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Learning the DDJ


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#1 Mig

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 11:08 PM

Hello,

 

I was wondering what has been the most efficient way to learn the DDJ both in English and Chinese. Have someone learned by heart or only those topics or sentences that makes sense to you? What kind of materials, sites or books do you use to read each chapter? I have checked the translations in this site and it has been helpful but sometimes I have the impression that everyone makes their own interpretation and it is difficult to understand the original text in classical Chinese or written Chinese.

My goal is to learn it by heart and it is until now that I am able to understand the translations, the interpretations and the way it is easy to understand not using fancy wordings or more poetic. it is my practical way that emerges to see how I can apply it in real life.

 

Thanks.

 

M


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#2 Marblehead

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 03:37 AM

Hi Mig,

 

What helped me when I first introduced myself to Taoism was the read a few translations of the TTC but still feeling insecure of a fair understanding I read a translation of Chuang Tzu.  After that things started falling together for me.  Further readings of the TTC gave me a much better feeling then.

 

You can find many translations of the TTC as well as Chuang Tzu here:

 

 http://terebess.hu/e.../lexikon/l.html


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#3 Mig

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 10:21 AM

Hi Mig,

 

What helped me when I first introduced myself to Taoism was the read a few translations of the TTC but still feeling insecure of a fair understanding I read a translation of Chuang Tzu.  After that things started falling together for me.  Further readings of the TTC gave me a much better feeling then.

 

You can find many translations of the TTC as well as Chuang Tzu here:

 

 http://terebess.hu/e.../lexikon/l.html

Thank you. I read the DDJ 30 years ago and didn't understand a word. Nothing really impressed me and the little I understood I was already practicing it. Some readings on Kung fu helped me to grasp some concepts or principles. At the same time, I was wondering when you read those translation were you reading commentaries for each chapter? If I read a translation and no commentaries, I can only assume or make my own interpretation which makes me think, I am not understanding the meaning of each chapter. Now, if I am interested in the original text in Chinese and its commentaries then I have a gist in both languages. Of course, I have found online several sites with translations but I am never sure if that is an accurate translation or interpretation. Still my purpose is to have practical application from each chapter. This is the reason why I am curious how everyone read and understand the DDJ and how they learned directly from both classical Chinese and written Chinese.

 

Thanks,

 

M


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#4 dawei

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 12:14 PM

Even if you memorize parts, or the whole of chapters, what do you really understand or know ?

 

I do think there is some value in letting the words sink into memorization.

 

When I was in china a month ago, my wife mentioned to a cousin my interest in Laozi... he walked away and produced several daoist items as gifts...  one was a version of the DDJ, only  in chinese.  I quickly scanned the first chapter to see how the punctuation was set as that is telling for the rest of the book.   my wife asked me to read the first few lines.  

 

I closed my eyes and then recited several lines.  I thought back to the several daoist monasteries or even Tibetan ones.  There seemed to be a moment where I was passing through a timeless gate...  and then opened my eyes to see them again.

 

Read; Recite; Memorize; Dream...


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#5 Mig

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 01:05 PM

After learning the first chapters, I understand the original text and how it is interpreted by some many translators and practitioners. Recent translations and old translations before 1940 and 1900. Recently, I started writing them down and practice them to memorize each chapter then try to understand each sentence, the syntax and how each chapter is structured. I found faith and conviction website and has been helpful in understanding then the translations here at Dao bums have been remarkably instructive. I see that reading other texts can be useful, just it is too much and I am always very careful with translations. My interests lay on what traditional Daoist scholars and practitioners understood and put those principles in practice or even today if Daoist scholars and practitioners both from the east and west exist.

Thank you very much for your kind input.



#6 dawei

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 01:42 PM

The first chapter seems a kind of litmus test...   why not share your translation and then we can comment :)



#7 Marblehead

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 02:11 PM

At the same time, I was wondering when you read those translation were you reading commentaries for each chapter?

 

My initial readings were of books at the library so even though I don't remember exactly I am sure I read the notes and commentaries as well.

 

I don't even want to do my own translation.  I know me and know that the translation would end up sounding like Nietzsche had translated it.  Lao Tzu would be dancing all over the place.


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#8 Mig

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 06:22 PM

My initial readings were of books at the library so even though I don't remember exactly I am sure I read the notes and commentaries as well.

 

I don't even want to do my own translation.  I know me and know that the translation would end up sounding like Nietzsche had translated it.  Lao Tzu would be dancing all over the place.

can you name a first book you read that impacted you and which notes and commentaries? Did you say your own translation, is it from the original in Chinese or from both Chinese and Engllish or other language?


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#9 Marblehead

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 04:00 AM

can you name a first book you read that impacted you and which notes and commentaries? Did you say your own translation, is it from the original in Chinese or from both Chinese and Engllish or other language?

 

The first translation of the TTC that I bought is Robert G Henricks' translation.  I still use it as my base (root) translation.  I'm not suggesting that it is perfect but it is the one that I feel most comfortable with.  Henricks has  lot of notes but really no commentaries.  His translation was a scholastic venture, not a philosophical venture.

 

I mentioned I have NOT done my own translation.  I will never do one because my opinions would get in the way of doing a fair translation.


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#10 Mig

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 11:14 AM

The first translation of the TTC that I bought is Robert G Henricks' translation.  I still use it as my base (root) translation.  I'm not suggesting that it is perfect but it is the one that I feel most comfortable with.  Henricks has  lot of notes but really no commentaries.  His translation was a scholastic venture, not a philosophical venture.

 

I mentioned I have NOT done my own translation.  I will never do one because my opinions would get in the way of doing a fair translation.

Why do you think is your base? Is it because the English translation sounds better to you in terms of style and word arrangement or is it because it really tells you something that is a Daoist message? What had intrigued me is the comprehension of each chapter and if this is understood as Chinese native speaker or scholars understand. How a beginner will grasp what is Daoist from the DDJ?

 

Thanks,



#11 Marblehead

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 02:18 PM

Why do you think is your base? Is it because the English translation sounds better to you in terms of style and word arrangement or is it because it really tells you something that is a Daoist message? What had intrigued me is the comprehension of each chapter and if this is understood as Chinese native speaker or scholars understand. How a beginner will grasp what is Daoist from the DDJ?

 

Thanks,

 

I think that Henricks' translation more correctly reflects the Chinese concepts in English better than most do.  The words used have few connotations allowing for multiple understandings.

 

The translator's background often determines how a passage is translated.  Many are influenced by Buddhist or Christian concepts. 

 

I guess that bottom line, we hold closer the translation that "feels" more true to us.  And this is determined by our background.


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