Home Discussion Forum what is the most faithful translation of the Tao Te Ching?

what is the most faithful translation of the Tao Te Ching?

i have recently read a few of the Tao proverbs and am interested in picking up the full Tao Te Ching, however… i notice that every book i picked up said different things. take number 24 for example, one book says:
he who strides does not keep the pace
while another says:
he who strides is not the fastest
which mean two completely different things! so i come to you answers, to help me find the most faithful translation so that i can get the most out of Tao wisdom.


  1. Haha, Tao Ching is awesome. Anyway, my favorite wisdom is
    Those who make claims are not given credit. Those who seek glory are not leaders.

  2. Unfortunately, I don’t know a word of Chinese. So, like you, I’ve gone through lots of translations to try to find the one that speaks to me the most.
    Most people seem to prefer the Gia-Gu Feng/Jane English translation, but I’ve never figured out if that’s because they give it a nice poetic flair, or it’s actually a faithful translation.
    Two versions I can recommend that help you get at the root meanings:
    “The Classic of the Way and Virtue: A New Translation of the Tao-Te Ching of Laozi as Interpreted by Wang Bi.” Wang presents each verse, and then he breaks down each line with an in-depth commentary.
    “Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition,” translation and commentary by Jonathan Starr. This is the best version I’ve found for getting at the original meaning. Starr actually translates each Chinese character from the original scrolls and tells you the range of meanings for each one. That way, you can examine the original text for yourself and try to penetrate what the writers might have meant, directly from the source.

  3. Wow this is so funny… seriously. Let me explain:
    The answer is “It doesn’t matter.” Why? Because these books will grow legs. Any of your friends who see you with it will pick it up, read a few passages and want to borrow it. The cycle will then repeat. (His friend to friend to friend…)
    The point is, you won’t have it long. You will have to buy another. So buy a different one next time. After reading a little of each you will get it. The messages all become the same. The cycle will never end, even though it may come full circle; when you meet a new friend who has one, which you will immediately “borrow”; just to keep the circle turning.
    may the Tao be with you always


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