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6 years ago  ::  Jul 23, 2008 - 2:14AM #1
nnn123
Posts: 1,530
Tao Te Ching

(the text online...free):

http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phal … te-v3.html
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 26, 2008 - 4:11PM #2
EyesoftheWorld
Posts: 1,707
I followed that link and it says the translation is by "S. Mitchell". The best translation I ever read was from Stephen Mitchell, so I'm thinking this is that. It had been lent to me about ten years ago and I'm so happy to be reunited with it. I could have gone out and bought a copy, but I like this "way" better.

Thanks again,
Take care.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 27, 2008 - 6:58PM #3
EyesoftheWorld
Posts: 1,707
Whoever posted that file must have typed it out b/c there are some typos and the gender of the Master seems to switch back and forth from male to female. I don't remember if it did that in the book version of Mitchell's translation. I have gone through the copy I saved and corrected every typo I could find and made the Master's gender male. It reads better for me that way. I also jacked the font up a tiny bit.
So, if anyone's interested in getting my "upgraded" version and this is not illegal, just send me a message and we'll work it out.

See you around
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2008 - 6:02PM #4
MengTzu
Posts: 110
The translation appears to greatly depart from the text in some places.  For example, unlike the chapter 72 of the translation, chapter 72 of the common version of the Dao De Jing mentions nothing about people turning to religion.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2008 - 6:50PM #5
EyesoftheWorld
Posts: 1,707
That's interesting! what does the common version say?
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2008 - 8:58PM #6
MengTzu
Posts: 110
[QUOTE=EyesoftheWorld;893507]That's interesting! what does the common version say?[/QUOTE]

First of all, let me clarify that by the common version I mean the Chinese version that has been used for probably more than a 1500 years.

So here is a word for word, character by character translation of the relevant part of chapter 72 of the Chinese text: people, not, fear, power/authority/force, power/authority/force, arrives, [discourse particle].  (A discourse particle is a word that doesn't really have meaning as an individual word, but adds a mood or tone to the sentence, or is simply there as a speech device, kind of like our word "huh," as in "that's pretty cool, huh.")

So to put it in grammatical English, it says: When the people does not fear authority, they are about to use force (to revolt, for example).  The intent of the statement seems to be to caution a ruler not to oppress the people, because if you oppress them too much, there will come a time when they no longer fear authority and will rise up.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 14, 2008 - 11:18AM #7
EyesoftheWorld
Posts: 1,707
Thank you, MengTzu.

I was thinking about this and the other thread, which I have not yet gone to to see your reply to my reply to your reply etc.

The fact we're "dealing" with translations and interpretations of the Tao Teh Ching is an example, or a manifestation even, of the issue I seem to have. (I try to be conscientious about articulating how what I post is my feeling or thought, btw)

The core or seed of Taoism, I believe, is the Tao Teh Ching. Translations of it are the closest I can hope for as I do not understand Chinese. (Also, that assumes exact versions of it are available today.)

The translator plays a huge role in conveying the spirit and/or the letter of the original. I've seen some atrocious translations which seemed as if they had been done by a computer, concerned only with translating each word of each passage without concern for the overall point of each passage.

Apparently, Stephen Mitchell filled out his translation with conceptual "filler" to flesh out the ideas.... I'm grateful for it, as it's the most poetic translation of the TTC I've ever seen and I think the idea of people turning to relgion when they lose their personal sense of wonder (which I myself interpret as meaning "feeling the presence of the Divine") is a sublime truth which Lao Tzu (any relation? haha) would nod his head to.

Now, we can debate whether:
1) the original passage really warranted Mitchell's translation or whether Mitchell violated his duty as translator

and/or

2) whether the concept that when people lose their sense of wonder they turn to religion is "Taoist".

Personally, I think trying to create any orthodoxy is absolutely antithetical to Taoism.
As for texts besides the TTC, which we're discussing in that other thread, which I'm really looking forward to going to next, it seems there would eventually need to be a "Canon", like in Christianity, to admit them as sources and believe debate is even possible on any texts, including the TTC, unless perhaps one creates a heirarchy with the TTC at the pinnacle and all other works subordinate, for example.
then you get into "apocryphal" texts, and open a door that shouldn't exist, to questions of who made the decisions of what is "true Taoism" and what is not...

My point is, if you seriously want to challenge a translation of the TTC, then it seems you'd have to be very discriminatory to all non-TTC texts too.

Therefore, my questions for you are:

1) Does the personal perception I convey in "My point", make sense to you as a concept?

and

2) Do you feel it applies to you or not?

and if not

2a) How can you critique a translation of the TTC and just let all other works into the "Taoisl Library", which did not even exist, it seems, before the TTC was written?
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 14, 2008 - 12:55PM #8
MengTzu
Posts: 110
[QUOTE=EyesoftheWorld;895043]Thank you, MengTzu.



Welcome, and thank you too.

eyesoftheworld]As for texts besides the TTC, which we're discussing in that other thread, which I'm really looking forward to going to next, it seems there would eventually need to be a "Canon", like in Christianity, to admit them as sources



Reading and using other texts creates no more a canon than regarding DDJ as the core and highest truth would.  wrote:

As for texts besides the TTC, which we're discussing in that other thread, which I'm really looking forward to going to next, it seems there would eventually need to be a "Canon", like in Christianity, to admit them as sources[/quote]

Reading and using other texts creates no more a canon than regarding DDJ as the core and highest truth would.  If one regards DDJ as the core and highest truth, he has already created an orthodoxy and a canon of what text is essential to Daoism.  What I'm suggesting is that there is no need to admit or deny any sources -- all texts, including DDJ and these other texts, are for you to meditate about Dao and to embrace it.  You read as much as you want.  There is no need for trying to prove or disprove a text.  Dao is Dao, whether you talk about it through no text, one text, or a multitude of texts.

then you get into "apocryphal" texts, and open a door that shouldn't exist, to questions of who made the decisions of what is "true Taoism" and what is not...



That's exactly my point.  When you say that the DDJ is the core and highest truth, you have created an assertion of orthodoxy, of what is true and essential Daoism.

My point is, if you seriously want to challenge a translation of the TTC, then it seems you'd have to be very discriminatory to all non-TTC texts too.



I am very discriminatory toward all texts -- I challenge all Daoist texts, including the DDJ and the other Daoist texts.  I don't agree with everything they say.  Even in the thread about agnostic view on Daoist deities, I was challenging some traditional views held by some traditional Daoists.

The issue here, though, is an inaccurate translation, not whether a text is right or wrong ideologically.  The non-DDJ texts are not translations. 

1) Does the personal perception I convey in "My point", make sense to you as a concept?



Yes.

2) Do you feel it applies to you or not?



I don't think whether a translation is accurate is a matter to is applicable to a person, so I'm not sure what you're asking.

2a) How can you critique a translation of the TTC and just let all other works into the "Taoisl Library", which did not even exist, it seems, before the TTC was written?[/QUOTE]

You're misrepresenting my opinion, since I never said anything about "letting works into some library."  All I said was, 1) Mitchell mistranslated the DDJ, probably had good intention in doing so, and I don't really care what his intentions are.  2) The DDJ is not the only core of Daoism. 

I can critique a translation because I understand Chinese and what Mitchell said is quite clearly not what the DDJ said in chapter 72.  It might be an interpretive, creative re-write, but wouldn't you want to know what the literal text says first if you're really interested in the DDJ?  I'm not saying Mitchell is wrong on an ideological level, I'm just making an objective assessment that his translation doesn't actually say what chapter 72 says.  If you see someone translates Romeo and Juliet's "wherefore art thou Romeo" into "donde es Romeo" (where is Romeo), would you still call it an accurate translation?  I don't think I can. 

Furthermore, I said nothing about creating a canon (there have been various canons historically, but I don't consider them binding orthodoxy.  Rather, I see them as catalogs and anthologies of Daoist ideologies and cultures).  I was only pointing out the historical reality that DDJ is not the sole core of Daoism -- I never stated what Daoism "should be."  In fact, my point precisely is that there is no such thing as a "DDJ-only orthodoxy," nor should there be any singular orthodoxy based on any other core.  Daoism is a diverse body of traditions, many of them seem to even contradict each other.  For whatever reason, you're assuming that, to understand Daoism, one must either accept the DDJ as the core, or to "let in all the other texts.  The reality is that you don't need to do either of these.  When you insist on one text being the core of an ideology, and when you assume that the opposite is to "let it all other texts," you're creating a dichotomy with the implied premise that there needs to be some kind of orthodoxy.  Btw, not all other texts used by the Daoists are written after DDJ.  In addition, many were written in the same period and probably were not the results of the DDJ.

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 14, 2008 - 3:50PM #9
MengTzu
Posts: 110
Correction: should be "donde esta Romeo," not "donde es Romeo."
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