The Tao Te Ching (the core Taoist scripture) invites you to contemplate your innermost sense of reality. It doesn’t tell you what to do or think, but rather stimulates you to think and reflect.
In translating the Tao Te Ching myself, the translation is, in truth, also a commentary. By that I mean the interpretation of both words and phrases required in translating anything (but especially this) is by itself a primary form of commentary. Not content to leave it there, I have included commentary that relates each chapter to various aspects of life. Used together, all this should help understanding. (See also, The Tao Te Ching: Literal Chinese vs. Translations.)
A print-on-demand copy of this site’s Word for Word Translation (with Commentary) is available from Lulu.com for $9.99. It can be especially useful when used in conjunction with your favorite translation.The word for word approach offers a way to cross check your translation with either (1) a translation more literal, or (2) actually word for word to the original Chinese. Click Tao Te Ching, Word for Word for more information about this book.
I’ve commented on the Tao Te Ching using D.C. Lau’s translation for a dozen plus years now. I’m thinking I might stop while I’m ahead, but who knows? Anyway, I do plan to continue linking general blog post observations with any chapter that fits the bill.
The Purpose of the Commentaries
The commentaries here are not intended to explain what the Tao Te Ching ‘truly’ says. Rather, the commentary portrays the Tao Te Ching as seen though ‘my’ and ‘your’ mind. This offers us a conversation, of sorts—an interaction between ‘my’ understanding or puzzlement and ‘your’ understanding or puzzlement. We find this back and forth interpretive sharing very helpful in getting to know more of the whole elephant.
The Tao Te Ching opens the mind to the underlying mystery and simplicity that we lose sight of in daily life. If you are new to Taoism, start with the question, what is Taoist thought? Then, continue on to Understanding the Tao Te Ching.
This is taken from James Legge’s translation The Writings of Chuang Tzu, found in volumes thirty nine and forty of the Sacred Books of the East series, published by Oxford University Press in 1891. It was part of a much larger work published by Legge under the title The Chinese Classics, which rendered into English seven of the nine classics of Chinese literature. Legge also translate the other Taoist classic, the Tao Te Ching. (Note: I This content is from Stephen Mcintyre site: http://nothingistic.org/library/chuangtzu/index.html. Go there to see the other books in the series.)