Tao Te Ching. A New English Version, with Foreword and Notes, by Stephen Mitchell. HARPERPERENNIAL. MODERN CLASSICS. NEW YORK • LONDON. Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu. Tao Te Ching written by Lao-tzu. Translation by Stephen. Mitchell. Last updated 20 July 1. The tao that can be told is not the. written by Stephen. Mitchell, a version which remains popular nearly twenty rediscovered the Tao Te Ching, and realized I needed to finish what I started.
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Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, is the classic manual on the art of living and one of the wonders of the world. In eighty-one brief chapters, the. De. Jing. 1. The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be .. Tao Te. Ching. New York, NY: Vintage Books, * * *. Stephen Mitchell's. Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, is the classic manual on the art of living, and one of the wonders of the world. In eighty-one brief chapters, the Tao.
But all the information that has come down to us is highly suspect.
Like an Iroquois woodsman, he left no traces. All he left us is his book: the classic manual on the art of living, written in a style of gemlike lucidity, radiant with humor and grace and largeheartedness and deep wisdom: one of the wonders of the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. A good athlete can enter a state of body-awareness in which the right stroke or the right movement happens by itself, effortlessly, without any interference of the conscious will.
This is a paradigm for non-action: the purest and most effective form of action. Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. Nothing is done because the doer has wholeheartedly vanished into the deed; the fuel has been completely transformed into flame.
It happens when we trust the intelligence of the universe in the same way that an athlete or a dancer trusts the superior intelligence of the body.
Softness means the opposite of rigidity, and is synonymous with suppleness, adaptability, endurance. This is not an idea; it is a reality; I have seen it. The Master has mastered Nature; not in the sense of conquering it, but of becoming it. In surrendering to the Tao, in giving up all concepts, judgments, and desires, her mind has grown naturally compassionate. She finds deep in her own experience the central truths of the art of living, which are paradoxical only on the surface: that the more truly solitary we are, the more compassionate we can be; the more we let go of what we love, the more present our love becomes; the clearer our insight into what is beyond good and evil, the more we can embody the good.
This freedom from moral categories allows him his great compassion for the wicked and the selfish. This is called embodying the light.
It is the great secret. But since we are all, potentially, the Master since the Master is, essentially, us , I felt it would be untrue to present a male archetype, as other versions have, ironically, done.
Ironically, because of all the great world religions the teaching of Lao-tzu is by far the most female. I also consulted dozens of translations into English, German, and French. But the most essential preparation for my work was a fourteen-years-long course of Zen training, which brought me face to face with Lao-tzu and his true disciples and heirs, the early Chinese Zen Masters. With great poetry, the freest translation is sometimes the most faithful.
But I have also paraphrased, expanded, contracted, interpreted, worked with the text, played with it, until it became embodied in a language that felt genuine to me.
The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations. Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding. He is never disappointed; this his spirit never grows old. Thus the Master is content to serve as an example and not to impose her will.
The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas. Tolerant like the sky. Nothing is impossible for him. Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.
The more powerful it grows, the greater the need for humility. A great nation is like a great man: When he makes a mistake, he realizes it. Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his fault as his most benevolent teachers. He thinks of his enemy as the shadow that he himself casts. Because, being one with the Tao, when you seek, you find; and when you make a mistake, you are forgiven.
That is why everybody loves it. Act without doing; Think of the small as large and the few as many.
Confront the difficult while it is still easy; accomplish the great task by a series of small acts. Prevent trouble before it arises. Put things in order before they exist.
The journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath your feet. Rushing into action, you fail. Trying to grasp things, you lose them. Forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe.
He has nothing, thus has nothing to lose.
What he desires is non-desire; what he learns is to unlearn.