Tao Te Ching
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The Tao Te Ching is an ancient Chinese text that has long been a source of inspiration for people around the world. Reading it could change your life.
If, however, you pick a translation that doesn't resonate with you, it could have almost no effect other than to confuse you and make you feel as if you have wasted your time. Naturally, you are looking for the best one.
In this description, we are meant to sell you our book. Instead of attempting to do this, we would like to offer you your first and possibly most important lesson in Taoism: There is no such thing as a “best” translation of the Tao Te Ching.
Certainly, many translations claim to be the best or employ the words of an expert who is quoted, swearing that this version surpasses all others in its clarity. Unfortunately, claiming that one translation is superior to all others betrays a slight misunderstanding the Tao Te Ching, which warns in its very first line against valuing words over what they are meant to convey.
What this means is that the truth that lies at the core of the text can only be hinted at or approximated by words. Even now, many lifetimes after it was first recorded, people are still trying to capture this essence, which is why it is one of the most translated texts on the planet.
The truth is, this essence cannot be captured in one form. The closest anyone can come to succeeding in this goal is to glimpse it for themselves, if only for a second. Only you can understand it. No one else, however brilliant, can understand it for you.
Nevertheless, a good translation of the text can be a very useful tool for accomplishing this. What we try to provide to you is an entry point into the ancient wisdom of the Tao Te Ching, a companion that seeks to help open up the wisdom to you, to help facilitate your own understanding.
When choosing, we highly recommend taking advantage of the convenience of e-books and basing your decision on the provided sample chapters rather than the description. While a cleverly written synopsis can promise you the world, you may find that the actual text does not deliver what it claims.
Many versions claim an incredible accuracy of translation from the original, approaching the text as a sacred tome to be painstakingly maintained word for word, another practice that runs somewhat askew from the actual teachings.
The original text was written in terms of the language and culture of feudal China. While, historically speaking, this is worth preserving, the idiosyncrasies of the archaic language can actually hinder a modern reader from connecting with the deeper message.
The Taoist philosophy is meant to be applied to all times and places. Thus, preserving the linguistic peculiarities of a particular time and place can turn a broad philosophy into one that is so narrow as to seem impassible.
Our version is the result of over a year spent poring over several different English translations, each one based on the same original Chinese text. We were surprised to find just how idealistically different some of these texts were, considering their mutual origin. For the purposes of our own growth, we made every attempt to find one thread connecting them all to the original and recorded this in our own words.
The result of this method, however, might not be most accurately described as a translation of the Tao Te Ching. What we've done is a rendering. Through the juxtaposition of multiple English translations, the cultural and ideological fingerprints of past translators were exposed like decaying flesh on a skeleton. We tried to separate the skeleton -- the basic principles of the Tao Te Ching that themselves precede Lao Tzu -- from its flesh, and reanimate the Tao Te Ching for a contemporary audience.
This, then, is the Tao Te Ching as we have come to understand it. Working with this text has changed our lives for the better. Hopefully, whether you pick our translation or another, it will do the same for you.
|Amazon Sales Rank||1,200,958|
|Main Category||Kindle Edition|