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The Tao Te Ching Hardcover – September 10, 2010
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- Item Weight : 10.6 ounces
- Hardcover : 42 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1169196195
- ISBN-13 : 978-1169196193
- Product Dimensions : 7.01 x 0.25 x 10 inches
- Publisher : Kessinger Publishing, LLC (September 10, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,044,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This one has a tan cover with ink painting of mountains, Chinese characters on top, then the text "The TAO TE CHING - Lao Tsu's book of the way and of Righteousness"
Terrible! Not inviting to read the moment you open it. Also, ratings are false. They are not tied to this single book. Thankful it was not a lot of $ wasted.
Ugh. An older translati
Find ANY other book about Taoism but this one.
The traditional interpretation of this text is that it was written as a guide for the enlightened and wise ruler and in this, it invites comparison to Machiavelli but such a comparison is beyond the scope of this review. In any case, Lao-tzu does not recommend a specific form of government or path to good government, but he does advocate a specific outcome which is concern for human well-being under any ruler or form of government. The government, however constituted, should be an expression of wisdom and enlightenment. Wisdom here is the exercise of judicious discretion on the part of the ruler so as not to disrupt the natural order of society. If there is any path to good government identified by Lao-tzu, it is that of good behavior. As in Verse 17, “When the Master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists.” Or, as stated in verse 57 “If you want to be a great leader, you must learn to follow the Tao. “Stop trying to control. Let go of fixed plans and concepts and the world will govern itself.” I have had to learn this firsthand in my experience with what I like to call the tyranny of goals and treachery of plans. Lao-tzu, in speaking about the Master in Verse 30, also says that “He understands that the universe is forever out of control…” and in Verse 3 he speaks of “… emptying people’s minds…” (eliminating the tyranny of goals?) and “…weakening their ambition…” (avoiding the treachery of plans?). This much at least must seem odd to a western perspective. I believe the Tao is defined in Verse 67 as “…simplicity, patience and compassion.” Which should seem odd to no civilized person.
What Lao-tzu advocates as good for the individual, is also the basis of good government, the antithesis of accumulating wealth and power. Such things are just dead weight upon the ‘soul’. This means to me that ethics comes necessary before politics. Thus, Lao-tzu’s political philosophy minimizes the power of the ruler or the state, but he should not be mistaken for a classic liberal or a modern libertarian in the western sense. Instead, Lao-tzu speaks about the Master acting by not doing anything and teaching without speaking. His is a combined philosophy of ethics and governance stressing the oneness and the all-relatedness of all reality leading to spiritual peace and inner fulfillment. It is not my desire to westernize Lao-tzu, but It is difficult to resist comparisons to western models in reading Lao-tzu. I am reminded of the oneness of Neoplatonism or the pantheism of Spinoza. And, I also think Lao-tzu would agree with Epictetus in that “wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
Most powerfully for me is the remainder of Verse 57 where Lao-tzu advises that we let go of law, economics and religion to become more honest, prosperous and serene. In other words, our legal, economic and religious systems are just labels and that if we want a more honest, prosperous and serene society, we must be more honest, prosperous and serene people. The problems and the solutions are all to be found in the same place, with us and within us.
Ironically Lao-tzu was writing prior to the time of the first ‘modern’ bureaucratic government in China, and in the world, the short-lived but highly authoritarian state of the Qin Dynasty.
Update: I got another translation. The new translation is good. This one is garbage. I'm sorry to say this, but anyone giving this book five stars don't know what they're reading, and are not paying attention. I recommend "How to read a book" by Mortimer J. Adler.
Here's ONE example (too lazy to do more):
James translation (this one):
"9. It is better to leave a vessel unfilled than attempt to carry it when it is full."
Derek Lin translation
“9. Holding a cup and overfilling it Cannot be as good as stopping short”
Let's take the first translation. Stop and think. Let's talk about a woman going to the market to buy milk. She fills her vessel so that it is full. If she walks carefully, there will be no spillage, and she will have milk for her house. How is it better not to have milk at all?
For the second translation, the milk is finite, and it's a precious commodity. Wasting things is never a good thing. It ends up in loss. Putting the milk on the ground is worse than stopping a bit short.
There were many examples like this in the book where this translation makes zero sense. It's a joke.
Top reviews from other countries
the book is written in sentences .. no. 1 ,, no. 2 then 3 and goes on .. i mean have you even seen any book in this kind .. i firstly thought that whole book will be having quotes that's why numbers are there .. but those were not quotes and everything was connected to lao ..
i have read thousands of books till this date but still i was unable to understand it .. may be that book is not my cup of tea ..