Library Journal. The Site: Location and Date of the Tomb 3. The Texts Found in the Tomb 4. Laozi A, B, and C 5. Punctuation and the Issue of Chapter Divisions 6. Interesting Cases: Chapters 19, 30, and 63 7. The Philosophy of the "Bamboo Slip Laozi" 8. Attributed to "Jimmy R. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. With the best leaders when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say, "We have done this ourselves. The origin of the added first section is unclear. An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox This is actually a Mexican proverb .
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Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching
This page was last edited on 5 May , at An brief amalgam of phrases attributed to Lao-tse, partly misattributed and taken from various sources see Notes , appears in the periodical Mercury , Vol. I, No. Tao is ultimate thought, and dwells in Silence; hence Being cannot be defined. It is what It is. These were originally delivered as lectures to the New York Theosophical Society. The Preface makes the link to theosophists, and contains an insightful observation about the inherent divergence between Taoist and Confucian thought:.
XIV, No. Very interesting it is to see here the idea of the forthgoing and the returning of the One Life, so familiar to us in the Hindu Literature. Familiar seems the verse:. That a Universe might become, the Unmanifest must give forth the One from whom duality and trinity proceed:. Since all is produced from It, It exists in all:. Always without desire we must be found, If its deep mystery we would sound; But if desire always within us be, Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.
Reincarnation does not seem to be so distinctly taught as might have been expected, although passages are found which imply that the main idea was taken for granted and that the entity was considered as ranging through animal as well as human births. The unity of moral teaching is not less striking, than the unity of the conceptions of the universe and of the experiences of those who rose out of the prison of the body into the freedom of the higher spheres.
It is clear that this body of primeval teaching was in the hands of definite custodians, who had schools in which they taught, disciples who studied their doctrines. The identity of these schools and of their discipline stands out plainly when we study the moral teaching, the demands made on the pupils, and the mental and spiritual states to which they were raised. In the Tao-teh-King In The Theosophic Messenger , Vol. Following is an excerpt:. Not only does the term Tao word, reason correspond quite closely to the Greek term Logos , but Lao-tze preaches the ethics of requiting hatred with goodness.
Translated from the Chinese by Dr. Paul Carus. We are glad to see that Dr. Paul Carus has republished his translation of this famous tractate apart from the text and transliteration, critical notes, etc. Carus boldly cuts the knot of the Tao difficulty by translating it Reason and identifying it with the idea of the Logos. He insists on the necessity of becoming like unto a little child, of returning to primitive simplicity and purity, of non-assertion and non-resistance, and promises that the deficient may be made entire, the crooked will be straightened, the empty will be filled, the worn will be renewed, those who have too little will receive, while those who have too much will be bewildered.
There is but one fault we have to find with Dr. Carus' translation — not, however, that we are personally in any position to check it with the original — the attempts at versification of the original verse scattered through the prose text are doggerel, and beneath the dignity of their prose environment. IV, No.
The first section discusses Chinese religion in antiquity. It contains many references to the Upanishads, as well as several citations of Christian works, for example:. The third section concludes with a statement that anticipates an aspect of later 20th and 21st century scholarship:.
This is a version of the entire 81 verses with the author's commentaries included after each verse. By following the precepts of The Book of Tao the aspirant can make himself fit for the study of practical Occultism In his compilation of lectures, Theosophy and Modern Thought , there is a brief section on Taoism from lecture IV.
XXII No. Contrasts and opposites will ever exist until all the elements of the universe, at the end of a great evolutionary period, are absorbed in Tao. For Lao Tze, whether he discusses Tao as a "moral principle," or the implications of reflection upon Tao in the field of law and government, is simply meditating upon the Oneness of all life.
The first article provides a theosophical viewpoint about "scriptural study:". It goes on to discuss Lao Tzu's belief that "the best government was the government which governs the least" and uses the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching to explain "why he was not simply a forerunner of western 'anarchism. Reynolds, Lin Yutang, R. The Tao The Tao - a word with many shades of meaning but generally referred to as The Way or The Path - is the universal principle of existence, shown as natural, simple, and spontaneous.
Throughout the centuries the Tao has remained a living factor in philosophy not only in China but throughout the world. These two versions of the ancient classic are both poetic, and both contain helpful introductions. The Mears translation carries additional explanatory notes throughout the text, and these are of great assistance to the reader. Both books are reprints of earlier editions, the Mackintosh version being now for the first time published by Quest in one of the miniature editions which make such beautiful and acceptable gifts.
All lovers of the Tao Teh Ching will want these two little books on their permanent bookshelf. The wisdom of the great sage Lao-tzu — being wisdom — is timeless, and therefore is as pertinent today as it has always been. The version of which this Quest Book is a translation was first published in The translator spent 20 years in China as a missionary, and during that time came to regard Lao-tzu's work as a spiritual and inspirational guide. In addition to being a scholar in the Chinese language, Medhurst was a student of comparative religions and metaphysics, and his own commentaries and notes, added to his translations, are extremely valuable to the student.
In this Quest edition, some editorial revisions have been made in the commentary and notes, principally to update the printing style and omit some passages which are no longer relevant. No changes at all have been made in the actual translations. Dutton, Inc. It should come as no surprise to lovers of Winnie-the-Pooh that Pooh is a Taoist, but some readers may be amazed to find that even God may be a Taoist.
At least according to Raymond Smullyan, internationally known mathematical logician, there is a distinct possibility that God may be just that! Let's consider Pooh first: Pooh would say he should always be considered first since his "Way" is amazingly consistent with the philosophy of Chuang-tse. Pooh, after all, is the most effortless bear anyone has ever met. And he does have certain principles; for example. Inner Nature. What, you may say, has that song to do with the Tao?
What indeed is the Tao? That is precisely what these two charming and witty books are all about, and no two more delightful books about a serious subject could possibly exist. Whether you think Eastern wisdom and we mean in this case Chinese philosophy has any importance for the pragmatic West matters little; since humor and insight are universal, these books make for such reading pleasure that, like the Tao, the experience of encountering Smyllyan's and Hoff's whimsical descriptions cannot really be defined.
Perhaps that is why Smullyan suggests that "The Tao is a Mysterious Female" title of one of his chapters. That was written some thousands of years ago, by a Taoist sage, but it really sounds like Pooh! The paradox, the spiritual fact of Tao, is that by non-interfering everything is accomplished.
Not only have there been numerous articles in theosophical journals over the past years, but Lao Tzu has been translated and published many times by the Theosophical Publishing Houses. Others published over the years include translations by C. Part of the reason there have been so many editions of the Tao-Teh King is that the philosophy presented in this masterpiece of literature includes many significant, timeless and profound insights.
To this day, the Tao-Teh King remains one of the most translated and interpreted of all books. In any study of the Tao-Teh King , it becomes startlingly obvious that scholars have found no consensus on its meaning. To understand the Tao requires the reader to grasp it intuitively and freshly. The unwrought simplicity of Lao Tzu is the embodiment of wisdom, and in that delicate embrace of the subtle and paradoxical there is quiet and understanding beyond words—aptly contained in the austere but precise symbol of Tao. To approach the study of the Tao-Teh King you have to be somewhat of a Taoist to begin with.
In a preamble to the study of the Koran, a similar requirement is asked of the reader: "Inwardly we have to be empty, and if we want to have insight and greater opening, then the approach is to be completely empty of notions, expectations and reactions. This is how we ought to approach the study of the Tao-Teh King or any book of wisdom or virtue.
Such a study is a theosophical exploration so long as there is that vital quality of discernment, of intelligence in that exploration.
A theosophist seeks what the Taoist seeks — an uncomplicated nature capable of wisdom and insight, simple in the sense of selfless. The Tao is not Tao unless it can be laughed at. You can learn a lot through silence and meditation, which is one of the messages of the Tao Te Ching. Westerners have appreciated the fundamental writings of philosophical Taoism, the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu traditionally dated sixth century B. These books convey the essential Taoist themes of deep naturalism, inwardness, and gaining through giving. Further, they sparkle with humor and humanity as they direct one's gaze to the folly of solemnity and the wisdom of folly.
The most momentous religious event of the millennium beginning around the fifth century B. Was the life and work of the great religious founders. Only a half-dozen or so persons have filled this awesome vocation, becoming the pivotal figure of religions embracing hundreds of millions of persons, washing over vast geographical areas, and lasting fifteen to twenty-five centuries. Others, especially the Hebrew lawgivers and prophets, and the Vedic sages of India, have had a comparable role within their traditions. Although their stories are encrusted with myth and legend, with the possible exception of Lao-tze they were undoubtedly real persons, and all incarnate in the way in which the person — though he may point beyond himself — has become the central focus of a new religious style.
The Dao de jing makes ready use of feminine symbolism to describe the Dao. The Dao is the creative source, which is potential itself and out of which flows existence — an existence sustained by the Dao "stream," just as a mother gives birth out of her womb to a child, who is nourished at her breast.
Because the feminine symbolism is so pervasive in Daoism, some scholars, such as Ellen Marie Chen, have concluded that Daoism has ties to an ancient Mother Goddess and the Dao itself is the Great Mother. There is much of interest in this little book, the Tao Te Ching , much of which is of immediate relevance to our own dealings with other people.
Certainly a compassionate, humble, nonjudgmental, open-minded attitude is important for anyone to adopt towards others. Certainly, attempting to still the mind with daily meditation is highly desirable. We see in it an echo of many familiar Theosophical ideas. Others share our enthusiasm, however, since it has been translated into English more often than any other book except the Bhagavad Gita. But what, exactly, is the nature of this little book?
Lao-Tzu - Ancient History Encyclopedia
And why does it fascinate people? First of all, it is a short "classic" ching. It is traditionally divided into eighty-one chapters, which are further organized into two sections, one dealing with tao literally "way" and one dealing with te usually translated "virtue," but conveying the idea of "moral force". There are several different versions of the text, but each contains about five thousand Chinese characters. That makes it a manageable task for a reader. Second , it is often cryptic. Many passages are susceptible of quite different translations.
Not only does this offer a challenge to any translator or reader, it also leads to a feeling, on the part of many, that they know what it really means, whereas others have missed the point. In fact, Lao Tzu even encourages this attitude, when he says:. To have an "ancestor" and a "lord" was to be part of the social order, that is to say, not to be a wild man. Here it is a metaphorical way of claiming that the Tao Te Ching has a coherent teaching. The last line is a metaphor to say that the teaching is, however, hidden under an apparently rough exterior guise.
These lines make an important point for those who cannot read Chinese: one should always be cautious about citing any translation uncritically. And that applies to those in this essay, which are all my own. Third , where one finds general agreement among translators on the meaning of certain passages, the philosophic viewpoint that the Tao Te Ching offers is so strikingly different from our normal way of thinking that it causes us to sit back and reassess our own viewpoint--especially in the realms of metaphysics and interpersonal behavior.