Maarten Maartensz

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 Lao Tzu

On this site there is at the moment the text of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching. There are no notes (yet) to it by me.

The translation I used is James Legge's of 1891, that is available on the internet at quite a few places.

It is difficult to understand Tao Te Ching (also for Chinese, I am assured) but three very good references are these

  • Wing-Tsit Chan: A Sourcebook in Chinese Philosophy

  • Raymond Smullyan: The Tao is silent

  • Lin Yutang: The importance of living

The first is by an eminent Chinese scholar and is about Chinese philosophy in general, about which it gives a lot of information, while also providing a lot of sources, often in Chan's own translations. This also includes his translation of the Tao Te Ching, with his comments.

The second is by a great mathematical logician who is partial to Taoism. The text is his attempt to provide a sort of explanation of Taoism and his partiality to it.

The third is by a great writer and fine thinker who had both a Christian and a Chinese background.

All three give mostly background - and that is the way to get at Lao Tu's meaning, which is hard to get and cannot be properly grasped with words.

last update: 05-Jul-2012