Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way

Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way

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Overview

No other English translation of this greatest of the Chinese classics can match Ursula Le Guin's striking new version. Le Guin, best known for thought-provoking science fiction novels that have helped to transform the genre, has studied the Tao Te Ching for more than forty years. She has consulted the literal translations and worked with Chinese scholars to develop a version that lets the ancient text speak in a fresh way to modern people, while remaining faithful to the poetic beauty of the work. Avoiding scholarly interpretations and esoteric Taoist insights, she has revealed the Tao Te Ching 's immediate relevance and power, its depth and refreshing humor, in a way that shows better than ever before why it has been so much loved for more than 2,500 years. Included are Le Guin's own personal commentary and notes on the text. This new version is sure to be welcomed by the many readers of the Tao Te Ching as well as those coming to the text for the first time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780834824638
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication date: 10/20/1998
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 330,746
File size: 579 KB

About the Author

Not much is known about the legendary Lao Tzu, to whom authorship of the Tao Te Ching is popularly attributed. Some scholars believe the author was an elder contemporary of Confucius. Ursula K. Le Guin is the winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Gandalf, Kafka, and National Book Awards. She is the author of many short stories and more than fifteen novels, including The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. She is also an honored author of children's books, poetry, and criticism.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter
25:
Imagining
mystery

There
is something

that
contains everything.

Before
heaven and earth


it is.

Oh,
it is still, unbodied,

all
on its own, unchanging,

all-pervading,

ever-moving.
So
it can act as the mother


of all things.

Not
knowing its real name,

we
only call it the Way.

If
it must be named,

let
its name be Great.

Greatness
means going on,

going
on means going far,

and
going far means turning back.

So
they say: "The Way is great,

heaven
is great,

earth
is great,

and
humankind is great;

four
greatnesses in the world,

and
humanity is one of them."

People
follow earth,

earth
follows heaven,


heaven follows the Way,

the
Way follows what is.



Chapter
34: Perfect trust

The
Great Way runs


to left, to right,

the
ten thousand things

depending
on it,


living on it,

accepted
by it.

Doing
its work,

it
goes unnamed.


Clothing and feeding


the ten thousand things,

it
lays no claim on them

and
asks nothing of them.

Call
it a small matter.

The
ten thousand things


return to it,

though
it lays no claim on them.

Call
it great.

So
the wise soul

without
great doings

achieves
greatness.



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Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
poetontheone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A timeless treasure trove of ancient wisdom. Le Guin's version is fluid, digestible, and enjoyable - adding a pleasant accessibility while still remaining faithful to the text.
michael_cowles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautiful interpretation of the Tao Te Ching. She is always able to lend a gentle feeling of hope to her work. Less mystery and more nature in this version.
selfnoise on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Librarything apparently won't allow me to review each edition separately. Oh well. I keep the Waley edition for his notes and his bare, literal, somewhat political translation. The Feng-English has a good balance between poetics and literalism and generally comes in a nice edition with Jane English's photographs. The Le Guin edition has the most beautiful English poetry I've seen in a translation and she has an interesting take on the text. Her notes are also funny, humble, and helpful.It's good to own multiple English translations, as the thing is basically untranslatable in any perfect fashion.As for the Tao Te Ching itself... I've read many philosophical and religious texts, and this is the one that speaks to me the most. Simple, humble, strikingly conservative yet almost revolutionary in this day and age. I go back to it as often as I can.
heidilove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The annotation makes this a true gem.
slothman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the introduction, Le Guin explains that the Tao Te Ching has been an influential book throughout her life, and that over the years she has made efforts at producing her own rendition of the classic. (She won¿t call it a translation, since she doesn¿t actually speak Chinese, but she has done extensive research¿ she provides copious notes on how she chose particular renderings in the back of the book¿ and produced this in collaboration with a scholar of the language.) Her goal has been to distill the clarity of the classic for a modern reader who is more likely one citizen among millions rather than a leader seeking sagacious insights for rulership. The result is quite good, with a penetrating brevity I haven¿t seen in the other translations I¿ve read. I actually wound up reading it with another translation to hand when I wanted to get another perspective on the occasional verse, but I think the simplicity of her rendering is a good place to start before going out looking for more nuance.
RBeck More than 1 year ago
I liked her additional comments
Anonymous More than 1 year ago