Its really difficult to find an accurate translation of lao tzu tao te jing. Can anyone introduce me to, what you believe, the most accurate and thorough explanation of that book?

I’m thinking of purchasing this copy because it offers both the translation and explanation, but I’m skeptical about the translation accuracy.

http://www.amazon.com/Tao-Te-Ching-Skylight-Illuminations/dp/1594732043/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272473147&sr=1-4

5 Comments

  • I just read your inquiry about the most accurate translation of Dao De Jing that you asked two years ago.
    If you are still trying to find the best one these days, I like to send my tranlation/interpretation to you. It was published last week in English. I am certain that my translation is the most accurate and spiritually perfect translation. If you are interested in ontaining the book, please email your address so that I can ship a sample volume to you.

  • With any translation of the Dao De Jing you are putting a lot of trust in the translator. It just does not cookie cut into English. The best practice is to read several different ones. There are some concepts that just do not translate (Dao, De, Wu-Wei, etc.), so some familiarity with these in the original Chinese and how each translator treats them is useful.

    My favorite is Arthur Whaley’s. His would be a good start.
    http://www.amazon.com/Way-Power-Ching-Mandala-Books/dp/0041810228/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1272475898&sr=1-3-fkmr0
    http://www.amazon.com/Ching-Wordsworth-Classics-World-Literature/dp/1853264717/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1272475898&sr=1-2-fkmr0

    Some of the GNL versions all over the web are decent too. But like I said, check out a few.

    For example, take just the first line:
    道可道,非常道。

    Literally, this means “The Dao that is the Dao is not the Dao.” It has been translated to:

    “The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao.” (Legge)

    “The Way that can be experienced is not true.” (GNL)

    “The Way that can be told of is not an Unvarying Way.” (Waley)

    “Any dao given by language is not a constant dao.” (Hodge)

    “If Tao can be described, then it is not general Tao.” (Zhang)

    “The Finite cannot be all of the Infinite!” (Welch)

    The real meaning being expressed here is more like:
    “The concept ‘Dao’ that can be named, comprehended, and communicated will never fully encompass what the true, living ‘Dao’ is.”

    The translations all kind of circle around this but alone none of them fully express the meaning (just like Dao itself). But by reading several different translations together you get closer to the original idea.

    The entire book is like this.

    If you are interested in Daoism, make sure you check out the inner chapters of Zhuangzi. Maybe my favorite book of all time.

  • I would be more concerned about the interpretation than the translation.
    This book appears to be well translated according to the reviews so that’s reassuring.
    Explaining the Tao is open ended ,,but you may as well start with this book as with any other.
    In fact i might just purchase this translation myself.

  • By accurate means the translator understands the DaoDeJing as well as the author Laozi, which is rather an almost extreme challenge to logic and reasoning.

    You could buy the best explanation with tens years in a language university, by learning Chinese (the native language the book is written) to understand it yourself, or read all translations available and see which is most, right or wrong. If you reason the book enough you will come to understand.

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