Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Red Pine

( Bill Porter)

1943 CE –

Exceptional translator, cultural diplomat

Son of a bank robber turned politician who became the wealthy head of the California democratic party, friends with the Kennedys and nominated for president by Eleanor Roosevelt but who later lost everything; Red Pine at an early age saw through the materialism of western culture and left the US for 22 years to study, practice, and translate in the Far East. After studying with John Wu, John Blofeld, and Chiang Kai-Shek’s personal master, Wu Ming, he traveled through Mainland China documenting his adventures with details about Chinese culture and history on over 1100 radio programs for Chinese audiences. His translations sink through the words, find the essence, and bubble the meaning up into beautiful and vivid English.

Eras

Sources

Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

Unlisted Sources

Quotes by Red Pine (41 quotes)

“At the beginning and at the end of the Taoteching, Lao-tzu reminds us not to become attached to the words. Let the words go. Have a cup of tea.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

Chapters: 81. Journey Without Goal

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“Commenting on the Taoteching is also like cooking a small fish. Better to have left it in the sea.”

Chapters: 60. Less is More

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“For such an enigmatic verse, there are surprisingly few variants… I’ve read them as an explanation of the Tao’s ancestral status, which makes kin of us all.”

Chapters: 4. The Father of All Things

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“How different this world would be if our leaders spent as much time in their gardens as they do in their war rooms.”

Chapters: 76. The Soft and Flexible

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“I would also add that ‘this’ also refers to what is within easy reach, while ‘that’ refers to what can be obtained only with effort.”

Chapters: 12. This Over That

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“Lao-tzu’s ‘existence’ and ‘nonexistence’ are tantamount to yang and yin.”

Chapters: 11. Appreciating Emptiness

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“Lao-tzu’s path to wholeness is through incompleteness, but an incompleteness so incomplete that he is reduced to one thing.”

Chapters: 22. Heaven's Door

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“Name takes sides. Complexity limits options Hence, those who uphold nameless simplicity don’t take sides and keep their options. Open”

Chapters: 37. Nameless Simplicity

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“The ‘face’ and ‘back’ we don’t see refer to the darkness of the moon as it waxes and wanes.”

Chapters: 14. Finding and Following the Formless Form

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“This recipe for long life has been repeated in every civilized culture, and yet it has forever fallen on deaf ears.”

Chapters: 9. Know When to Stop

Themes: Culture

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“Thus do Zen masters ask their students to show them their original face.”

Chapters: 71. Sick of Sickness

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“To Chinese Buddhists the Tao was synonymous with the One Mind or Pure Consciousness which they held to be not only the impersonal creator, but the very substance (or rather ‘non-substance’) of the entire universe.”

Chapters: 25. The Mother of All Things

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“When Lao-tzu refers to ‘the Way of Heaven,’ he is not simply referring to the sky above but to everything that lives and moves.”

Chapters: 16. Returning to the Root, Meditation

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“Words and deeds can be falsified, but not understanding and practice… As with geodes, jade is found inside ordinary looking rocks. Officals once wore it on their hats as an emblem of their status, and alchemists often included it in their elixirs.”

Chapters: 70. Inscrutable

Themes: Inscrutable

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“If words are of any use at all, they are the words of the poet. For poetry has the ability to point us toward the truth, then stand aside.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

Chapters: 1. The Unnamed

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“Poetry has the ability to point us toward the truth then stand aside, while prose stands in the doorway relating all the wonders on the other side but rarely lets us pass.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Every month the moon effortlessly shows us that something comes from nothing.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

Themes: Emptiness Moon

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“The things we distinguish as real change while their names do not.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

Chapters: 1. The Unnamed

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“In the face of impermanence, if your next thought is good, this is what we call the realization body.”

Themes: Impermanence

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“One of the great prose writers of the Yuan dynasty, surpassed only by his student Yu Chi; [Wu Cheng's] commentary shows exceptional originality and provides unique background information It is also noted for its division of the text into 68 verses.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“After Lao Tzu, the greatest of the early Taoist philosophers. The work that bears his name contains some of the most imaginative examples of early Chinese writing and includes numerous quotes from the Tao Te Ching.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“China's most revered teacher of doctrines emphasizing the harmony of human relations. His teachings, along with those of certain disciples... until recently formed the basis of moral education in China.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Student of the Confucian philosopher Hsun Tzu, Han Fei's collection of rhetoric and anecdotes is noted for its legalistic philosophy. Although Han Fei often misconstrues phrases to support his own ideas, his is the earliest known commentary.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“One of China's more famous emperors, [Xuanzong] was also a skilled poet and calligrapher, and was deeply interested in Taoism as well as Buddhism”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Grandson of the first Han emperor, [Huainanzi] was a devoted Daoist. Although his search for the elixir of immortality was prematurely interrupted when he was accused of plotting to seize the throne and was forced to commit suicide.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Ranked with Confucius and Hsun Tzu as the foremost teachers of the philosophy knows as Confucianism, [Mencius] studied with Confucius' grandson. The work that bears his name records his conversations with his disciples and various rulers of the day.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

Themes: Confucianism

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“Philosopher whose arguments in favor of universal love and against costly funerals put him at odds with the Confucian school, especially Mencius and Hsun Tzu. The work that bears his name was apparently composed after his death by his disciples who themselves betray differences of opinion concerning their master's views.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Master of military tactics and strategy. His Art of War has been much studied and admired ever since it came to the attention of King Ho Lu of the state of Wu, who subsequently became Sun's patron.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Taoist astronomer who met Lao Tzu at Hanku Pass and to whom Lao Tzu subsequently conveyed the Tao Te Ching. Several works have been attributed to him though those that survive are probably by later Taoists.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Legendary ruler of China's prehistoric period. He is venerated as the father of agriculture and herbal medicine in China.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

Themes: Agriculture

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“Scholar-official and fearless critic of government policies.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Taoist master and proponent of using an eclectic approach to explain the teachings of Lao Tzu. [Cheng Xuanying's] commentary... reflects the influence of Chuang Tzu along with Buddhist Sanlun and Tientai teachings and was required reading for Taoists seeking ordination during the Tang dynasty.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“[Su Che], his father, and his brother are counted among the 8 great prose writers of the Tang and Sung dynasties. Although his commentary reflects his own neo-Confucian sympathies, it is also treasure by Buddhists and Taoists.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“[Sim Qian] authored along with his father—Sima Tan—the first comprehensive history of China. His biography of Lao Tzu constitutes the earliest known record of the Taoist patriarch.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Taoist master who lived in a hut beside the Yellow River—hence his name, which means Master Riverside. His commentary emphasizes Taoist yoga and was reportedly composed at the request of Emperor Wen. It ranks next to Wang Bi's in popularity.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Famous for the quickness of his mind as well as the breadth of his learning, [Wang Bi] grew up with one of the best private libraries of his time. Although he died of a sudden illness at the age of 24 he was among the first to discuss Taoism as metaphysics rather than religion. As a result, his commentary has been preferred over that of Heshang Gung by Confucian scholars.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“One of the greatest Buddhist writers of the Ming dynasty and responsible for revitalizing the practice of Zen in China, [Deqing's] commentaries on Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu are among the best ever written and are used by Taoists as well as Buddhists.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“One of China's most famous prime ministers, [Wang Anshi's] attempt to introduce sweeping reforms directed against merchants and landowners galvanized Chinese intellectuals into a debate that continues to this day. He was also one of China's great poets and prose writers.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Sage ruler of ancient times and the reputed inventor of the system of hexagrams on with the I Ching is based.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Sung dynasty emperor and one of China’s greatest calligraphers and patrons of the arts. His [Tao Te Ching] commentary was finished in 1118, shortly before he was taken captive by nomad invaders.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

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“Lao Tzu teaches us that the dark can always become light and contains within itself the potential for growth an long life, while the light can only become dark and brings with it decay and early death. Lao Tzu chose long life. Thus he chose the dark.”

from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

Themes: Taoism

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