The Tao-Te-Ching tr by Tolbert McCarroll comm & layout by Thomas Knierim.pdf

(159 KB) Pobierz
Tao Te Ching
About The Tao Te Ching
The Tao Te Ching was written in China roughly 2,500 years ago at about the same time
when Buddha expounded the Dharma in India and Pythagoras taught in Greece. The Tao
Te Ching is probably the most influential Chinese book of all times. Its 81 chapters have
been translated into English more times than any other Chinese document.
The Tao Te Ching provides the basis for the philosophical school of Taoism, which is an
important pillar of Chinese thought. Taoism teaches that there is one undivided truth at
the root of all things. It literally means:
= tao (the way)
= te (strength/virtue)
= ching (scripture)
The verses of the Tao Te Ching are written in ancient Chinese, which is very different from
English. Abstraction and logic are not distinguishing marks of the ancient Chinese
language, hence, it is less rigid than English and there are very few formal or grammatical
structures. The classical Chinese word does not stand for a single concrete idea, but it
evokes associations of different ideas and things. Quite a few Chinese words can be used
as nouns, adjectives and verbs at the same time. Thus sentences composed of various
signs have a sort of suggestive power, evoking emotions, ideas and pictures.
It is almost impossible to render an ancient Chinese text properly in English without
losing some part. Different translations of the Tao Te Ching may appear as completely
different texts. In order to understand the original text fully it is helpful to read various
translations that consummate each other. The alternative is, of course, to learn Chinese.
This document uses the translation of Tolbert McCarroll.
Tao Te Ching,
Page 2
About Lao Tzu
Not much is known about Lao Tzu, at least nothing that is certain. Some even doubt
whether he is the author of the Tao Te Ching. However, his name became legendary with
this writing, which also happens to be his only work.
Lao Tzu (his name is sometimes written Lao Tse or Lao Zi, and he is also known as Li Er
and Lao Dan) was supposedly born in Honan on the 24th of March in the year 604 BC.
His name means “old-young” and he has been called the “Old Master”.
Lao Tzu was very old, when he rode on a water buffalo to retire in the mountains to a
province in the western frontiers. There he was approached by a border official named
Guan Yin Zi, who urged the master to write down his teachings so that they might be
passed on. Lao Tzu then retreated into the solitude of the mountain pass, wrote the Tao Te
Ching, whereupon he went westward and was never seen again.
Tao Te Ching,
Page 3
Yin And Yang
In Chinese philosophy, the rhythm of life, which pulsates through the universe, is the
action of complementary principles Yin and Yang. The T’ai-chi T’u diagram (above)
illustrates this principle. The symmetrical disposition of the dark Yin and the light Yang
suggests cyclical changes.
Yin is the quiet, female, intuitive, receiving force that is associated with earth. The earth is
the source of life; it provides us with what we need to survive. Yang is the strong, male,
creative, giving force that is associated with heaven. The heaven above us is always in
motion and brings about change.
When Yin reaches its climax, it recedes in favour of Yang, then after Yang reaches its
climax it recedes in favour of Yin. This is the eternal cycle. The dots inside the white and
black halves indicate that within each is the seed of the other. Yin cannot exist without
Yang and vice versa.
The ideal state of things in the physical universe, as well as in the world of humans, is a
state of harmony represented by the balance of Yin and Yang in body and mind.
- Night, Dark
- Rain, Water, Cold
- Winter, Autumn
- Odd Numbers
- The Moon
- North, West
- Right, Down
- Intuition
- Passive, Static
- Contraction
- Decreasing
- Conservative
- Traditional
- Valley
- River
- Curve
- Soft
- Solidifying
- Psychological
- Astral World
- Tiger
- Kidneys, Heart
- Liver, Lungs
- Day, Light
- Fire, Heat
- Summer, Spring
- Even Numbers
- The Sun
- South, East
- Left, Up
- Intellect
- Active, Dynamic
- Expansion
- Increasing
- Innovative
- Reformative
- Mountain
- Desert
- Straight Line
- Hard
- Dissolving
- Physical
- Visible World
- Dragon
- Bladder
- Intestines, Skin
Tao Te Ching,
Page 4
The Translation
Of all the English translations of the Tao Te Ching, one had to be chosen for This wasn’t an easy task. There are many websites that present various
translations side by side, which is great for comparative studies. Clearly, the available
translations have different objectives and thus different strengths and weaknesses.
Some are very literal and helpful in the understanding of the original Chinese text, but
weaker on the literary side. Others are scholarly and heavily commented; and again others
are concise and poetic. There were two favourites: the translation of Gia Fu Feng & Jane
English and that of Tolbert McCarroll.
The Feng & English translation has almost become a classic by now. It is conspicuous for
its poetic, evocative style and it conveys Lao Tzu’s own style in a succinct yet elegant
language. In spite of this, we have selected the McCarroll translation for
Though the two translations are similar, we feel that the McCarroll translation adds clarity
and spiritual depth while maintaining all the advantages of the Feng & English
From The Translator’s Preface
“This little book cannot be understood any more than you can understand a river. If you
wish to experience the river you must jump in. So it is with the Tao Te Ching.
Many things in here will confuse you. The confusion is not to be conquered. It does not
result from a lack of knowledge. This confusion is a teacher that can teach you about
yourself, your story, your people, your world and the still point of the universe to which we
give the crude name - the Tao.
There are no footnotes of commentary here. These words of the Tao are to be hung like
bells in our hearts and rung by the motions we make as we move through our daily lives.
Any other sounds make it difficult to hear the bells.
The Tao is universal. It is not Chinese. Its is found in the quest of Christian mystics, native
Americans, Zen monks, desert holy men, and indeed in every culture and age in the story
of the earth. Before this story began and after it ends there is the Tao. It consists of
stillness and silence and it will enter into any quiet heart.”
Tao Te Ching,
Page 5
Zgłoś jeśli naruszono regulamin