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  • Author:
    Lao Tzu
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    Copper Canyon Press; 3rd Revised edition (November 1, 2009)
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    200 pages
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Among the many translations of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, Ursula K. Le Guin's new version is a special treasure-a delight. There is something startlingly fresh and creatively alive here, brought forth by Ms. Le Guin's intuitive and personal ingenuity

Among the many translations of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, Ursula K. Le Guin's intuitive and personal ingenuity. Her rendering has moved me to return to the original Chinese text with rejuvenated fervor, rejoicing in the ineffable sageness that lies in and between Lao Tzu's lines.

Lao tzu. TAO Te ching. Translated with an introduction by. D. C. lau. Penguin books

Lao tzu. Penguin books. Published by the Penguin Group. Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England. Apart from the statement that Lao Tzu’s name was Tan and that his native state was Ch’u, there are only two purported facts in the whole biography. The first is the meeting between Lao Tzu and Confucius at which Confucius asked to be instructed in the rites. The second is Lao Tzu’s westward journey through the Pass and the writing of a book at the request of the Keeper of the Pass.

The text's authorship, date of composition and date of compilation are debated

The text's authorship, date of composition and date of compilation are debated. The oldest excavated portion dates back to the late 4th century BC, but modern scholarship dates other parts of the text as having been written-or at least compiled-later than the earliest portions of the Zhuangzi.

Laozi, also rendered as Lao Tzu and Lao-Tze (/ˈlaʊˈdzeɪ/), was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer. He is the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching, the founder of philosophical Taoism, and a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions.

Lao-tzu's Taoteching book. Lao-tzu’s Taoteching is an essential volume of world literature, and Red Pine’s nuanced and authoritative English and published with the Chinese text en face-is one of the best-selling versions.

From the book Tao Te Ching: The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. Preface The book remained with me, far beyond my teen years. It spoke of so many other things that I found relevant

From the book Tao Te Ching: The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. My first meeting with the Tao Te Ching was in my late teens. The book remained with me, far beyond my teen years. It spoke of so many other things that I found relevant. Contrary to most reading experiences of my youth, I found Lao Tzu's work to increase its relevance, as if written in a future that we still have not reached. That alone is an enigma making it impossible to let the book gather dust in the shelf. It contains many others. Tao Te Ching, which is the major source of Taoism, has a clouded origin. It was composed no earlier than the 6th and no later than the 4th century BC.

J. Legge, Translator. Who can of Tao the nature tell? Our sight it flies, our touch as well. Eluding sight, eluding touch, The forms of things all in it crouch; Eluding touch, eluding sight, There are their semblances, all right. Sacred Books of the East, Vol 39). Profound it is, dark and obscure; Things' essences all there endure. Those essences the truth enfold Of what, when seen, shall then be told.

Lao-tzu's Taoteching. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books.

Traditionally the author was one Lao-Tzu (Laozi) which is an honorary title meaning the ‘Old Master’. Last and next follow each other. So the wise adhere to action through non-action, And communicate the teaching without words. From the Way come the myriad creatures. Yet it imposes no authority.

One of the best-selling English-language translations of the Taoteching.

“A refreshing new translation. . . . Highly recommended.”—Library Journal

“With its clarity and scholarly range, this version of the Taoteching works as both a readable text and a valuable resource of Taoist interpretation.”—Publishers Weekly

“Read it in confidence that it comes as close as possible to expressing the Chinese text in English.”—Victor Mair, professor of Chinese studies, University of Pennsylvania

Lao-tzu’s Taoteching is an essential volume of world literature, and Red Pine’s nuanced and authoritative English translation—reissued and published with the Chinese text en face—is one of the best-selling versions. Features that set this volume apart from other translations are its commentaries by scores of Taoist scholars, poets, monks, recluses, adepts, and emperors spanning more than two thousand years. “I envisioned this book,” Red Pine notes in his introduction, “as a discussion between Lao-tzu and a group of people who have thought deeply about his text.”

Sages have no mind of their owntheir mind is the mind of the peopleto the good they are goodto the bad they are gooduntil they become goodto the true they are trueto the false they are trueuntil they become true . . .

Lao-tzu (ca. 600 BCE) was a Chinese sage who Confucius called “a dragon among men.” He served as Keeper of the Royal Archives and authored the Taoteching.

Red Pine is one of the world’s foremost translators of Chinese literary and religious texts. His books include The Heart Sutra, Poems of the Masters, and a collection of all the known poems by the mountain hermit Han Shan, The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain.

The "Tao Te Ching" (roughly "The Classic of the Way and Virtue") was written by a shadowy figure now known as Lao-tzu, "the Old Master." His writings outline a way of being in which the practitioner ceases to exert his or her will over the world, simply "going with the flow" of things as they naturally arise. Lao-tzu himself seems to have done quite a good job of this, effacing himself so thoroughly that we no longer know even his real name, but his text, in its quiet way, has endured for thousands of years.

Red Pine has been a sensitive translator of a great many spiritual classics from the Chinese and Indian traditions, but with this "Tao" he outdoes himself. He created a new recension of the text based on recently-discovered scrolls, and his translation is founded on this work. Let us be clear: editing the text in this manner is a process in which all translators of ancient works must to some extent take part. The best textual critics look at the whole scope of the work, take in as many variations as possible, and then select the bit of text that seems most well-attested or most in line with the intent of the author. It does not mean the translator merely looks for variants that support his beliefs or agenda, although (lamentably) this sometimes happens. Thankfully, Red Pine does not do this. He has clearly engaged deeply with the text, and he makes his choices based on a reflective understanding of Lao-tzu's philosophy.

After textual reconstruction, of course, comes the even more complex act of translating the text into another language. Many translators play free with the text to some degree; they insert ideas, explanations, and other tidbits they feel clarify or "communicate" the text. Red Pine has by necessity made some such choices at the stage of recension, but there such tinkering all but stops. His English version is spare--not elliptical, but neither embellished--and hews extremely close to his Chinese text. It can hardly be emphasized enough that Red Pine has brought the text into English about as directly as seems possible.

If the translation alone were printed in a booklet and distributed, it would be a gift. But in this edition Red Pine has given us much more. The book itself is attractively designed: a pleasant size; text clear and readable. Each page includes Red Pine's Chinese text alongside the English translation, which is extremely useful if you happen to read Chinese and quite pretty even if you don't. Finally, each chapter is accompanied by extracts from several commentaries. The selection of writers covers numerous traditions and centuries of Chinese thought, and can help readers absorb a difficult verse, or perhaps find their own insights. There is also a comment from Red Pine, sometimes with a short thought on the chapter, or giving his rationale for choosing a particular textual variant. Each chapter is presented on facing pages, with commentary never running onto the next verso. This allows the commentaries to inform and stimulate without becoming exhausting or pedantic.

The Tao Te Ching is like a mountain, and every translator like a guide. Red Pine is sure-footed; he points out the great features of the thing but never forces it on us. We are left to contemplate its grandeur and harrow its mysteries largely for ourselves. No doubt translations of the Tao will continue to be made, but after this book you may never need them.

Rose Of Winds
This wonderful book of Tao Te Ching is a must read for those who are interested in this ancient text of wisdom. Being unique is that it selected a few commentaries of the past 2000 years as tons of Chinese books have been introduced to explain and interpret since Tao Te Ching came into being.

Reading this book does not offer external life. Instead it helps understand where one stands in this world; how to be a real person ; and how to achieve death without perish. In other words, it guides to enlightenment to be a better person to make a happy journey we call life with complete freedom. Many vanity sellers claim that getting their material goods will bring freedom and happiness. Did the woman who had the biggest diamond and many marriages live happily thereafter? If so, why pain relief medicine go from basic to extra extra strength? Lao Tzu said in the text: wealth or health, which is more important?

This book is a practical guide for everyone in this material world. How to spell relief and freedom? Anyone listening?
The only language in which the Taoteching could have been written is Classical Chinese, a medium seemingly open enough to accomodate any translation without losing anything at all. But we should keep in mind, as the good book here says, ". . . the Tao in words is not the real Tao . . ." We could say that Classical Chinese could not really, in our day and age, be served up in literal translation, and we can be grateful to Red Pine, once again, that in this fabulous rendering, he does not begin with the words, but rather with the Tao.

Paul Reps once told me that we humans "are on the outside looking in". Like the space between the kanji strokes, as with the Chinese, thus with the Tao, and even the Truth. (Chapter 11: "Thirty spokes converge on a hub, but it's the emptiness that makes a wheel work . . ."
This translation does work. As in his other impressive translations (I especially love his moving early 1990's translation of Bodhidharma - recommended to all who wish to learn more of Ch'an or Zen) there breathes an immediacy which flows forth into the consciousness of our moment, resonant in these teachings. Relatively obscure in the West not half a century ago, they thus have been recognized for their pith, their eternal relevance, their vision.

Each Chapter in this well-bound, well-designed volume is accompanied by a series of commentaries or alternative translations from various sages in the Taoist tradition, a process which itself, once again, reveals the Tao, ever changing, always unchanged.

Chapter 19: "Get rid of wisdom and reason
and people will live a hundred times better
get rid of kindness and justice
and people once more will love and obey
get rid of cleverness and profit
and thieves will cease to exist
but these sayings are not enough
hence let this be added
wear the undyed and hold the uncarved
reduce self-interest and limit desires
get rid of learning and problems will vanish"

I've been reading this book since the early 1960's in various English renditions - this one is far and away my current favorite - a real delight!
Red Pine is the best translator I've read. He does a great job with this work. There are also many commentaries by different people after each verse so you'll have many interpretations of the Tao. Get this along with "The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse", also here at Amazon, and you'll have a fine time enjoying both. (see my review of Stonehouse too). They make a fine set and would also make a very fine and appreciated gift.