Tao te Ching

Tao te Ching

by Jonathan Star


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This unique edition of the Tao Te Ching features:
  • the first comprehensive verbatim translation of the entire text of the Tao Te Ching;
  • literal character definitions that allow the reader to create his or her own interpretation;
  • a concordance section that enables the reader to track the different ways a single character is used throughout the work;
  • grammatical and interpretive notes on individual terms and verses; * a unique commentary on the first verse, which represents a complete spiritual teaching in itself; and
  • a literary translation of the Tao Te Ching that can be read on its own or compared with the verbatim translation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781585422692
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/25/2003
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 233,284
Product dimensions: 7.16(w) x 8.48(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 - 14 Years

About the Author

Jonathan Star has been widely acclaimed for his translations of everything from Rumi to the Tao Te Ching to the greatest Christian mystics. Of his celebrated Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved, Larry Dossey wrote, "Rumi would be proud of Star's luminous translations." Star lives in upstate New York.

Read an Excerpt

Tao Te Ching

The Definitive Edition
By Lao Tzu

Jeremy P. Tarcher

Copyright © 2003 Lao Tzu
All right reserved.

ISBN: 158542269X

Chapter One


A way that can be walked
    is not The Way
A name that can be named
    is not The Name

Tao is both Named and Nameless
As Nameless, it is the origin of all things
As Named, it is the mother of all things
A mind free of thought,
    merged within itself,
    beholds the essence of Tao

A mind filled with thought,
    identified with its own perceptions,
    beholds the mere forms of this world

Tao and this world seem different
    but in truth they are one and the same
The only difference is in what we call them

How deep and mysterious this unity is
    How profound, how great!
It is the truth beyond the truth,
    the hidden within the hidden
It is the path to all wonder,
    the gate to the essence of everything!


Everyone recognizes beauty
    only because of ugliness
Everyone recognizes virtue
    only because of sin

Life and death are born together
Difficult and easy
Long and short
High and low--
      all these exist together
      arrive together
Sound and silence blend together
Before and after

* * *

The Sage acts without action
    and teaches without talking
All things flourish around him
    and he does not refuse any one of them
He gives but not to receive
He works but not for reward
He completes but not for results
He does nothing for himself in this passing world
    so nothing he does ever passes


Putting a value on status
    will cause people to compete
Hoarding treasure
    will turn them into thieves
Showing off possessions
    will disturb their daily lives

Thus the Sage rules
    by stilling minds and opening hearts
    by filling bellies and strengthening bones
He shows people how to be simple
    and live without desires
To be content
    and not look for other ways
With the people so pure
Who could trick them?
What clever ideas could lead them astray?

When action is pure and selfless
    everything settles into its own perfect place


Tao is empty
    yet it fills every vessel with endless supply
Tao is hidden
    yet it shines in every corner of the universe

With it, the sharp edges become smooth
    the twisted knots loosen
    the sun is softened by a cloud
    the dust settles into place

So deep, so pure, so still
    It has been this way forever
You may ask, "Whose child is it?"--
    but I cannot say
This child was here before the Great Ancestor


    Heaven and Earth have no preference

A man may choose one over another
    but to Heaven and Earth all are the same
The high, the low, the great, the small--
    all are given light
    all get a place to rest

The Sage is like Heaven and Earth
To him none are especially dear
    nor is there anyone he disfavors
He gives and gives without condition
    offering his treasure to everyone

* * *

The universe is like a bellows
    It stays empty yet is never exhausted
    It gives out yet always brings forth more

Man is not like this
When he blows out air like a bellows
    he becomes exhausted
Man was not made to blow out air
He was made to sit quietly and find the truth within


Excerpted from Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Copyright © 2003 by Lao Tzu. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Tao Te ChingIntroduction
Tao Te Ching - Translation
Verbatim Translation
Notes on the Verbatim Translation
Commentary on Verse 1
Definitions, Concordance, and Wade-Pinyin Conversion
List of Radicals
Appendix: Some of the Earliest English Translations of Verse One

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Tao te Ching 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Wyzyrd More than 1 year ago
As one reads multiple English translations of Tao Te Ching, it becomes apparent how extremely difficult it must be to capture the essence of such a profound and yet beautiful Chinese linguistic treasure. Star has done a superb job of preserving literal accuracy in his text, as evidenced, if one were to doubt, by the copious translational notes. However, he has done more that simply translate literally, and he has also avoided the oft-adopted imposition a poetic imperative to this work. Star seems to understand and preserve the simple directness of the philosophic message, without paring away important context and thematic imagery at the most critical junctures. Without being tedious, the translation is thorough and poignant, and without being artsy, it is intellectually rhythmic and resonant. Most notably, Star emphasizes the universally accessible wisdom of the Tao Te Ching while skillfully diffusing the mystic and esoteric entanglements that often seem to arise in other translations. In short, he makes Tao most comprehensible to the reader without losing its essential depth and clarity. I would highly recommend this translation to anyone from the curious casual reader to the advanced intent scholar.
girlwithafacee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent encouragement for those trying to lead peaceful, harmonious lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago