Analects, but only many years after his death.

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