Zephyr

Is there a superior translation of the Tao Te Ching?

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Hey,   So i've been thinking about the Tao Te Ching lately and I was wondering is there a correct way to read and study it? I know that in the end we are supposed to draw our own conclusions about what Tao means to us. Still I couldn't help but notice there are many different interpretations and translations out there, are any of them more superior or closer to the original writings? I know in Christianity for example there are many versions of the Bible and everyone has a opinion on which is the best. While some stick the KJV other use the simplified NIV, some like study Bibles that guide them through the scriptures and provide better explanations and some people prefer to try and get as close to the original Hebrew writings as possible. All of the different versions share the same basic idea and story, mostly with just slight alterations to the way its presented. Instead of thou shalt saying you should and so on. Yet there is this huge divide even among people within the same church on which version is best. does the same hold true for the Tao Te Ching or am I just overthinking things? Also any links to different versions, interpretations, and translations of the Tao Te Ching are gratefully appreciated. Thanks all! -Zephyr 

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Generally speaking, most members here have a favorite translation but rarely is it argued which one is best or most correct.

 

Many translations can be found here:  https://terebess.hu/english/lexikon/l.html

 

And just spoken to in another thread there is:  

 

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see the pinned topic:

 

also read our discussions which share translations.    

 

You need to find what sings to you to move you along your path... and another translation will sprout later, etc.

 

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Zephyr said:

Hey,   So i've been thinking about the Tao Te Ching lately and I was wondering is there a correct way to read and study it?

 

While you are at it, make sure to grab a copy (or three) of the I Ching and learn how to use that. The oracle is absolutely amazing once you start to really use/understand it!

 

[Edit] I forgot to mention, years ago I came across a DDJ translation called "Dynamic Tao and Its Manifestations" by Wayne L. Wang. It's not the most poetic translation but I found it to be very insightful - definitely worth taking a look if you can find it.

Edited by Lost in Translation
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55 minutes ago, Lost in Translation said:

 

While you are at it, make sure to grab a copy (or three) of the I Ching and learn how to use that. The oracle is absolutely amazing once you start to really use/understand it!

 

[Edit] I forgot to mention, years ago I came across a DDJ translation called "Dynamic Tao and Its Manifestations" by Wayne L. Wang. It's not the most poetic translation but I found it to be very insightful - definitely worth taking a look if you can find it.

 

Since you mentioned the I Ching, a lot of comparative translations are here. http://www.jamesdekorne.com/GBCh/GBCh.htm

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Posted (edited)

On ‎8‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 4:28 PM, Marblehead said:

Generally speaking, most members here have a favorite translation but rarely is it argued which one is best or most correct.

 

Many translations can be found here:  https://terebess.hu/english/lexikon/l.html

 

And just spoken to in another thread there is:  

 

Hey, sorry for all the quotes but I wanted to address and thank everyone that responded.  Marblehead I appreciate the link. It looks super helpful! Having a multitude of translations in one place is gonna make reading and switching in between all the different versions much smoother. 

On ‎8‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 11:18 PM, dawei said:

see the pinned topic:

 

also read our discussions which share translations.    

 

You need to find what sings to you to move you along your path... and another translation will sprout later, etc.

 

Dawei, I checked out the post and I'm excited to see what people think about the different interpretations. Hopefully ill even be able to find some good versions to pick up online. 

 

On ‎8‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 11:34 PM, Lost in Translation said:

 

While you are at it, make sure to grab a copy (or three) of the I Ching and learn how to use that. The oracle is absolutely amazing once you start to really use/understand it!

 

[Edit] I forgot to mention, years ago I came across a DDJ translation called "Dynamic Tao and Its Manifestations" by Wayne L. Wang. It's not the most poetic translation but I found it to be very insightful - definitely worth taking a look if you can find it.

 

On ‎8‎/‎30‎/‎2017 at 0:30 AM, Earl Grey said:

 

Since you mentioned the I Ching, a lot of comparative translations are here. http://www.jamesdekorne.com/GBCh/GBCh.htm

Lost in Translations and Earl Grey, thank you for your suggestions. In all honesty I am not familiar with the I Ching. However I'm excited to find out what it is now!  

 

Again thank you all so very much! looks like I have a lot of reading to do. Till next time -Zephyr 

Edited by Zephyr
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I always go for the Useless

translations of the TTC.

I find them the most Daoish.

 

 

The last one I bought said

'It is, What it Is.'

That was the whole thing.

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My favorite translation is 

Revealing the Tao Te Ching by Hu Xuezhi

 

 

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Traduttore, traditore: Translator, traitor. ... A lacuna, from the Latin meaning a hole or ditch, refers to the absence of a word or idiomatic phrase in translation from one language to another.

You need at least three English translations to have a better understanding of the original text, IMO

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TTC by Gia Fu Feng and Jane English, of course.  Original version with art photos.

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IMHO, it is important to grasp both language and culture while reading the DDJ and then find out how best to interpret at your own risk. This site and many others have good people who have a good understanding of the text in itself. I am learning to read 3 different translations, check the contributions here and ask those who cultivate the Dao either Chinese or Westerner.

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On ‎29‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 8:48 PM, Zephyr said:

Hey,   So i've been thinking about the Tao Te Ching lately and I was wondering is there a correct way to read and study it? I know that in the end we are supposed to draw our own conclusions about what Tao means to us. Still I couldn't help but notice there are many different interpretations and translations out there, are any of them more superior or closer to the original writings? I know in Christianity for example there are many versions of the Bible and everyone has a opinion on which is the best. While some stick the KJV other use the simplified NIV, some like study Bibles that guide them through the scriptures and provide better explanations and some people prefer to try and get as close to the original Hebrew writings as possible. All of the different versions share the same basic idea and story, mostly with just slight alterations to the way its presented. Instead of thou shalt saying you should and so on. Yet there is this huge divide even among people within the same church on which version is best. does the same hold true for the Tao Te Ching or am I just overthinking things? Also any links to different versions, interpretations, and translations of the Tao Te Ching are gratefully appreciated. Thanks all! -Zephyr 

 

Yes is the answer and without abash it is mine! Find the link through my personal practice section and download it its free.

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22 minutes ago, flowing hands said:

 

Yes is the answer and without abash it is mine! Find the link through my personal practice section and download it its free.

Well, I know there are a number of members here who really like your transmission of the Tao Te Ching.

 

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I too would endorse Fhs presentation , from the parts I have seen, it is written smoothly, makes sense, and probably more closely embodies the traditional understanding ,such as it was intended. The only better one hasnt been put in print yet. ;)

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6 hours ago, SHINTO said:

https://terebess.hu/english/tao/addiss.html

Academic speaking ,the most accurate translation from Chinese

A translation contaminated by 2000 years of Confucian and Buddhist influence has high potential for being  Confucian  or Buddhist  in  character. 

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2 hours ago, flowing hands said:

 

Ah but this is a 'translation', mine is from the horses mouth.

I thought he rode an ox.

 

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I think the ox disappears eventually. 

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3 hours ago, Stosh said:

A translation contaminated by 2000 years of Confucian and Buddhist influence has high potential for being  Confucian  or Buddhist  in  character. 

But isn't that the essence of the Chinese culture: inclusiveness? A practical way to believe in whatever you want. Oh well, it didn't happen after 1949 but it came back sometime after 2000

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18 minutes ago, Mig said:

But isn't that the essence of the Chinese culture: inclusiveness? A practical way to believe in whatever you want. Oh well, it didn't happen after 1949 but it came back sometime after 2000

I figure youre right, but for someone looking for the root sentiments , one needs the fresh eyes. Like that telephone game , messages can be confounded by the retelling.  Im not saying that an evolved view is bad its just,.. not the same. 

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28 minutes ago, Mig said:

But isn't that the essence of the Chinese culture: inclusiveness? A practical way to believe in whatever you want. 

 

I think that might of been in the highest thinkers but not the average person.  I'm glad we got that idea put into books.

 

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certainly one has the inherent ability to formulate the best life or world model as they see it. But if you do want input then you want independent  ideas otherwise I am just feeding back the things that you are unsatisfied with. 

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16 minutes ago, Stosh said:

certainly one has the inherent ability to formulate the best life or world model as they see it. But if you do want input then you want independent  ideas otherwise I am just feeding back the things that you are unsatisfied with. 

 

I see some great ideas out of this that would touch on education alone.... but then we'd be getting way off topic :)

 

But one could say, such high thinkers and books were meant to 'teach' the average person or as least, offer an inclusive voice that they are not seeing or hearing.

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2 hours ago, Marblehead said:

I thought he rode an ox.

 

Ba! (spit's coffee).

 

lol. 

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