Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Way of Lao Tzu

By Lao Tzu
Trans: Wing-tsit Chan

A translation more true to understanding the words than most, further from understanding the sense than many; this book is filled with many historical commentaries and interpretations. Dry and unengaging, the translation itself lacks poetry or colorful imagery but the commentaries clarify impressions and traditions that have grown through the ages in both China and other countries. Too many absolutes used though dilute the impression and phrases like “no translator has written a complete commentary,” “none have viewed it,” “all commentators agree that…,” undermine its veracity.

Quotes from Way of Lao Tzu

“[Taoists] not exalting worthy men of superior talent and virtue is directly opposed to that of the Confucianists who honor them”

Chapters:

Themes: Confucianism Fame

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“According to the Taoist view, honor leads to greed, discrimination, and strife… they frown on the idea of personal honor.”

Chapters: 3. Weak Wishes, Strong Bones

Themes: Anonymity

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“because of the Taoist insistence on the positive value of non-being that empty space has been utilized as a constructive factor in Chinese landscape painting.”

Chapters: 11. Appreciating Emptiness

Themes: Art

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“In Neo-Taoism, [having no trace] developed to mean true reality lies in noumena… the whole history of Taoism shows a tendency to undermine traces”

Chapters: 27. No Trace

Themes: No Trace

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“Taoism wants the concentration of chi (vital force) to be weak, whereas Confucianism wants it to be strong... Such is the contrast between Confucianism and Taoism.”

Chapters:

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“Taoist philosophy is naturalistic, if not atheistic, and any idea of a god is alien to it.”

Chapters:

Themes: God

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“The best way to govern is to leave the people alone and to follow the course of taking no action. This ideal of laissez faire originated in Taoism.”

Chapters:

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“The Taoist interest in non-being [… ] prepared the Chinese mind for the acceptance of the Buddhist doctrine of Emptiness.”

Chapters:

Themes: Taoism Buddhism

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“Uncarved wood… metaphysically means the One, simple and undifferentiated… simplicity, plainness, genuineness in spirit and heart”

Chapters: 15. Inscrutability

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