Cover image for Tao te ching
Tao te ching
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Tao tê ching. English. 1972
[First edition].
Publication Information:
New York : Vintage Books [1972]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) illustrations 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL1900.L26 F49 1972B Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
BL1900.L3 F46 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

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Written during the golden age of Chinese philosophy, and composed partly in prose and partly in verse, the "Tao Te Ching" is surely the most terse and economical of the world's great religious texts. In a series of short, profound chapters it elucidates the idea of the Tao, or the Way- an idea that in its ethical, practical, and spiritual dimensions has become essential to the life of China's enormously powerful civilization. In the process of this elucidation, - Lao-- tzu both clarifies and deepens those central religious mysteries around which our life on earth revolves. Translation of the Ma Wang Tui Manuscripts by D. C. Lau

Author Notes

Gia-Fu Feng was prominent as both an English translator (with his wife, Jane English) of Daoist classics and a Daoist teacher in the United States.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Dale, a teacher of alternative medicine and author of Acupuncture with Your Fingers, offers a new translation of the ancient Chinese text credited by legend to the sixth-century sage Lao Tzu. Relying on several earlier translations from Chinese, Dale lovingly renders the 81 sections into verse rather than prose. Accompanied by Cleare's evocative black-and-white nature photographs, each poem is titled and stands alone. Included are Dale's informed commentaries for each verse that present the meaning of Lao Tzu's words for life today. For example Verse 30, "Defense and Aggression," is interpreted as permitting defense against violence, but never taking revenge or attempting to conquer others through the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. One meaning of Verse 49, "Wisdom," is that each human, no matter how compromised and corrupted, has an innate humanity in his or her core. Dale uses the last verse, "The Paradoxes of Life," to summarize the meanings in the first 80. He contends that despite the evil uses that technology has been put to, such as the development of weapons of mass destruction, it is possible to transform this technological knowledge into a mutually dependent system of economy and communications that may be used to meet the needs of people worldwide. This transformation is a way for the modern world to live within Lao Tzu's Great Integrity, a life of harmony with one another. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

It is not often that books of merit in the field of spiritual writing also appeal to the eye and the hand. This version of the well-known Tao Te Ching is indubitably a coffee-table book, but it is as gratifying to the intellect as to the sense of aesthetics. In the principal section of the book, each verse chapter, in Chinese and in Dale's translation, is accompanied by a beautifully subtle black-and-white photograph. At the rear of the book, Dale, a longtime scholar of acupuncture and other fields, repeats each verse chapter and adds his own commentary. There is something unintentionally comic about Dale's Western, reasoned, and multisyllabic commentaries on Lao Tzu's studied simplicity, apparent even in translation; still, most readers will find Dale's insights helpful. For libraries with significant holdings in Taoism. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In answer to the obvious question of the need for adding to the corpus of more than 100 translations of the Tao Te Ching, Addiss and Lombardo posit four reasons. Their first claim, "to translate rather than explain the text," is a matter of opinion among scholars. Their second claim as well is a matter of judgment. "We have kept as far as possible to the bare bones of the language." To both of these claims we have a master translator's response. Columbia University's Burton Watson, in his brief introduction, states, "It seems to me they have succeeded brilliantly." To remain gender-neutral in the translation is an effective device in keeping with the nature of the Chinese language. However, their last reason is, to this reviewer, the most compelling. The translators have chosen to add lines of the text in Chinese characters in each section and to accompany them with an extensive glossary. This makes the text more of a challenge for the reader to puzzle with and clearly points to the difficulty of interpretation. Even more than in most Chinese texts, each word in the Tao Te Ching is a translators' decision. This new translation goes a long way to acknowledge both the dilemma and creativity inherent in its rendering. Undergraduate; general. L. L. Lam-Easton California State University, Northridge



ONE The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things. Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations. These two spring from the same source but differ in name; This appears as darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gate to all mystery. TWO Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. All can know good as good only because there is evil. Therefore having and not having arise together; Difficult and easy complement each other; Long and short contrast each other; High and low rest upon each other; Voice and sound harmonize each other; Front and back follow each other. Therefore the wise go about doing nothing, teaching -no--talking. The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease, Creating, yet not possessing, Working, yet not taking credit. Work is done, then forgotten. Therefore it lasts forever. THREE Not exalting the gifted prevents quarreling. Not collecting treasures prevents stealing. Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart. The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies, By weakening ambitions and strengthening bones. If people lack knowledge and desire, Then it is best not to interfere. If nothing is done, then all will be well. FOUR The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled. Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things! Blunt the sharpness, Untangle the knot, Soften the glare, Merge with dust. Oh, hidden deep but ever present! I do not know from whence it comes. It is the forefather of the ancestors. FIVE Heaven and earth are impartial; They see the ten thousand things as they are. The wise are impartial; They see the people as they are. The space between heaven and earth is like a bellows. The shape changes but not the form; The more it moves, the more it yields. More words count less. Hold fast to the center. Excerpted from Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
Book 1

p. 3

Book 2

p. 43

List of Passages for Comparisonp. 89
1 The Problem of Authorshipp. 90
2 The Nature of the Workp. 104
Chronological Tablep. 115
Glossaryp. 116
Notesp. 126