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Commentary on Tao Te Ching Interpretation


Commentary on Tao Te Ching Interpretation
Interpretation rather than translation
Cognitive navigation through alternative pattern representations
Interlocked cycles

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This is a commentary on the Tao Te Ching Interpreted Succinctly (original order) and (alternative order)
Patterning possibilities are presented separately in detail in 9-fold Higher Order Patterning of Tao Te Ching Insights
Navigational implications are explored in References


There are many translations and commentaries of the classic Chinese book by Lao Tzu entitled the Tao Te Ching. This text has been translated more frequently than any other work except the Bible. [See resources]. In emphasis, they may be wise, scholarly aesthetic or otherwise. Scholars have said that the original Tao Te Ching is a poem. As a poem, it was not intended to be read in one session, but rather to be explored at intervals -- internalized and contemplated.

The exercise (presented separately) was based on the translation of Ursula Le Guin (Lao Tzu -- Tao Te Ching: a book about the way and the power of the way, 1997) who explicitly chose to give a poetic rendering into English in the light of 8 other English translations, including:

  • Paul Carus. Lao Tze's Tao-Teh-King. 1898
  • Arthur Waley. The Way and its Power: a study of the Tao Te Ching and its place in Chinese thought. 1958
  • Robert G Henricks. Te-Tao Ching: Lao-Tzu, translated from the Ma-wang-tui texts. 1993
  • Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. Tao Te Ching. 1972
  • D C Lau. Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching. 1963
Some translations are available online [see especially those available via Translations of the Dao De Jing], including those of James Legge, Lin Yutang, and Raymond Bernard Blakney. Peter Merel provides an online "interpolation" a version that he has adjusted by drawing several translations into "a consistent and accessible context" -- one which is "which is blunt, easy and useful to read within a modern context" [also by chapter]. Merel stresses that in English it is "cast into a language that is incapable of presenting its poetic structure and philological connections".

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