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Editorial Reviews. Language Notes. Text: English (translation) Original Language: Chinese. About the Author. Victor H. Mair is a translator of Chinese texts.
Table of contents
- The Classic Book of Integrity and The Way
- Tao Te Ching: The Classic Book of Integrity and the Way - Laozi - Google Книги
- Tao Te Ching
He fulfills his purpose, but is not proud; He fulfills his purpose, but is not boastful; He fulfills his purpose, but does not brag; He fulfills his purpose only because he has no other choice. This is called "fulfilling one's purpose without using force. Therefore, One who aspires to the Way does not abide in them. The superior man at home honors the left, on the battlefield honors the right. Therefore, Weapons are not instruments of the superior man; Weapons are instruments of evil omen, to be used only when there is no other choice.
He places placidity above all and refuses to prettify weapons; If one prettifies weapons, this is to delight in the killing of others. Now, One who delights in the killing of others Cannot exercise his will over all under heaven. For this reason, On occasions for celebration, the left is given priority; On occasions for mourning, the right is given priority.
Therefore, A deputy general stands on the left, The general-in-chief stands on the right. In other words, They stand in accordance with mourning ritual. The killing of masses of human beings, we bewail with sorrow and grief; Victory in battle, we commemorate with mourning ritual. Though the unhewn log is small, No one in the world dares subjugate it.
If feudal lords and kings could maintain it, The myriad creatures would submit of themselves. Heaven and earth unite to suffuse sweet dew. Without commanding the people, equality will naturally ensue.
The Classic Book of Integrity and The Way
As soon as one begins to divide things up, there are names; Once there are names, one should also know when to stop; Knowing when to stop, one thereby avoids peril. In metaphorical terms, The relationship of all under heaven to the Way is like that of valley streams to the river and sea. Its tasks completed, its affairs finished, Still it does not claim them for its own. The myriad creatures return to it, But it does not act as their ruler. Eternally without desire, It may be named among the small; The myriad creatures return to it, But it does not act as their ruler; It may be named among the great.
For these reasons, The sage can achieve greatness, Because he does not act great. Therefore, He can achieve greatness. Therefore, When the Way is expressed verbally, We say such things as "how bland and tasteless it is! This is called "subtle insight. Fish cannot be removed from the watery depths; The profitable instruments of state cannot be shown to the people. If feudal lords and kings preserve it, The myriad creatures will be transformed by themselves. After transformation, if they wish to rise up, I shall restrain them with the nameless unhewn log.
By restraining them with the nameless unhewn log, They will not feel disgraced; Not feeling disgraced, They will be still, Whereupon heaven and earth will be made right by themselves. The person of inferior integrity never loses sight of his integrity; For this reason, he lacks integrity. The person of superior integrity takes no action, nor has he a purpose for acting.
The person of superior humaneness takes action, but has no purpose for acting. The person of superior righteousness takes action, and has a purpose for acting. The person of superior etiquette takes action, but others do not respond to him; Whereupon he rolls up his sleeves and coerces them. Therefore, When the Way is lost, afterward comes integrity.
When integrity is lost, afterward comes humaneness. When humaneness is lost, afterward comes righteousness. When righteousness is lost, afterward comes etiquette. Now, Etiquette is the attenuation of trustworthiness, and the source of disorder. Foreknowledge is but the blossomy ornament of the Way, and the source of ignorance. For this reason, The great man resides in substance, not in attenuation.
He resides in fruitful reality, not in blossomy ornament. Heaven attained unity, and thereby became pure. Earth attained unity, and thereby became tranquil. The spirits attained unity, and thereby became divine. The valley attained unity, and thereby became full. Feudal lords and kings attained unity, and thereby all was put right.
Yet, pushed to the extreme, It implies that, If heaven were ever pure, it would be likely to rend. It implies that, If earth were ever tranquil, it would be likely to quake. It implies that, If the spirits were ever divine, they would be likely to dissipate.
Tao Te Ching: The Classic Book of Integrity and the Way - Laozi - Google Книги
It implies that, If the valley were ever full, it would be likely to run dry. It implies that, If feudal lords and kings were ever noble and thereby exalted, they would be likely to fall. Therefore, It is necessary to be noble, and yet take humility as a basis. It is necessary to be exalted, and yet take modesty as a foundation.
Now, for this reason, Feudal lords and kings style themselves "orphaned," "destitute," and "hapless. Therefore, Striving for an excess of praise, one ends up without praise. Consequently, Desire not to be jingling as jade nor stolid as stone. All creatures under heaven are born from being; Being is born from nonbeing. When the middling man hears the Way, he appears now to preserve it, now to lose it.
When the inferior man hears the Way, he laughs at it loudly. If he did not laugh, it would not be fit to be the Way. For this reason, There is a series of epigrams that says: The forward Way seems backward. The level Way seems bumpy. Superior integrity seems like a valley. The greatest whiteness seems grimy. Ample integrity seems insufficient. Robust integrity seems apathetic. Plain truth seems sullied. The great square has no corners. The great vessel is never completed. The great note sounds muted. The great image has no form.
The Way is concealed and has no name. The myriad creatures bear yin on their backs and embrace yang in their bosoms. They neutralize these vapors and thereby achieve harmony. That which all under heaven hate most Is to be orphaned, destitute, and hapless. Yet kings and dukes call themselves thus. Things may be diminished by being increased, increased by being diminished. Therefore, That which people teach, After deliberation, I also teach people. Therefore, "The tyrant does not die a natural death.
Hence, I know the advantages of nonaction. The doctrine without words, The advantage of nonaction - few under heaven can realize these! Person or property, which is dearer? Gain or loss, which is drearier? Many loves entail great costs, Many riches entail heavy losses. Know contentment and you shall not be disgraced, Know satisfaction and you shall not be imperiled; then you will long endure.
Great fullness appears empty, but its usefulness is not impaired. Great straightness seems crooked, Great cleverness seems clumsy, Great triumph seems awkward. Bustling about vanquishes cold, Standing still vanquishes heat. Pure and still, one can put things right everywhere under heaven. When the Way does not prevail under heaven, war-horses breed in the suburbs. No guilt is greater than giving in to desire, No disaster is greater than discontent, No crime is more grievous than the desire for gain. Therefore, Contentment that derives from knowing when to be content is eternal contentment.
The farther one goes, The less one knows. For this reason, The sage knows without journeying, understands without looking, accomplishes without acting. Decrease and again decrease, until you reach nonaction. Through nonaction, no action is left undone. Should one desire to gain all under heaven, One should remain ever free of involvements. For, Just as surely as one becomes involved, One is unfit for gaining all under heaven.
Treat well those who are good, Also treat well those who are not good; thus is goodness attained. Be sincere to those who are sincere, Also be sincere to those who are insincere; thus is sincerity attained. The sage is self-effacing in his dealings with all under heaven, and bemuddles his mind for the sake of all under heaven.
The common people all rivet their eyes and ears upon him, And the sage makes them all chuckle like children. Three out of ten are partners of life, Three out of ten are partners of death, And the people whose every movement leads them to the land of death because they cling to life Are also three out of ten.
Now, What is the reason for this?
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It is because they cling to life. Indeed, I have heard that One who is good at preserving life does not avoid tigers and rhinoceroses when he walks in the hills; nor does he put on armor and take up weapons when he enters a battle.
The rhinoceros has no place to jab its horn, The tiger has no place to fasten its claws, Weapons have no place to admit their blades. Because on him there are no mortal spots. Matter forms them and function completes them. For this reason, The myriad creatures respect the Way and esteem integrity. Respect for the Way and esteem for integrity are by no means conferred upon them but always occur naturally.
The Way gives birth to them, nurtures them, rears them, follows them, shelters them, toughens them, sustains them, protects them.
Tao Te Ching
It gives birth but does not possess, acts but does not presume, rears but does not control. This is what is called "mysterious integrity. Having realized the mother, you thereby know her children. Knowing her children, go back to abide with the mother. To the end of your life, you will not be imperiled. Stopple the orifices of your heart, Close your doors; your whole life you will not suffer.
Open the gate of your heart, Meddle with affairs; your whole life you will be beyond salvation. Seeing what is small is called insight, Abiding in softness is called strength. Use your light to return to insight, Be not an inheritor of personal calamity. This is called "following the constant. The great Way is quite level, but the people are much enamored of mountain trails. The court is thoroughly deserted, The fields are choked with weeds, The granaries are altogether empty.
Still there are some who wear clothes with fancy designs and brilliant colors, sharp swords hanging at their sides, are sated with food, overflowing with possessions and wealth. This is called "the brazenness of a bandit. Thus sacrificial offerings made by sons and grandsons will never end. Cultivated in the person, integrity is true.
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I had no idea what to expect of this book when It arrived. I turned it over in my hands and it was clearly very short in length, so I decided to just read a few pages while I finished my morning coffee. One and a half hours later I had finished the book entirely, along with my coffee, and I immediately knew upon completion that I would read this book many, many more times in my life. It was a highly profound, dare I say life changing read that dramatically impacted my perspective towards my own happiness and how I interact with others.
Written as a collection of very short, almost poem-like chapters, often each occupying less than a single page, this book is a masterfully crafted guide to find real happiness and fulfillment in your life. It is a tome that empowers you, humbles you, and leads you around the pitfalls that so many humans fall into throughout their lives.
It is not a modern self help book with life-hacks, habit forming tips, or other such articulations, but rather a fundamental, deep, and moving look at what makes up a fulfilling life. If you are someone who has discovered mindfulness, explores meditation, or ponders philosophy, then this book is, without question, a must-read. And if you are more of a go-getter. It has helped me make difficult business decisions, cut through the unimportant details and roadblocks, optimize my time, and improve my relations with my clients and really everyone else in my life for that matter.
It is a book for the true winners, who understand that karma is practical, and that compassion is the path to real success. It is a book that I will cherish for the rest of my life, and I feel indebted to the author and translator for bringing its wisdom into the world. I first read the Tao Te Ching in college. Somewhere along the line I lost that copy so I decided to pick up this one especially since it had such high reviews.
This copy seemed much different than the one I read years back. And I am not just talking about the author's choice to use female pronouns as well as male pronouns in his version incidentally - how close can one get to awareness of Tao if one allows oneself to get hung up on seeing "He" rather than "She" in the teachings? In one portion of this "tao de ching: Tao Te Ching scholarship has advanced from archeological discoveries of manuscripts, some of which are older than any of the received texts.
Beginning in the s and s, Marc Aurel Stein and others found thousands of scrolls in the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang. They included more than 50 partial and complete "Tao Te Ching" manuscripts. In , archeologists discovered copies of early Chinese books, known as the Mawangdui Silk Texts , in a tomb dating from BC.
Based on calligraphic styles and imperial naming taboo avoidances, scholars believe that Text A can be dated to about the first decade and Text B to about the third decade of the 2nd century BC. 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 e. Other notable English translations of the Tao Te Ching are those produced by Chinese scholars and teachers: 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.
It embodies the virtues its translator credits to the Chinese original: 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. Classical Chinese relies heavily on allusion to a corpus of standard literary works to convey semantic meaning, nuance, and subtext.
This corpus was memorized by highly educated people in Laozi's time, and the allusions were reinforced through common use in writing, but few people today have this type of deep acquaintance with ancient Chinese literature. Thus, many levels of subtext are potentially lost on modern translators.
Furthermore, many of the words that the Tao Te Ching uses are deliberately vague and ambiguous. 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.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Taoist temple Grotto-heavens Mount Penglai. This section does not cite any sources.