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Pause Switch to Standard View BIGGEST MISTAKE in The Tao Te Ching...
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Flag Mak_jo_si April 29, 2011 8:01 AM EDT
If you ever read Stephen M's translation of the Tao Te Ching, you will see he always say "the master...." and "she.."... that is already a biggest mistake in his translation.  There is nothing such a "the master" in the book, in Chinese, the word he is trying to translate is 聖人.  Which is not the master.

聖人 in Chinese culture is referring to the king. In all Chinese movies or drama that show you the culture of old China, they all call the king 聖上.. meaning the holy upper one.  Or even the sage, because he is the smartest and best of all for sure (if you don't agree, you get your head chopped in the old days).  People praise he is the best of the best in human kind. 

When the king have something to announce, he write in a scroll and his man will do the speech, when he open the scroll and start the speech, he must say 聖旨到... Sing Ji Dao... meaning the word of the holy one is here!!!!  everybody then kneel down and await for the message. 

Clearly, this is the culture in China and of course it is how the Tao Te Ching is written, the 聖人 is the king, no tthe master!  He don't get this part right, and so he never know what it is all about.

ALSO, if you read Tao Te Ching's chinese version with all the chapter's name, it's all about political stuff, not TAO.  What the heck does this book have to do with TAOISM?! anyway, this book is a book of virtues, about VIRTUES, it's a book by the government or the king back then to teach people how to have virtues because during the time period back then, the society is very chaotic and there is a need to promote virtues so that people can get along better.  It's purely just history and it make sense that way.

Stephen M's translation is just very same and similar with many other ones, and they don't make sense, go too poetic, and self contradicting, not even getting the Chinese translation right, it's way too misleading.         
Flag Eisenhans April 29, 2011 5:52 PM EDT

Mak Jo Si, thanks for the clarification!  I knew Mitchell's translation was bad -- he is a new-ager -- this is just an example of how bad....

Flag Mak_jo_si April 29, 2011 5:55 PM EDT

I was doing the chapter 67-69 today and got it done, found out Stephen M like to make up words when he don't know the Chinese.  It's kind of crazy, he really MADE UP stuff in his "translation", what a brainwash... it was hilarious though, that people actually believed his version....


Even direct chinese word per word translation, he is way off because of his made up stuff.. it happens once a while like every 3-5 chapters.. I think he is just getting tired from time to time and decided to go easy on his brain or something?!


It's really like.. there aren't a word there about "general" (in war) and he made up that word and stuff it in to make his words seems cool, man.. it's a pain to read!

Flag Mak_jo_si April 29, 2011 6:09 PM EDT

Let me share yoiu a passage from my page..


from chapter 66 of TTC




#254) People love the  king

"The Master is above the people, and no one feels  oppressed. She goes ahead of the people, and no one feels manipulated. The  whole world is grateful to her. Because she competes with no one, no one can  compete with her." -- Tao Te Ching, Chapter 66 (partial).

Common  misunderstanding:

When the translator say the master is above the people, that  really doesn't make sense. Plus giving a "she" to the master is  unclear also. Who is the "master" in this book?  The author is not even getting a penny of the  book's grammar here.  The word 聖人  is the king, not the master!  If you  watch any movies in Chinese that show you some culture in the old ancient  times, they all call the king 聖上, it's just so obvious for any  Chinese to get it!


"Therefore whenever the king only know to deal with the  royal ones and the wealthy rich people, the citizens will not like him.  But if he always put himself in front of the  people, people will not harm him. Therefore, that is why the people will always  elect the same king and not want to change, and they will never want to  overthrown the king, and so there will be no chaos or rebels. "--  Mak Jo Si, translated. 

Examples and in-depth

是以therefore the king聖人,處上deal  with the higher class而民不重and the people don't like him,處前but  put himself in the front of the people而民不people don't harm him害,是以天下樂推而不厭therefore  the people like him and not want to overthrown him。以其不爭then  there is no fighting for the position,故天下莫能與之爭then there will be no chaos  in the world or country about who is the king.

This passage is very clearly stating that the king's way of  being a good king is to not only know how to deal with the businessman, the  wealthy people and the royal families.   If they are such kind, they will be hated by the people and nobody likes  the king.  Actually, this is how most  western kings are like in the west too.  

They all treasure only the wealthy and rich people but forget about the  lower class.  This is not the way to go.
  In this passage, the king say that he must always put  himself in front of his people and devote his life to the people and so the  people won't want to harm him. Then the whole world will want to have him be  the king and not others. Nobody will want to replace the king and so there will  be peace in the country.   It's all  because he did a good job and be a good king.

Being a good king require virtues and here the king reveals  his secrets of success to all by telling us that his way of governing is to  devote his whole life and himself to the people only, and not to care about  himself much.  He know, his people is  what makes the country a country and os he treasure them.  That's the way of virtues.

Flag Mak_jo_si May 2, 2011 9:31 PM EDT

May 2, 2011 -- 8:23PM, Oddray wrote:

what translation would you recommend for those of us that do not read or speak Chinese?


All here for you~ (just have to read from zero and on.. don't skip, don't skim, don't jam in the middle and read, empty your mind first, read slowly and it will make sense to you)


Remember, the book is "Book of Virtues" not "book of tao"~

Flag Mak_jo_si May 3, 2011 12:26 AM EDT

May 3, 2011 -- 12:19AM, Oddray wrote:

thank you, i have bookmarked the site and will give it all due respect.

Welcome, wish you will enjoy reading it. Remember, don't skip, skim or jam in the middle, or else the whole book don't seems right to you. You need to read from the beginning and on, that's how the book is supposed to be read properly. (as said in the book itself already) enjoy~!

Feel free to ask me anything you want if you got questions from reading as well~

Flag Freestyle May 2, 2014 11:33 AM EDT

Steven Mitchell's "translation" of the Tao Te Ching -- the basis of the Holy Laozi -- is definitely a bunch of bull.  Dr. Wayne Dyer's book Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life has the English translation of Mulan's Gaelic Laozi accurate although he needed to work on his essays.

By the way, you are a Taoist fundamentalist, which is not the way of Taoism.

Flag Ravenmew February 28, 2015 4:41 PM EST

The real Dao De Jing is definitely a Chinese classic, but the Western ”Tao Te Ching" is really the Laozi, the scripture of Taoism.  The reason this classic Celtic collection of poetry is called such is because of the Taoist belief in harmony, especially with the adopted yin-yang symbol.  It consists of 81 poems written by Zelda Pendragon based on a series of dreams into which was dictated by Jesus.  It quotes Zelda saying ,"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.".   It also says, " The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao". The Dao De Jing and the Laozi are two different things.  Besides, how can a book of Chinese origin have appeal to the Celts?  Besides, the Dao De Jing is mostly political.  Stephen Mitchell's Tao Te Ching is not Chinese.  I know Chinese philosophy, especially that of Confucius.  Lao-tzu never existed.  Not only that, but the Dao De Jing was written in ancient Chinese and that is different from modern Chinese, so who knows what the ancient scrolls say.

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