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Tao Te Ching Paperback – May 30, 1964

ISBN-13: 978-0140441314 ISBN-10: 014044131X Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; Reprint edition (May 30, 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014044131X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140441314
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The power of the ­Lao-­tzu’s imagery and, ultimately, the simplicity of its message seem to be able to overcome the problems of language and of distance in time and place, so that at the end of the twentieth century, this has become one of the most influential of texts, cherished by people in all walks of life throughout the world.” –from the Introduction by Sarah Allan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, Chinese (translation)
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This is the classic, and despite some other claims, still the best translation.
Amazon Customer
The translation captures the essence of the work and gives the reader the ability to truly appreciate it.
Z
In other words, what you perceive the book to say is actually your own mind's reality.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 25, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been using this translation since 1965 and have found no better. When I want to clarify something, I struggle with a Chinese language edition - my knowledge of Chinese is sufficient to know at least the 'raw' meaning of the characters. Some thoughts and discoveries I've had...

1. D.C.Lau's translation comes closest to the actual Chinese most of the time.

2. I believe he does not consider himself a Taoist, and thus brings less 'pro' bias to his translation. Many other translations (not all) I've seen are written by 'pro Tao' folks who, to one degree or another, unconsciously bend their translations to agree with the 20th century cultural paradigm (values) in which they were conditioned.

3. It is not what a particular translation says, or how it says it, that is 'enlightening'. How you interpret what you read (hear or see) reflects who you really are at that moment. In other words, what you perceive the book to say is actually your own mind's reality. The notion that one translation or another is going to impart 'knowing' is wishful thinking. The knowing lies in the eye of the beholder. Thus, the disclaimer in chapter 1 of the Tao Te Ching, "The way that can be spoken of is not the constant way; The name that can be named, is not the constant name." This sentiment speaks to just how very inward and personal a Taoist journey is. For me, D.C.Lau's translation gets in the way of this journey less than others I've seen over the years.
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By DocCaligari on February 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a review of D.C. Lau's translation of the _Tao Te Ching_, as republished in the Everyman's Library series.
The _Tao Te Ching_ is a collection of brief sayings and verse attributed to Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu is semi-mythical. He is traditionally supposed to have been a contemporary of Confucius (about 500 B.C.), but he may just be a "composite" of stories about various early sages. The _Tao Te Ching_ itself is probably an anthology of early wisdom literature. It is concise to the point of being cryptic. Ironically, this probably helps to account for its popularity. Since it is so hard to understand, people tend to find in it what they want to find.
For millennia, the standard text of the _Tao Te Ching_ was the "Wang Pi text," named after an early commentator. However, earlier versions of the text were unearthed in a tomb in China in the 70's. These were called the "Ma-wang-tui" versions, after the place where the tomb was located.
D.C. Lau was one of the most talented translators of the 20th century. His translations of the _Analects_ of Confucius, the _Mencius_, and the _Tao Te Ching_ are among the best available. His original translation of the _Tao Te Ching_ was based on the Wang Bi text, and was published by Penguin Books. The book on this page includes both the original Penguin Books translation and a revised translation based on the Ma-wang-tui texts.
Lau is a very well informed scholar, but he does not allow the scholarship to overwhelm the translation. The language of his translation is concise and elegant. There will always be deep controversy over how to translate this deeply enigmatic text, but Lau's interpretations are always defensible.
One disadvantage of this book is that it does not include the introduction to Lau's Penguin Books translation.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Beaulac on July 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a first-rate, hard-bound volume with a scholarly and informative introduction by Sarah Allan. This version also provides a historical chronology, followed by a fresh translation of the Ma Wang Tui manuscripts of the Tao Te Ching. This version may not be the one to buy your mom as an introduction to Lao-tzu, but it's a must have for serious students of the Tao Te Ching. One should be aware that the Ma Wang Tui manuscripts are dated earlier than the traditional Wang Pi manuscripts that are behind most popular translations, and there are notable differences. The biggest difference is in the order of verses. The MWT manuscripts first have all the verses on "Te," and then all the verses on "Tao." The result is that what starts as verse 1 in this version starts at verse 38 in the more common (Wang Pi-based) Tao Te Chings. Lau does have a comparitive table cross referencing all the verses, but you will have to refamiliarize yourself with reading Roman Numerals to use it with any speed.
The translation itself is excellent, reflecting Lau's aptitude with both languages as well as historical and linguistic issues. He leaves the translation clean of any notes, which is nice except where they could explain a few differences in beginning points or ending points of verses, etc.
There is an appendix dealing extensively with the "problem" of authorship, and another on the nature of the Tao Te Ching, and finally,a very helpful glossary of terms.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. McGarry on August 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was the first translation I read (and reread) of the *Tao Te Ching* -- I have since read (and reread) about a dozen others. What stands out in my mind about Lau's translation is the pure poetry, the haunting lyrical quality of some of the images. Furthermore, ironically, this is a starkly pragmatic and realistic translation. It stands in striking contrast to the spiritualized New Age translations that try to sublimate the entire text into the realm of the mystical. This is a *Tao Te Ching* that considers the harsh realities of government and warfare, and stakes out bold counterpositions to the Confucianism which prevailed in the late Chou Dynasty (c. fifth century BCE). This *Tao Te Ching* is not un-spiritual, but its spirituality is well-grounded in a human world of seemingly intractable problems. Other translations may appeal to the more idealistic, but this is perhaps the best translation for those whose spirituality is essentially bound to the social and political problems of the world as it is.
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