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  1. What's up Exorcist, always a pleasure to see your contributions here. I think your interpretation is on-point, but in terms of translation, I think this is more of a 註 than an 譯, as the degree of 詮釋 takes the reader very far from many of the original characters. Dawei, your efforts are solid, but I don't agree with a lot of your interpretations of the logic implied by these short sentences. Here's a little 10 minute translation with a few notes and suggestions I tacked on the end. Not perfect, but here goes: 養氣忘言守 Nurture qi, forget language,1 keep watch 降心為不為 Tame2 the mind, do non-doing 動靜知宗祖 Of movement and stillness, know their ancestor3 無事更尋誰 There is nothing to do, what4 else do you seek? 真常須應物 [The mind/the true and eternal]5 must respond to things 應物要不迷 When responding to things, you must not get lost 不迷性自住 If you do not get lost, your mind nature will naturally be present 性住氣自回 If you mind nature is present, qi will naturally return 氣回丹自結 When qi returns, the elixir naturally forms 壺中配坎離 Within the pot,6 you combine kan and li 陰陽生返复 Yin and yang are born, return, and regenerate7 普化一聲雷 Everything transforms with a peal of thunder 白雲朝頂上 White clouds gather at the crown of the head 甘露灑須彌 Sweet dew is sprinkled on Mt. Sumeru 自飲長生酒 Naturally you sip the liquor of longevity 逍遙誰得知 Free and without a care, who even knows?8 坐聽無弦曲 Sitting and listening to the song played with no strings 明通造化機 Enlightened to the functioning of [the universe/creation and dissolution] 都來二十句 It all comes from these twenty sentences 端的上天梯 Which are really and truly the ladder to heaven ___ 1: The idea of "forgetting words" is important and explicit in quite a few Daoist and Chan writings. I wouldn't lose the character 言 in translation. Here I suspect the teaching is to externally shut the mouth and internally let go of the tendency to have a stream of verbalized thoughts. 2: Treating 降 as xiang and not jiang. 3: I.e., that prior to movement/stillness, yin/yang. 4: 誰 can mean "what." 5: 真常 can be a reference to the mind. I think that even in the definitions offered in Daoist dictionaries that don't suggest that this word refers to the mind, if you consider that "常清常靜" is a descriptor for 性, then it is talking about the nature of a realized/original mind. 6: Nan Huaijin's interpretation of this poem offers that 壺 alludes to its homonym 葫 and was an old symbol for the human body. 7: Or, "give rise to return and regeneration." 8: I am not sure if this is a reference to the inability of others to know what you're doing; to the fact that in this state there is no "you" left to know; both; or something else. Finally, I think the first two sentences of this poem are the most important. They contain a wealth of information but I think that the instructions in them are not connected by a strictly linear logic. In other words, it is true that nurturing qi will help you to forget words and to stay watchful. But staying watchful will also help you to forget words and nurture qi. And allowing yourself to let go of the inner monologue when it arises will also help you to nurture qi and to stay watchful. Similarly, taming the mind will help you do do non-doing, but doing non-doing is also the key to taming the mind. So, there is no clear "first step here," as all of these are first, last, and middle steps, walked simultaneously, one and yet not one, not one and yet one. 合而言之,無所可言;分而言之,就那十個字。
  2. Done well, 500 characters of modern Chinese would probably cost you $60 US, maybe $50 if you get lucky. Five bucks for 500 characters is slave wages (and nobody so unlucky as to be working in a translation farm or cranking out bit rate gigs online will be able to give you anything of quality) or some asshole who you're paying to use Google Translator on your behalf. And we're still talking standard fees for modern Chinese. There are probably only a handful of people on earth who can honestly claim to be qualified to understand most of the Daoist Canon (I sincerely doubt anybody understands it all). To employ even a modestly qualified translator would (and, given the bitter such a person had to eat to become that versed in arcane language, should) cost a very pretty penny. This person would have to understand grammar from multiple dynastic periods, hundreds of obscure characters, and have the ability to "read between the lines," which is only possible for a very learned person who likely has been taught by Daoists directly. Then this person has to be able to put that into legible English for you! If anybody tells you s/he can render Daoist writings (or anything in any foreign language, really) into English for you for $0.01 a character, either you've found a saint with a lot of spare time, or somebody with a wall in Mexico to sell you!
  3. Translated commentaries of the DDJ in English?

    Dawei, that was an extremely useful reply, thank you!
  4. Translated commentaries of the DDJ in English?

    I feel the need to take a few minutes and reply to you in detail, Marblehead. I am a busy man but I have the time to use TDB from time to time, and as this is a discussion board where debate is permitted, I will ignore your demand to not challenge your opinions. In all honesty, I agree with very little of what you say about most things, but most of time I see that as no reason to make a post. However, I have noticed that you are now beginning to offer meditation advice and you are also making statements about certain topics of potential relevance to spiritual seekers with an air of certainty, as though you were stating facts. See this exchange: You: Any translation based on Wang Bi's rendering of the Tao Te Ching is biased by Wang Bi's Buddhist mentality. Me: By the way, Wang Bi is usually criticized for putting a Confucian slant on the DDJ, not a Buddhist one. What Buddhist ideas are you speaking about? You: I can't speak to your question. My opinion was formed many years ago and it would be too difficult to find individual examples that caused me to form my opinion. But we all have our individual opinions, don't we? That, brother, is a response that would not pass muster in a third grade classroom. Now, if you had prefaced your first statement with something like, "hey, I thought...," and then replied with, "well, you know, I'm not sure but I thought...," then I wouldn't have a single qualm with you. But you're here with a tone of voice like you're telling it like it is--and when asked for some very basic corroboration, what do I get? The opening salvos of a flame war, actual threats, orders to shut up, and name-calling. I accept that I am not without blame here. My tone of voice was condescending, and my comments to Taoist Texts (who I indeed feel has an "impish instigator's" tendency to jump into conflicts in search of schadenfreude--for the record, I have taken the long-overdue step of putting the man on Ignore) may have seemed to be aimed at you. However, that is not an excuse for your bullying behavior. Frankly, Marblehead, being able to back up your statement about Wang Bi, or anything else, is your homework, nobody else's. If you think that you can here or anywhere say any old thing that pops to mind and then declare freedom from the responsibility to do just a bit of corroboration because "it's my opinion," then you are setting the bar for yourself way too low. Again, as I said above, I don't agree with much of what you (and plenty of other people) say here, but there's no need to tire myself and everybody else out with endless disagreements. But there are some important things I feel strongly about, and one of them is the spiritual path. As somebody nearing 50,000 posts here, your word count is in the millions on the site that is the number 1 Google search result for anybody searching for "Daoism forum." Though your words may not be on paper, you are published here, and again, by force of sheer volume (please pay close attention to that turn of phrase: I do not accuse you of typically "using force," except for where you have used threatening, dictatorial language with me here and one or two others in the past) you have ensured that your posts will be read by a lot of people who are curious about Daoist ideas and practices. What the word "Daoism" encompasses is vast, old, complex, and beyond the purview of any individual or group to define. That means this forum must be open to a variety of disparate interpretations, including yours. But just because one people can contend that just about anything counts (or doesn't) as Daoism, should not mean the basic norms of backing up an opinion should ever be suspended. And saying things like you did about Wang Bi without feeling the slightest shred of responsibility to make a few clicks and keystrokes to Google your ideas is about as ridiculous as this slightly alternated scenario obviously would be: Marblehead goes to sports bar and gets into conversation about MJ: Jordan's basketball in the end of his career was messed up by the mentality he picked up playing for the Bears after he retired from the Bulls for the first time. Every other guy in the sports bar: Huh? Jordan played for the Sox minor league team when he was retired. When the hell did he ever play for the Bears? Marblehead: I can't speak to your question. My opinion was formed many years ago and it would be too difficult to find individual examples that caused me to form my opinion. But we all have our individual opinions, don't we? Every other guy in sports bar: Geddafuggouddaheah... Marblehead: I do not need support my opinions. I don't even need to support my understandings... I have done my work. You are trying to make me do your work. You know where you can shove that, don't you? See, man, if it wouldn't pass muster in a bar and it wouldn't pass muster in third grade, then it doesn't pass muster anywhere. The reason I said I hesitate to use the word "sacred" before is because that's another word loaded with contention, but my point was that in my eyes--and the eyes of every other Daoist I've met in my long years studying and practicing with teachers in four countries--this path (and the Buddhist one) has the potential to offer people something we in English might call "salvation." What all that means is a discussion for another time: the reason I bring it up again is because the power and potential of Daoism to utterly alter human life paths means that certain responsibility is called for when talking about its practices and theories. I do not mean that everybody needs to be right (who could be?). But I mean that one should take care in not wording one's opinions as though one were stating facts--and not blow his or her lid when facing something that every single published writer is subject to: criticism. My last comment is that I find your habit of making comments which you might feel are "just opinions" as though they were factual can be worrisome. If you do so with offers of meditation practice advice or comments on Daoist theory in the future, and I have time and a wanton, I may well criticize you again. For my part I will try to speak without any sarcasm, but I will be nothing less than direct and I will not accept threats like, "therefore, Don't challenge my opinions and I won't challenge yours. But if you start bad-mouthing me you will get a response and I assure you, you won't like the response." Good day to ya.
  5. Translated commentaries of the DDJ in English?

    Madness, madness, and partly my responsibility. To the pit we go...
  6. Translated commentaries of the DDJ in English?

    You are welcome to challenge my opinions and disagree with me, even stridently and passionately. If I see opinions here that I feel strongly need to be challenged, I hope I am free to challenge them.
  7. Translated commentaries of the DDJ in English?

    And the amateurs are impish instigators, c'est la vie...
  8. Translated commentaries of the DDJ in English?

    I see. But I see no reason why I should refrain from publicly disagreeing with you, even strongly.
  9. Translated commentaries of the DDJ in English?

    He's blithely saying he doesn't give a damn if what he's saying about Wang Bi has any basis in fact or is just some random misrememberance--it's his opinion, he likes it, and it would be "difficult" to go to Google and do five minutes of reading. Therefore he won't change it. I hesitate to use loaded, controversy-inducing words "sacred," but considering what Daoism transmitted properly has the potential to mean in people's lives, I see it as problematic for a man who by sheer force of volume dominates one of the internet's most trafficked Daoism websites to believe he has absolutely no responsibility to at least to try and do his homework.
  10. Translated commentaries of the DDJ in English?

    That's a shitty attitude to have for a guy who inserts himself into literally thousands of conversations to spout off opinions about Daoism.
  11. Translated commentaries of the DDJ in English?

    Thank you, but aside from the Cheng Man Ching volume, these are all modern commentaries written in English for English speakers by people who understand/understood the modern, western mind quite well; Cheng's work is modern, too. I'm interested in commentaries written in China for Chinese audiences before the fall of the Qing Dynasty. Great link, many thanks! Its bibliography seems to have answered my question... There really aren't many translations of the commentaries to choose from in English. Yes, like assholes, we all have opinions. And like anuses, opinions need to be freshened up and polished from time to time, lest one start to exude that stubborn old fart smell. Of all the people on this forum, you're the least able to claim to be too busy to do a bit of due diligence, broski.
  12. Translated commentaries of the DDJ in English?

    Thanks Marblehead... I'm not at all concerned with accuracy or lack thereof in whomever's eyes; rather I'm trying to figure out how many classical commentaries have been translated into English in full. By the way, Wang Bi is usually criticized for putting a Confucian slant on the DDJ, not a Buddhist one. What Buddhist ideas are you speaking about? I see, no need to apologize, but may I ask, do enlightened ones surpass the realm of tautology, or is that a thing on the other shore, too?
  13. Hi all, I'm doing some research into Daodejing translation and am wondering if any bums have read translations of the countless classical Chinese commentaries on this text? From what I can tell there is this translation of Wang Bi's early commentary, and then Red Pine's more recent of his two DDJ translations, which includes selections from numerous commentaries, but is not a complete translation of any of them. Then there's this old, obscure translation of a translation of the He Shang Gong commentary, which you can find for free on JStor if you're interested and have a way to log on there. Can any of you think of any others? And, if anybody happens to have Red Pine's or the Wang Bi commentary in their collections, would you be willing to photograph/scan the introductions and first chapters as a favor to a fellow wanderer? Thanks...
  14. Grand Master Pui Chan

    Now that's some gongfu! Will definitely watch this on Amazon sometime, thanks for the heads up.
  15. In the not-so-distant past (and in the living memory of some older Chinese and Tibetan Daoists and Buddhists I know), life expectancy was short. To travel distances we hardly notice today required huge investments of time and effort in the face of real danger. It was common in many lands to speak a dialect unintelligible to people just a mountain or two away, greatly limiting the number of teachers one would ever have the chance to learn from. Literacy was a rare luxury, and books hard to come by. It is somewhat paradoxical that in the face of all this inconvenience, cultivators of the past were marked by their patience, whereas impatience is endemic today amid seekers who can very reasonably hope to live into their 80s or beyond. Imagine: if you read a poem and eat a sandwich at the same time, but you respond to the poem in far less time than it will take for your digestive system to extract the nutrients from your sandwich and shit out the rest, then don't expect your mind to have time to extract any nutrients from that poem before you react to it. I assure you, given that the human mind is capable of pooping on command, it in fact digests surprisingly slowly. Many years ago when I first lived in Beijing I had tea at Andrew Nugent Head's house. To those of us who'd wandered there that Sunday morning, he rattled off pieces of advice gleaned from his many years on "the path." One memorable thought was this: If you have a teacher, always wait at least seven days before you ask any question you think of. This will give you time to find the answer yourself (as often times you will if you just wait and use your good mind) and it will also give you time to notice if a question is not worth asking (very many are not). Anyway, your questions and anxieties are pretty typical of beginners. Years, perseverance, circumspection (especially regarding your experiences and goals), and equanimity will gradually put things into perspective. There's probably no other way. A problematic statement. Worth contemplating.