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Classic on Dao, and the Way of Virtue

dao de jing

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#1 Harmonious Emptiness

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 02:00 PM

just wanted to say somewhere, that Dao De Jing would be best anglicized as "Classic on Dao, and the Way of Virtue."



#2 Marblehead

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 02:36 PM

I have seen it pretty close to that already.

 

Yes, I think "The Way of Virtue" is very descriptive.


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#3 dawei

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 04:39 PM

Classically speaking... 'virtue' should come first as that was the 'way' it was first grouped; De chapters before Dao chapters.

 

But the closest to you idea that I have seen is by Richard John Lynn with the title, "The Classic of the Way and VIrtue" , but I might prefer "The Classic of the Way and its Efficacy".

 

The oldest references to the texts make no titling attempt; they simply refer to Laozi, or "The Laozi" if we suppose any titling was inferred... but other references include "Laozi in ancient script" which may be a nod to the [heathen] Chu script it was written in. Which has some dissimilarity to the northern writing before characters were more standardized.

 

Arguably the earlier comments made on the Laozi was by the legalist Hanfeizi who wrote in two parts but as "Explaining Laozi" and "illustrating Laozi".

 

Eventually there was a 'part 1' and 'part 2' mentioned and even a 'De Jing' (De Classic) and 'Dao Jing' (Dao Classic).   But by the time of the historian SIma Qian he said Laozi talked about 'DaoDe' and it has forever stayed in that order we know today.


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#4 Harmonious Emptiness

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 05:49 PM

Yeah, I guess the all work.  I just feel like the title was meant to imply also "The Way of Virtue" steming from the context of the day which inspired so the "100 schools of thought" (Confucianism, Mohism, etc., etc.,).

 

It seems to say "here is the Dao (of the universe), the way of virtue (of humanity), and the way they relate." 

 

It's a minor difference from "The Way and It's Virtue" but I think "De" in the title was inferring the mundane level of virtue, even more so than it was to "the mystical character of Dao."

 

Not sure if I would agree or not, but you could argue that it shows virtue to describe Dao, more than showing Dao to describe virtue.  Thus, it seems that the title has maybe been over-mysticalized, excluding the obvious "treatment/treatise of behavioural virtue" side of the title, in the other translations of "Dao De Jing."



#5 dawei

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:03 PM

The reason that some, like myself, don't like 'virtue' as a translation is that it then becomes anthropomorphic (human characteristic or attribute) when De is on the same level as Dao in origin.

 

De is the power/capacity/efficaciousness of Dao; 

 

Dao is the blueprint; De is the construction at work.  The ten thousand arise according to Dao Will through De....  JMO


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#6 rene

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:16 PM

dawei, agree. 
 
De has nothing to do with human-morality-virtue. Choosing 'Virtue' to represent the character for 'de' had everything to do with the Jesuit translators.

Efficacy is closest in meaning, imo.


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#7 Marblehead

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 02:09 AM

De is the power/capacity/efficaciousness of Dao; 

Yep.  Dao is "what is".

 

De is how it works.

 

"Virtue" is the "how it works" of Dao.

 

"virtue" is the "how it works" of man.

 

 

What was that one title I saw?  "The Way of Virtue and Its Power"  Something like that.


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#8 dawei

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 05:49 AM

What was that one title I saw?  "The Way of Virtue and Its Power"  Something like that.

 

Yes, I have seen that title too and think it may read and convey the idea quite well.


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#9 Harmonious Emptiness

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 01:36 PM

 "The Way of Virtue and Its Power"

 

I like this even better actually, because it also speaks to how virtue works across existence, the supportive nature of water and Dao, as well as in the mysterious power of virtuous behaviour.

 

Thanks (y') all


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#10 sillybearhappyhoneyeater

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 03:01 PM

A better way would be to look at the meaning of the word "de," (sorry, lazy, Chinese isn't turned on).

That character, while having the modern meaning of virtue, also has an interpretation as a way to view something.

so Dao De Jing could be called "the way of viewing the Dao classic," or "the way of using virtue to view the dao."

Although these translations are a bit more unpacked than the original characters, they are somewhat more reliable than trying to go for a direct translation.


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#11 ChiDragon

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 03:58 PM

I have seen it pretty close to that already.

 

Yes, I think "The Way of Virtue" is very descriptive.


I would say that the "way of virtue" is describing the "virtue of Tao". De is to credit Tao for being impartial in its action. The virtue of Tao which makes Tao virtuous. The De section of the TTC describes how and why Tao is virtuous with many examples. Humans become virtuous by following the virtuous manner of Tao.


Edited by ChiDragon, 02 November 2014 - 03:59 PM.

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#12 Marblehead

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 03:24 AM


I would say that the "way of virtue" is describing the "virtue of Tao". De is to credit Tao for being impartial in its action. The virtue of Tao which makes Tao virtuous. The De section of the TTC describes how and why Tao is virtuous with many examples. Humans become virtuous by following the virtuous manner of Tao.

Agreed.  In my understanding, the TTC speaks to both the Way of Tao, the way of man (often unnatural), the Virtue of Tao, and the virtue of man (often unnatural).  I think one of Lao Tzu's goals was to bring the two closer together.

 

But that is not always an easy task.


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#13 dust

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 06:06 AM

Having read all these comments, which offer some great insight.. I've decided that I don't care!

 

As far as translating it, though I over-think many things, I don't think the title's worth over-thinking. The 经 jing "classic" component marks it out as a title that was given much later than the text was written.

 

All we know for sure is that the earlier versions were called 老子 Laozi / Lao Tzu.

 

Calling it this puts it squarely next to the Zhuangzi / Chuang Tzu, and many other great -zi authors/texts (Sunzi, Liezi, Mozi, Guanzi)

 

But please don't take this as a suggestion to stop discussing it.


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#14 Marblehead

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 07:26 AM

But please don't take this as a suggestion to stop discussing it.

Don't worry.  If I have anything additional to share I will certainly do so.

 

(Always remaining silent is not one of my characteristic traits.)


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