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Translators of the TTC

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I am a bit surprised that no one has mentioned the Stephen Mitchell translation. It's the only one I've read and the only one so far that speaks to my Being. Anyone else read it? What did you think?

The only other person I know that has read it is my mom LOL.

I found his translation online and it helped me to understand what people refers about his translation. I wonder why the translation sometimes is different so if you have read it and understand better now here below an example:

 

The Master gives himself up

to whatever the moment brings.

He knows that he is going to die,

 

then compared to Lau

 

When going one way means life and going the other means death, three in ten will be comrades in life, three in ten will be comrades in death,and there are those who value life and as a result move into the realm of death, and these also number three in ten.

 

出生入死。

生之徒,十有三﹔

死之徒,十有三﹔

人之生,動之死地,亦十有三。

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Bottom line:  We all are going to die.

No way, are we going to die? All that to say that?? maybe there is something in the previous text or in this chapter that tells more than that, or am I reading too much into?

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The last line here (ch50) seems key here... translated many ways.... I'd go with "because he is without capacity for death" or similar. The key being the Sage has already gone beyond the polarity of life and death, so where can death find purchase?

 

Death is only a constant when paired with life. The constant of death can only exist when life exists too. If one goes beyond living and dying, where can death find purchase?

 

This transcendence of life and death also seems resonant to me with the idea of awakening beyond the constructs of time and space, something written about more here, and fits with the recurring theme of the daodejing of merging with the eternal nature of dao.

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I'd wager many translators of the ddj are quite skilled, and also of varying degrees of spiritual development... the interpretation is limited to what makes sense for the development of each. The marvelous thing is how well this text transmits itself to a multitude of interpretations. It is not limited to spiritual endeavors, but lends itself toward the balance within all walks of existence.

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I'd wager many translators of the ddj are quite skilled, and also of varying degrees of spiritual development... the interpretation is limited to what makes sense for the development of each. The marvelous thing is how well this text transmits itself to a multitude of interpretations. It is not limited to spiritual endeavors, but lends itself toward the balance within all walks of existence.

Excellent posting and I think I understand what you just wrote. I wonder if the interpretations, good or less good are matched what the Chinese understand in their culture??

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I'm not Chinese so I don't know.  The Mitchell translations was the first I read, and it immediately made my heart sing. But I didn't dwell on the words, I just read it front to back and sat smiling in the sun. I wonder if my heart was hearing something deeper, behind the words. Too, I wonder if what the daodejing transmits is more accessible than what is embedded into the conventions of a culture. It aims at simplicity and describes principles which are at the heart of all things. There are parts surely borrowed from the times, such as how the government works, yet these verses often advise dissolving the attachments to such systems and letting things govern themselves naturally. I've found there are parts which are hard to swallow, like the big country and small country, but the longer I stick with these things the more clear the message becomes.

 

Jonathan Star has a translation which includes both his own transmission of the translation, and later a word by word dictionary style translation of each chapter. I've come to enjoy putting together my own verses by studying what each word means and comparing with other translations until my heart goes flutter flutter.

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I'm not Chinese so I don't know.  The Mitchell translations was the first I read, and it immediately made my heart sing. But I didn't dwell on the words, I just read it front to back and sat smiling in the sun. I wonder if my heart was hearing something deeper, behind the words. Too, I wonder if what the daodejing transmits is more accessible than what is embedded into the conventions of a culture. It aims at simplicity and describes principles which are at the heart of all things. There are parts surely borrowed from the times, such as how the government works, yet these verses often advise dissolving the attachments to such systems and letting things govern themselves naturally. I've found there are parts which are hard to swallow, like the big country and small country, but the longer I stick with these things the more clear the message becomes.

 

Jonathan Star has a translation which includes both his own transmission of the translation, and later a word by word dictionary style translation of each chapter. I've come to enjoy putting together my own verses by studying what each word means and comparing with other translations until my heart goes flutter flutter.

Thank you again. Let me give you an example of Chapter 4. I understand each chapter has some connections with other chapters and there is some structure in each chapter. Off I go: line 7 dull the brightness. If I read that line without any explanation, all I have are words. As soon as there is a commentary then I can see clear the meaning and I read somewhere it will mean do not expose yourself too open before getting into an unpleasant situation or give others the chance to shine. Is this the way you read or did you have another strategy in reading each chapter?

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dull the brightness - over time this concept has become a very core principle to me, for many reasons.

 

In the daodejing it is similar to the idea of being like an uncarved block, similar to flowing like water to the lowest point rather than raising oneself up, and it is related to the three treasures of compassion, frugality, and not daring to be ahead of anything else under heaven.

 

In the case of a sun, the light radiates outward, but can only do so for so many aeons before it is burnt up.

 

In the daodejing we are taught the principles of the dao, perhaps so we may ourselves be more like the dao, including its eternal nature.

 

I suppose for me, over time all the chapters seem to say the same thing. At first there are more details, but over time the subtleties grow until the parts vanish to reveal the whole - this too comes from dulling the brightness - the mystery is in the subtle and indistinct.

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Don't blind others with your brightness.  Turn down your light so that others can see clearly.

 

Don't blind others with your brightness.  Turn down your light so that others can see clearly.

All right there are 3 words both in the original text and in the translation, how did you understand?:Turn down your light so that others can see clearly.

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The last line here (ch50) seems key here... translated many ways.... I'd go with "because he is without capacity for death" or similar. The key being the Sage has already gone beyond the polarity of life and death, so where can death find purchase?

 

Death is only a constant when paired with life. The constant of death can only exist when life exists too. If one goes beyond living and dying, where can death find purchase?

 

This transcendence of life and death also seems resonant to me with the idea of awakening beyond the constructs of time and space, something written about more here, and fits with the recurring theme of the daodejing of merging with the eternal nature of dao.

Without focus on that verse, what do you mean by transcendence of life and death?

 

I am troubled by notions of the Tao that are constrained by a resemblance of time as in "eternal time".  Outside of being and awareness of being is their a transcendence that is Being?

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All right there are 3 words both in the original text and in the translation, how did you understand?:Turn down your light so that others can see clearly.

 

Strange I missed this post.  I really wasn't ignoring your question as it is a fair question.

 

The song "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon speaks well to this.

 

The vain person is constantly shining their light, blinding others from being able to see what is truth and what is bullshit.

 

We need only enough light to be able to see each other.  Too much light and we go blind.

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Strange I missed this post.  I really wasn't ignoring your question as it is a fair question.

 

The song "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon speaks well to this.

 

The vain person is constantly shining their light, blinding others from being able to see what is truth and what is bullshit.

 

We need only enough light to be able to see each other.  Too much light and we go blind.

Funny I did not read that as vanity.  I thought of "knowledge" or "teaching" or "explaining".  The wisdom one knows and explains blinds not just the ones that listens and learns but also the one that proclaims and teaches.

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Funny I did not read that as vanity.  I thought of "knowledge" or "teaching" or "explaining".  The wisdom one knows and explains blinds not just the ones that listens and learns but also the one that proclaims and teaches.

 

Excellent perspective. 

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Without focus on that verse, what do you mean by transcendence of life and death?

 

I am troubled by notions of the Tao that are constrained by a resemblance of time as in "eternal time".  Outside of being and awareness of being is their a transcendence that is Being?

 

I don't know if I can do justice to your question. The sense I get is one of unifying polarity, returning yin and yang back within the paradox. There are many polarities... it seems as though that of life and death, and that of being and non-being, are polarities that may be navigated following words in the classics, though I am not enough to explain anything about what is there.

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Can anyone direct me to a translation of the TTC with these three features.

 

  1. The original characters, as close to the ancient forms, of the TTC with "exact" translations under then.
  2. A rendition of the TCC in English that follows the above literally.
  3. An English translation "smoothing out" the Chinese into what we usually accept as a translation.

 

Many, many years ago I had a book that did something like this.       

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Can anyone direct me to a translation of the TTC with these three features.

 

  1. The original characters, as close to the ancient forms, of the TTC with "exact" translations under then.
  2. A rendition of the TCC in English that follows the above literally.
  3. An English translation "smoothing out" the Chinese into what we usually accept as a translation.

 

Many, many years ago I had a book that did something like this.       

 

 

Wouldn't that be exactly what all translators say that they are doing?

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Can anyone direct me to a translation of the TTC with these three features.

 

  1. The original characters, as close to the ancient forms, of the TTC with "exact" translations under then.
  2. A rendition of the TCC in English that follows the above literally.
  3. An English translation "smoothing out" the Chinese into what we usually accept as a translation.

 

Many, many years ago I had a book that did something like this.       

 

Try Bradford Hatcher's materials:

 

http://www.hermetica.info/

 

scroll down to Lao Zi - Dao De Jing   (Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching)

  [Free 265 Page, Zipped, Read-Only PDF]

 

Starting on page 55 is the concordance like characters with translation

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Have someone read Wang Keping translation from Chinese to English translation The Classic of the Dao: A New Investigation. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1998. ??

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7 hours ago, dawei said:

This is a rather in-depth translation and commentary I stumbled across:

 

 

The Laozi, Daodejing

By Paul Gibson

 

 

 

 

 

My “Thank You’’ is for making this work known. I’ve browsed a little of the preview and his interpretation is not one that appeals to me.  However, I do appreciate the effort and intelligence he’s put into the work and I’m sure others will find his perspective helpful.

 

I can’t help but notice how he creates a dualism between what he calls the truth of realism against the falsity of idealism. For instance, he writes:

 

"The ability to differentiate things is obviously valuable but the downside is not so obvious. In fact, the downside is often hidden from us due to the nature and strength of our viewpoints. Our points of view are so strong and definite that we mistakenly call our views 'true' rather than realizing how they are merely convenient and tentative. Our personal, shortsighted view is idealistic rather than a broader, more realistic view."

 

From my brief reading of his commentary, it seems to me he’s fallen into his own trap of believing his own analysis and own distinctions are true.  However, I appreciate that no discussion is possible without creating distinctions, as I have done here by differentiating my perspective from his. And that immediately takes me away from Dao. Hence I make this post with an inner smile and will say no more other than, for me, the world in an amazing mystery that defies all attempts at rational understanding.

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My introduction to the Tao Te Ching  came by way of The Wisdom of Laotse by Lin Yutang. It has remained my favored translation for many years, for a number of reasons. Two reasons stand out. First, is that Lin managed to render into form that is more poetic than most. I think that is important in a translation. It allows the translator to go beyond just blindly translating the words. Poetic form has the capacity to express more than just words. Second, following each chapter of TTC, Lin provides excerpts from Chuangtse that relate to the meaning of the chapter. So, in reading The Wisdom of Laotse, you get not only a well considered poetic rendering of Laotse but a supporting sampling of one of his earliest exponents.

 

Still, I have come to understand the great benefit of the work of other translators from different points of view. I can't recall exactly where I found it but I downloaded a pdf by B. Boisen from 1996 where he simply lays out in parallel eight different translations of TTC; Wu, Lau, Chan, Henricks, Waley, Lin, Cleary and Feng/English.  I refer to it often when questions come up regarding the meaning of particular chapters.

 

Recently, I have been taken by the work of Dan G Reid. I am not sure how well regarded his work is considered. I am currently reading The Thread of Dao and in it he often cites his own translation of the Tao Te Ching. I have found them to be different and insightful. So, I have ordered a copy of his Ho-Shang Kung Commentary on Lao Tsu's Tao Te Ching. Looking forward to reading it.

Edited by OldDog
Typos
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On 4/24/2018 at 10:29 AM, OldDog said:

My introduction to the Tao Te Ching  came by way of The Wisdom of Laotse by Lin Yutang. It has remained my favored translation for many years, for a number of reasons. Two reasons stand out. First, is that Lin managed to render into form that is more poetic than most. I think that is important in a translation. It allows the translator to go beyond just blindly translating the words. Poetic form has the capacity to express more than just words. Second, following each chapter of TTC, Lin provides excerpts from Chuangtse that relate to the meaning of the chapter. So, in reading The Wisdom of Laotse, you get not only a well considered poetic rendering of Laotse but a supporting sampling of one of his earliest exponents.

 

Still, I have come to understand the great benefit of the work of other translators from different points of view. I can't recall exactly where I found it but I downloaded a pdf by B. Boisen from 1996 where he simply lays out in parallel eight different translations of TTC; Wu, Lau, Chan, Henricks, Waley, Lin, Cleary and Feng/English.  I refer to it often when questions come up regarding the meaning of particular chapters.

 

Recently, I have been taken by the work of Dan G Reid. I am not sure how well regarded his work is considered. I am currently reading The Thread of Dao and in it he often cites his own translation of the Tao Te Ching. I have found them to be different and insightful. So, I have ordered a copy of his Ho-Shang Kung Commentary on Lao Tsu's Tao Te Ching. Looking forward to reading it.

 

Lin Yutang was a pioneer that seems less known among westerners.  he has a translation tool that is unsurpassed:

 

http://humanum.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/Lexis/Lindict/

 

His book is full of stories that you will not find anywhere else.  He truly takes you back in time.

 

As to Dan Reid, in partial disclosure, he is a bum here...  and I've had many hours of debating the DDJ with him.  His try to share the Heshang Gong (HSG) commentary is fruitful.   Previously I have only found one other that seems out of print now.   

 

I would say this on HSG:  He was more focused on cultivation than most commentaries and had great insights.  Curiously, it is around the same time as the Celestial Master's commentary called the Xiang'er , which is considered the 'start' of religious Daoism.

 

See here for more info:

https://books.google.com/books?id=JduzKlG7D7wC&pg=PA64&lpg=PA64&dq=heshang+gong+and+celestial+masters&source=bl&ots=q3JV8TPa2u&sig=IKMwLA5yHJ3IAsYhmKygbOdxURs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiNocbTyuHaAhUkiOAKHe9FBZIQ6AEIbjAI#v=onepage&q=heshang gong and celestial masters&f=false

 

 

 

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On 1/19/2017 at 8:49 PM, Marblehead said:

Don't blind others with your brightness.  Turn down your light so that others can see clearly.

 

Hi Dada-da,

 

Actions speak louder than words...?

 

bcd9ca3969381b0d88a75c0a74918420.jpg

 

On a clear day...

 

 

f3e88e5e1245d9202f393cde8918f592.jpg

 

- LimA

Edited by Limahong
Enhance ...
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