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Tao te Ching/Dao de Jing Influenced by Buddhism?

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I suppose that you could say that it's come to my attention that MOST of the versions (and I maybe have at least 45 different translations now--and maybe quite a few more!) of the Tao te Ching/Dao de Jing, have a distinct Buddhist slant to them.

 

I guess that I'm wondering if that's a good thing or not. Nothing against Buddhist's mind you, I've only known a couple of them, and they were very nice people, as people go.

 

Well, I'd like to start a conversation about this.......it may have been covered in the past, but maybe we could cover it again, if that's so!

 

I know SOME parts of Daoism and Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism are very similar, but I'm wondering if there are any translations of the TTC/DDJ that are free of Buddhist ideas, and Buddhist spirituality?

 

I'd sure like to discuss this with lovers of the TTC/DDJ.

 

So.........till then,  Keep on Daoing!  Differently Abled Daoist

Edited by DifferentlyAbledDaoist

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Buddhist influence on Chinese thought comes later - maybe about 200 AD onward.  Unless you believe various strange theories.  Ch'an Buddhsim (Zen) is very Daoist influenced.

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It is true that many translations of the TTC were done by folks who had already studied Buddhism and that influenced how they translated the TTC.

 

From my casual observations, if the translation was done based on the Ma-wang-tui texts you will see fewer Buddhist ideas and concepts.

 

And true what Apech wrote, Buddhism wasn't in China even when Chuang Tzu was alive.

 

If it can be said that there is fault then fault must lie with the translators, not with Chinese philosophy.

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Thanks M.H. and Apech,

 

‚Äč ¬† ¬†I used to read Red Pine's 'Lao Tzu's¬†Taoteching' for many moons, I still like it, but I think even it has a pretty Buddhist lean to it.

 

As does Derek Lin's 'Tao Te Ching'. And so does Lok Sang Ho's 'Human Spirituality and Happiness' (which contains his 'DaodeJing of Laozi').

 

'Revealing the Tao Te Ching (Translation and Commentary)' by Hu Xuezhi. More Buddhism.

 

Ditto for another favorite of mine 'Tao Te Ching--A New Version for All Seekers', By Guy Leekley.

 

‚ÄčI also really like Sam Hamill's 'Tao Te Ching--A New Translation', but the Buddhist leanings here are pretty strong too.

 

 

I like David Hinton's 'Tao Te Ching' and it seems to be pretty free of Buddhist leanings.

 

‚ÄčI also like Michael¬†Lafargue's 'The Tao of the Tao Te Ching--A Translation and Commentary'.

 

I also like 'A Translation Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching and Wang Pi's Commentary' By Paul J. Lin, if I remember correctly.  

 

These seem pretty free of Buddhism's in the translations (in my opinion).

 

I find 'The Daodejing of Laozi--Translation and Commentary' by Philip J. Ivanhoe to be pretty good too.

 

My three favorites are:

 

1. 'The Way of Lao Tzu [Tao-te-ching] translated with introductory essays, comments, and notes' by Wing-Tsit Chan

 

But there is some Buddhist slant in Chan's TTC too, I'm afraid.

 

2.'Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu' Translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo.

 

3. And the old stand by, 'Lao Tsu's Tao Te Ching' Translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.

 

And heck, I even like the 'Tao Te' Ching--The Classic Translation by R.B. Blakney', even though it's translated by a missionary to the Chinese (the only question here is, who's doing "mission work" to who!  lol).

 

Some of Blakney's translation I actually LIKE!

 

OK, there's my list, now let the blood letting begin!  (laughs)

 

Keep On Daoing,  Differently Abled Daoist

Edited by DifferentlyAbledDaoist

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The only comment I'll make right now is regarding Red Pine.  I think if you look closer you will find his translation to be more Taoist Alchemic/Shamanic/Mystic than Buddhist.

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The treatment of the 5th and 6th lines of Chapter 1 are, to me, a pretty good indicator of how the rest of the rendition will go.

 

Feng/English:

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.

Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations

 

Balanced importance is given to desire & desireless, i.e., BOTH (-:

 

Many renditions elevate desireless. To me, those are the ones influenced (possibly unintentionally) by ideas other than those of Laozi.

 

warmest regards

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With the I Ching, I can tell a lot about a translation based on line 6 of hexagram 15, humility.

 

Trumpeting humility, it is profitable to use the army to conquer one's land.

Singing humility. Gain by moving armies. Conquer city and state.

Modesty that comes to expression. It is favorable to set armies marching to chastise one's own city and one's country.

The Grey One calling. Humbling signals to others. Advantageous to move the legions and chastise the capital city.

 

Some interpret this to mean setting forth to accomplish external goals, even using force if desired, taking it as a sign that the way is open to one's goals. Others emphasize that the time is ripe to fully complete one's internal work, and in doing so one will naturally radiate far reaching change. I resonate with the later.

 

With the dao de jing and desire / desireless.... with all the talk of not putting one's self ahead of anything else, of yielding to be whole, of turning back, of being like water that flows unminding to the lowest place.... I'm curious why an interpretation that emphasizes lack of desire would be considered a buddhist influence. Dao allows all things, and desire is not judged, and yet the sage seeks to return to dao by following the example it sets in not acting based on desire. Superior virtue has no doing.

 

All of this is in accord with the trigrams and the principle of returning the 10,000 things back to dao. It is simple, yet no one does it.

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With the dao de jing and desire / desireless.... with all the talk of not putting one's self ahead of anything else, of yielding to be whole, of turning back, of being like water that flows unminding to the lowest place.... I'm curious why an interpretation that emphasizes lack of desire would be considered a buddhist influence. Dao allows all things, and desire is not judged, and yet the sage seeks to return to dao by following the example it sets in not acting based on desire. Superior virtue has no doing.

 

Daeluin, hello

 

If I may clarify - the 'influence' referred to in my post was not meant to point at Buddhism only, rather all structured paths that hold a different focus. Some of the Christian-based renditions take The Laozi where no man has gone before. :lol: In similar manner, Taoism has probably done more injustice to LiEhr's ideas - than all other groups put together... and the examples at the end of your post kinda highlight that.

 

Then again, my ideas could easily be wrong, heh. I'm just a simple Laoist woman who lives in the mountains, and even Tao is just an idea. (-:

 

warmest regards

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To be sure. LiEhr's words have much clarity in them, and I imagine many expounded upon this clarity with yet more words.

 

To me those words are like a clear road full of road signs... and yet the more I allow myself to follow this road, spelling out every nuance of reality with mental notes, the more I lean to one side of this equation:

 

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations

 

Thinking I know something, the mystery has vanished, thinking my way charted, my desire and all its particulars about how I might fulfill destiny has left me weighed down to much.

 

I can see how the balance between desire and desirelessness has created the refinements necessary for life on earth. I can see how the desires of those who did not know desirelessness in equal measure abused the words by seeking immortality in ways that caused harm to the balance which sustains life. I can see how those with desirelessness without desire did not work hard enough to fully contribute to this dance of life, instead slipping away to hidden realms for a time. What happens if we just continue dancing in the balance? Perhaps that is my mystery...

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Thank Everyone SOOOOO MUCHHHHHH, this thread is so lovely, like fine gossamer silk thread, blown by the bellows that IS Dao!  May it keep expanding, and stay so beautiful, and lovely!

 

Peace, D.A.D.

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Here is a poem that I submitted to a Daoist publication. I don't think that it'll make the 'final cut' but I like it and maybe it fits in here, maybe NOT.

 

So, please indulge me:

 

Laozi spoke about the Dao being like water, not even very hard things can resist the gentle push of water.  

Where the Dao flows we also flow. 

We too are told to be like water, 

 

to flow forward, to new futures, 

 

to unexpected places, to hard places, 

 

and we find as we become Dao, 

 

that nothing blocks us from becoming.   

 

Not even ourselves, our fears, sometimes our tears, 

 

As we flow on to make new places, 

 

to become someone new, 

 

to become the sage.

 

If we discover that our center is set in Dao, we find that there is nothing that we cannot do.

 

And nowhere that we cannot go. 

All the while becoming more of the nothingness of Dao, 

 

we become who we are really are.

Edited by DifferentlyAbledDaoist
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But remember, even as water we are going to go over waterfalls and down many rapids.  That too is reality.

 

And when water reaches a level area it rests.

 

The harmony between flow and rest.  (I still love my Valley of the Spirits.)

Edited by Marblehead
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Here is a poem that I submitted to a Daoist publication. I don't think that it'll make the 'final cut' but I like it and maybe it fits in here, maybe NOT.

 

So, please indulge me:

Laozi spoke about the Dao being like water, not even very hard things can resist the gentle push of water.

Where the Dao flows we also flow.

We too are told to be like water,

to flow forward, to new futures,

to unexpected places, to hard places,

and we find as we become Dao,

that nothing blocks us from becoming.

Not even ourselves, our fears, sometimes our tears,

As we flow on to make new places,

to become someone new,

to become the sage.

If we discover that our center is set in Dao, we find that there is nothing that we cannot do.

And nowhere that we cannot go.

All the while becoming more of the nothingness of Dao,

we become who we are really are.

Very nice D.A.D., very nice indeed (-;

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But remember, even as water we are going to go over waterfalls and down many rapids. That too is reality.

 

And when water reaches a level area it rests.

 

The harmony between flow and rest. (I still love my Valley of the Spirits.)

Water is always in motion; sometimes just appears stiller than others... but always returning to the source it never left. The essence of that return is delightfully captured in the poem, eh?

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Water is always in motion; sometimes just appears stiller than others... but always returning to the source it never left. The essence of that return is delightfully captured in the poem, eh?

Yes, DAD did very well with the poem.  Hellova concept you have there.  I don't feel like speaking to it right now.  Hehehe.

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Water is always in motion; sometimes just appears stiller than others... but always returning to the source it never left. The essence of that return is delightfully captured in the poem, eh?

I was composing a post in my head when you posted this reply -- I mentally deleted it.

 

:)

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That's fine; go rest. (-:

I rested.  Now I'm bright eyed and bushy tailed.  (And still cleaning up my MSWord copy of Mair's "Wandering On The Way".  Yeah, that Chuang Tzu, not Lao Tzu.  Sorry.

Edited by Marblehead

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I was composing a post in my head when you posted this reply -- I mentally deleted it.

 

:)

Your head or the composition?

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I rested. Now I'm fright eyed and bushy tailed. (And still cleaning up my MSWord copy of Mair's "Wandering On The Way". Yeah, that Chuang Tzu, not Lao Tzu. Sorry.

Why sorry? Are you going to share it with us? That would be a fun topic, imo.
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But remember, even as water we are going to go over waterfalls and down many rapids.  That too is reality.

 

And when water reaches a level area it rests.

 

The harmony between flow and rest.  (I still love my Valley of the Spirits.)

 

 

Dear M.H.  

 

 If you'll look at my profile, I come from a place called "The River Valley". I always thought "Wow, what a blessing of Dao to be from 'The River Valley', and how often does Laozi use those terms in the TTC/DDJ?"

 

I'll tell you where that place is if you wanna PM me. I still keep my telephone book from there so I have a tangible reminder! It says right on front: 'The River Valley'.

 

Your Bro in Dao,  D.A.D.

 

P.S. And in my heart, I MISS that place, a lot!

Edited by DifferentlyAbledDaoist

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Why sorry? Are you going to share it with us? That would be a fun topic, imo.

Just kidding on the "sorry" thing.  Yes, I am going to share.  We have the series going, of course.  I will be copy/pasting from my MSWord work.  And I have stated elsewhere that I would share the file with anyone who wants it.  (Of course, I am editing it the way I prefer documents such as this with many notes.

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