- Table of contents
- Related Entries
- Word-by-word English translation from which I constructed my translation — and which you could use in the same way
- Website I also used, with Chinese text and word-by-word English dictionary look-up
- Translations with chapter-by-chapter comments
- Other translations I consult
This page has links to the chapters of my attempt to translate and comment on the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching), or The Classic about Ways and Instances, by Laozi (or Lao Tsu, Lao Tze, Lao Tzu, Lao Tse, Laotse).
I also plan posts discussing other early Taoist writings, and they’ll be listed here.
My point of view, different from most published translators, is explained in the Introduction. I am not a scholar and do not read Chinese; I do write English and I’m interested in Laozi.
I’m aware that this translation breaks the rules. I use simple language, and avoid anything “elevated.” In my comments I use simple, personal illustrations. The idea is to make Laozi direct and practical, as I imagine he intended to be. I see the Daodejing not as a key to some esoteric, other-worldly, special universe but as the reflections an intelligent man gave to his own actual life and to what he saw around him: he thought these things because he needed them. It seems a record of the journey he made; and he seems to hope most sincerely that we’ll find some of his record applicable to our own journey — that we’ll need whatever we can read from it as badly as he did.
I may have gone overboard in my attempt to make Daodejing everyday. If so, then maybe that’s a needed, and useful, correction. I’m not attempting to have the final, definitive say — merely to contribute to a discussion I imagine will continue and evolve.
Please expect the chapters to be revised after posting.
The Classic about Ways and Instances
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 6
- Chapter 7
- Chapter 8
- Chapter 9
- Chapter 10
- Chapter 11
- Chapter 12
- Chapter 13
- Chapter 14
- Chapter 15
- Chapter 16
- Chapter 17
- Chapter 18
- Chapter 19
Poems especially relevant to Taoism
- Wang Wei — My Retreat at Chung-nan Mountain
Note: The entries here are linked, via the ISBN number, to Wikipedia’s Book Sources. If you scroll down the Wikipedia page you can find multiple, worldwide sources from which to buy new or used books, to trade them with other readers, or to check them out of libraries.
Word-by-word English translation of Daodejing from which I constructed my translation — and which you could use in the same way
Star, Jonathan. Tao Te Ching. New York: Jeremy P Tarcher/Putnam, 2001. ISBN 1-58542-099-9.
Wengu — Chinese Classics and Poems. Select the link at the top for a chapter number, then hover mouse over any Chinese word for a basic definition — or click for a more extended one. Read from top to bottom, right to left.
Ames, Roger and David Hall. Dao De Jing: “Making this Life Significant.” New York: Ballantine Books, 2003. ISBN 0-345-44419-1. Extensive introduction, commentary, glossary of key terms, and thematic index.
Chen, Ellen M. The Tao Te Ching. New York: Paragon House Publishers, 1989. ISBN 1-55778-083-8. Includes comments by the translator, with many quotations from earlier writers.
Lin Yutang. The Wisdom of Laotse. New York: The Modern Library, 1948. (Too early for ISBN; here is a link for US Library of Congress.) Each chapter has appropriate quotations from Chuangtse. This is the book whose first chapter got me started, as a teenager, in my life-long love of Tao Te Ching.
Pine, Red. Lao-Tzu’s Taoteching. San Francisco: Mercury House, 2001. ISBN 1-56279-085-4. Includes numerous comments from classical Chinese authors.
Waley, Arthur. The Way and Its Power: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought. New York: Grove Press, 1958. ISBN 0-8021-5085-3.
Feng, Gia-Fu and Jane English. Tao Te Ching. New York: Vintage Books, 1972. ISBN 0-394-71833-X.
Henricks, Robert. Lao Tzu: Te-Tao Ching – a New Translation Based on the Recently Discovered Ma-Wang-Tui Texts. New York: Ballantine Books, 1992. ISBN 0-345-37099-6.
Hinton, David. Tao Te Ching. New York: Counterpoint Press, 2002. ISBN 1-58243-182-5.
Lau, D.C. Tao Te Ching. Harmondsworth Eng.: Penguin, 2003. ISBN 0-140-44131-X.
Mair, Victor. Tao Te Ching. New York: Bantam Books, 1990. ISBN 0-553-34935-X.