Book of Tao

The Way, Qi, Tao Te Ching
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Re: Book of Tao

Post by DNS »

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 78

Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people
is fit to rule them.
He who takes upon himself the country's disasters deserves
to be king of the universe.
The truth often seems paradoxical.
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Re: Book of Tao

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Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 79

After a bitter quarrel, some resentment must remain.
What can one do about it?
Therefore the sage keeps his half of the bargain
But does not exact his due.
A man of Virtue performs his part,
But a man without Virtue requires others to fulfil their obligations.
The Tao of heaven is impartial.
It stays with good men all the time.
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Re: Book of Tao

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Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 80

A small country has fewer people.
Though there are machines that can work ten to a hundred times faster
than man, they are not needed.
The people take death seriously and do not travel far.
Though they have boats and carriages, no on uses them.
Though they have armor and weapons, no one displays them.
Men return to the knotting of rope in place of writing.
Their food is plain and good, their clothes fine but simple,
their homes secure;
They are happy in their ways.
Though they live within sight of their neighbors,
And crowing cocks and barking dogs are heard across the way,
Yet they leave each other in peace while they grow old and die.
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Re: Book of Tao

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Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 81

Truthful words are not beautiful.
Beautiful words are not truthful.
Good men do not argue.
Those who argue are not good.
Those who know are not learned.
The learned do not know.

The sage never tries to store things up.
The more he does for others, the more he has.
The more he gives to others, the greater his abundance.
The Tao of heaven is pointed but does no harm.
The Tao of the sage is work without effort.
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Re: Book of Tao

Post by freedom »

DNS wrote: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:57 pm Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 1

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.
I do not know Chinese, and I am not an expert in Taoism. However, I like Tao te Ching, so I like to contribute some of my understandings about it.

Even though I do not know Chinese, I still like to stick to the original as much as possible.

Here is my translation:

道 : Tao

非 常 : A Tao that can be a Tao is not an eternal Tao.

非 常 : A name that can be a name is not an eternal name.

無 名 天 地 之 始 : Namelessness is the origin of heaven and earth.

有 名 萬 物 之 母 : Namedness is the mother of ten thousand things (or all things).


Because of the impermanence nature of all things, if something exists then it must be ended or destroyed. Therefore, if a Tao can be a Tao then it exists as "a Tao", or there is something as "Tao", so it cannot be eternal.

Similarly, if a name can be a name then it exists as "A", "Mr. B", "Dog",... then it cannot be eternal.

Before something has its first name, it did not have any name. Heaven and earth can be seen as things that had the first names. Therefore, before it is called "heaven", it did not have any name. Before it is called "earth", it did not have any name. Therefore, Namelessness is the origin of heaven and earth.

Heaven and earth is the yang (heaven) and yin (earth). From them, subsequent things are created and also have different subsequent names. These new named things also create another new named things...Therefore, Namedness is the mother of ten thousand things.

Hope that you may understand what I tried to say... i tried to keep this short, so I stopped here.
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Re: Book of Tao

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DNS wrote: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:57 pm Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 1

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.
Looks like the version that DNS quotes from is by: GIA-FU FENG AND JANE ENGLISH
Lao Tsu - Tao Te Ching- Wildwood House 1991, first published 1972
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Book of Tao

Post by Nicholas »

Sages comment on verse one:
Red Pine says, The word tao means "road" or "way" and, by extension, "way of doing something."

TU ER-WEI says, "Tao originally meant 'moon.' The Yiching: 42, 52
stresses the bright moon, while Lao-tzu stresses the dark moon" (pg. ii-iii).
CONFUCIUS says, "The Tao is what we can never leave. If we can leave it, it isn't the Tao" (Chungyung: x).
HO-SHANG KUNG says, "What we call a way is a moral or political code, while
the Immortal Way takes care of the spirit without effort and brings peace to the
world without struggle. It conceals its light and hides its tracks and can't be
called a way. As for the Immortal Name, it's like a pearl inside an oyster, a piece
of jade inside a rock: shiny on the inside and dull on the outside."
CH'ENG CHU says, "A sage doesn't reveal the Way. not because he keeps it secret,
but because it can't be revealed. Hence his words are like footsteps that leave no tracks."
LI HSI-CHAI says. "Things change but not the Tao. The Tao is immortal. It
arrives without moving and comes without being called."
SU CH'E says. "The ways of kindness and justice change but not the way of the
Tao. No name is its body. Name is its function. The sage embodies the Tao and
uses it in the world. But while entering the myriad states of being. he remains
In non-being."
WANG PI says. "From the infinitesimal all things develop. From nothing all
things are born. When we are free of desire. we can see the infinitesimal where
things begin. When we are subject to desire. we can see where things end.
'Two' refers to 'maiden' and 'mother'.
TS' AO TAO-CH'UNG says, '''Two' refers to 'innocence' and 'passion: or in other
words. stillness and movement. Stillness corresponds to nonexistence. Movement
corresponds to existence. Provisionally different. they are ultimately the
same. Both meet in darkness."
The SHUOWEN [dictionary] says. "Hsuan:dark means 'black with a bit of red in it.'"like the
darker half of the yin-yang symbol. In Shensi province. where this text was written.
doors are still painted black with a thin line of red trim. And every road begins with a door.
TE-CH' ING says. "Lao-tzu's philosophy is all here. The remaining five-thousand words
only expand on this first verse."
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Book of Tao

Post by Nicholas »

Here is Wing-Tsit-Chan's translation of verse one:
The Tao (Way) that can be told of is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
The Named is the mother of all things.
Therefore let there always be non-being so we may see their
subtlety,
And let there always be being so we may see their outcome.
The two are the same,
But after they are produced, they have different names.
They both may be called deep and profound (hsüan).
Deeper and more profound,
The door of all subtleties!
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Book of Tao

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One of the earliest into English, from 1905 by Lionel Giles - verse one:
THE Tao which can be expressed in words is
not the eternal Tao ; the name which can
be uttered is not its eternal name. Without a
name, it is the Beginning of Heaven and Earth;
with a name, it is the Mother of all things. Only
one who is ever free from desire can apprehend
its spiritual essence; he who is ever a slave to
desire can see no more than its outer fringe.
These two things, the spiritual and the material,
though we call them by different names, in
their origin are one and the same. This sameness
is a mystery,—the mystery of mysteries.
It is the gate of all wonders.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Book of Tao

Post by Nicholas »

Wonder how many there are - in English? In 1948 there were 12 said Lin Yutang.

Now Ivanhoe's verse one, from 2005:
A Way that can be followed is not a constant Way.
A name that can be named is not a constant name.
Nameless, it is the beginning of Heaven and earth;
Named, it is the mother of the myriad creatures.
And so,
Always eliminate desires in order to observe its mysteries;
Always have desires in order to observe its manifestations.
These two come forth in unity but diverge in name.
Their unity is known as an enigma.
Within this enigma is yet a deeper enigma.
The gate of all mysteries!
Last edited by Nicholas on Sat Jun 05, 2021 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Book of Tao

Post by Nicholas »

Lin Yutang's 1948 version was very popular. His book The Wisdom of Laotse includes comments by Chuangtse. "After all, Chuangtse was his greatest disciple and the greatest exponent of Taoism."
The Tao that can be told of
Is not the Absolute Tao;
The Names that can be given
Are not Absolute Names.
The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth;
The Named is the Mother of All Things.
Therefore
Oftentimes, one strips oneself of passion
In order to see the Secret of Life;
Oftentimes, one regards life with passion,
In order to see its manifest forms.
These two (the Secret and its manifestations)
Are (in their nature) the same;
They are given different names
When they become manifest.
They may both be called the Cosmic Mystery * :
Reaching from the Mystery into the Deeper Mystery
Is the Gate to the Secret** of All Life.
-------------------------

* Hsuan—This word is the equivalent of "mystic" and
"mysticism." Taoism is also known as the Hsiianchiao, or "Mystic Religion."

** Miao may also be translated as "Essence"; it means "the
wonderful," the "ultimate," the "logically unknowable," the
"quintessence," or "esoteric truth."
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Book of Tao

Post by freedom »

Many translators made big mistakes by trying to make sense Lao tzu's words in their translations. The texts are intentionally paradoxical and nonsense. Therefore, we should keep them as close to the original as possible.

The paradox and nonsense in the texts are the gems of the texts. They buried many hidden meanings there. However, the scholars and translators have tendency of running away from them and trying to put their own words into the texts. That's why Lao tzu said that the scholars are flowers of the Tao, and also the sources of stupidity (Chapter 38).

Of course, we cannot precisely translate the texts. However, we can try to keep them as close as we could, so someone else may be able to understand and discover the gems.

Since English is not my language, I always have trouble finding the right words and grammar for my translation. However, I will try my best to keep the texts as close to its meaning as I could. Moreover, I do not like to be a translator. Just want to share a little bit of what I understood to the world.

Here is my translation for chapter 1:

道 可 道 非 常 道
A Tao that can be a Tao is not an eternal Tao
名 可 名 非 常 名
A name that can be a name is not an eternal name
無 名 天 地 之 始
Namelessness is the origin of heaven and earth
有 名 萬 物 之 母
Namedness is the mother of ten thousand things
故 常 無 欲 以 觀 其 妙, 常 有 欲 以 觀 其 徼
So ever desireless to see strange miracles, ever desire to see strange outer fringe.
此 兩 者 同 出 而 異 名
These two (things) together come out, yet (they) have different names.
同 謂 之 玄, 玄 之 又 玄. 眾 妙 之 門
Together (they) are called miracles, miracle then miracle, the door to many miracles.


When we read that "A Tao that can be a Tao is not an eternal Tao", we will have a tendency of explaining what it means based on our own understanding, so some may said "The Tao that can be told..." or "The Tao that can be trodden..." or "The Tao that can be named..."... However, when we look closely into the texts, we do not see "told", "named", "trodden"... It simply said "Tao that can be Tao". That's all. By putting our own words/ideas into the texts, we unfortunately changed its meaning.

"A Tao that can be a Tao is not an eternal Tao" is pointing to the law of impermanence of nature, the unstoppable changing of nature. Whatever exist must end. There is nothing permanently exist. There is nothing permanently ended. Putting "told, trodden, named,..." into it, we will not be able to see its hidden meanings.

A name is a limitation. It ties something into it, it defines something with it. Therefore, true freedom or true nature is nameless, limitless and undefinable. Heaven and earth do not belong to anything. They are what they are. They have no name, they have no limit, they have no desire to be called this or that, they have no desire to be recognized as "heaven or earth".

By having a name, it is tied to that name, it is defined by that name, it is limited by that name. By that name, we desire to be recognized. By that name, we are recognized and bear responsibilities or karma. So, it is the mother of ten thousand things that will come to that name.

Strange miracle is that limitless, nameless, undefinable "stuff". To reach that is to end all desires, since desire will limit one to what one is desiring.

With desire, we cannot see the limitless, nameless, undefinable "stuff", but only see its strange outer fringe because one is limited and defined by one's desire.

Namedness and Namelessness, long and short, beauty and ugly, good and bad... are the two things that come out together. We cannot call anything "short" if there is nothing longer than it; therefore, when "short" exists, "long" must already be there. So, long and short must always be together and we cannot separate them. However, even they came out together and we cannot separate them, yet they have different names! Same with good and bad, right and wrong,...

The dualism are called miracles. Right and wrong, wrong and right, good and bad, bad and good...So, good is actually bad and bad is actually good! Is that not a miracle? Do we see the law of impermanence?
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