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Tao Te Ching
|"Tao Te Ching"|
|Traditional Chinese: 道德經|
|Simplified Chinese: 道德经|
|Pinyin romanization: Dào Dé Jīng|
|Wade-Giles romanization: Tao Te Ching|
|Zhuyin transcription: ㄉㄠˋ ㄉㄜˊ ㄐㄧㄥ|
Tao Te Ching (Chinese: 道德經 [ Listen (info • help)]) is the Chinese name of a book by a man named Laozi (or Lao Tzu, which literally means "old master"). Laozi was a sage (a wise man) and he was a record-keeper. The title can mean "The Book of the Way and its Virtue." People believe the book was written around 600 BC.
It is an important text to Chinese culture. It is very important in Chinese philosophy (way of thinking) and religion. It is the main book for Taoism, which is both a philosophy and part of Chinese folk religion. It also influenced other philosophies in and around China.
There are many ways to translate the book's title, because each Chinese word has a few meanings:
- Dào/Tao 道 means "way", "road", "path", or "route," but was given the extra meaning "path ahead", "way forward", "method", "principle", or simply "the Way". This word was also used in different ways by other Chinese philosophers (including Confucius, Mencius, Mozi, and Hanfeizi). It has special meaning in Taoism, where it means the basic way of the universe (that can not really be explained).
- Dé/Te 德 means "virtue" as in "personal character" or "inner strength". People who followed the teachings of Confucius used it to mean "morality". A long time ago in English, "virtue" could mean "power" (as in the phrase "healing virtue of a drug"). The same thing was true in Chinese: the word meant "power" a long time ago but now means "virtue".
- Jīng/Ching 經 originally meant "norm", "rule", or "plan", was given the extra meaning "scripture", "great book", or "classic".
The book is constructed of a series of poems, each containing a rule, way or belief to becoming successful.
Structure of the book
The Tao Te Ching is a short book of about 5,000 Chinese characters. It has 81 short chapters. It has two parts: Part One is the Tao Ching (道經), which is chapters 1–37; Part Two is the Te Ching (德經), which is chapters 38–81.
The Tao Te Ching is one of the most translated books in history, alongside the Bible and the Quran. Why are there thousands of translations? The text is short, the meaning is difficult. There are many interpretations, or ways to understand what the book says.
Online English versions
- Tao Te Ching, James Legge
- Tao Te Ching, John H. McDonald
- Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell
- Daode jing, Charles Muller
- Lao Tsu's Tao Te Ching Online, Elyxr
- Tao Te Ching, Stan Rosenthal
- Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, 3 translations: James Legge, D.T. Suzuki, and Dwight Goddard
- Dao De Jing (Way Power Book) by Lao-zi, Sanderson Beck
- Tao Te Ching – The Way of Life, Raymond B. Blakney
- The Daode Jing (Tao Te Ching) of Laozi (Lao Tzu), Chad Hansen
- The Dynamic Tao and Its Manifestation. Wayne L. Wang
- The Tao Te Ching, Frederic H. Balfour
- The Tao Te Ching, Ron Hogan (in several formats, including iPod)
- The Tao Te Ching, Lin Yutang
- The Tao Te Ching, Stan Rosenthal
- Tao Te Ching audio edition, narrated by Michael Scott
- The Tao Teh King, Aleister Crowley
- Jade Purity: Dao De Jing, Siji Tzu (far from a word-for-word translation)
Online multilingual versions
- Das Tao Te King von Lao Tse 28 Chinese versions (Wang Bi, Heshang Gong, Fu Yi, Mawang Dui, Guodian), translations in 24 languages (84 in English), including side-by-side comparison of two or four translations, Lao Zi Projekt
- 老子 Lǎozĭ - 道 德 經 Dàodéjīng Romanian Version, Serban TOADER PhD, PDF black and white and colour
- 老子 Lǎozĭ - 道 德 經 Dàodéjīng Chinese-English-German, Hilmar KLAUS, The Tao of Wisdom. verbatim + analogous + poetic, 2009, 600 p.
- Dao De Jing, comparison of Chinese versions (Pinyin, Wang Bi, Heshang Gong, and Mawangdui), Nina Correa
- Laozi Daodejing, English and German translations, Chinese in seal script
- The Tao by Lao-tse, Rick Harbaugh
- The Way and Its Power - Dao De Jing Chinese, English (Waley, Lau), French (Julien), and German (Wilhelm), Association Française des Professeurs de Chinois