Image of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.

Tao Te Ching By Lao Tzu

 

Background Information

 

Tao Te Ching is a spiritual classic and is amongst the most translated works in world literature. According to tradition, it was written around 6th century B.C. by the Chinese sage Lao Tzu (literally meaning “Old Master”), a record-keeper at the Zhou dynasty court, although the text’s true authorship and date of composition are still debated.

 

Wikipedia provided several possible translations of the book’s title:

 

Dào/Tao literally means “way”, or one of its synonyms, but was extended to mean “the Way”. This term, which was variously used by other Chinese philosophers, has special meaning within the context of Taoism, where it implies the essential, unnamable process of the universe.

 

Dé/Te means “virtue“, “personal character,” “inner strength” (virtuosity), or “integrity”. Jīng/Ching as it is used here means “Law”, “Canon”, “Rules” or “Instruction”. Thus, Tao Te Ching can be translated as “The Way and the Power of The Law”, “The Road and the Strength of The Rules/Instructions”, etc.

 

Tao Te Ching is a short text of around 5,000 Chinese characters in 81 brief chapters or sections. It has two parts, the Tao Ching (chapters 1–37) and the Te Ching (chapters 38–81). The written style is brusque or to the point, has few grammatical particles, and encourages diverse, even contradictory interpretations. The ideas are singular; the style poetic. The rhetorical style combines two major strategies: short, declarative statements and intentional contradictions. The first of these strategies creates memorable phrases, while the second forces us to create our own reconciliations of the supposed contradictions. Read more