Welcome. I am in the process of beginning an 81-day process of responding to the Tao Te Ching as translated by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English (updated translation, ISBN 978-0-679-72434-6). Initially, this response will restate the stanza format in wesley-ese. I am shying away from adding an interpretive comment at this point. Those may come later, but initially, I am only looking at how the 81 context-setting passages strike me.
It has been claimed that the Tao Te Ching is the book most translated into English, after the “Bible”. [Note: Ching means “book”, and so does Bible.] If you are interested in a direct translation from Chinese, there are many translations available on the internet, or you can purchase the book mentioned above by using Bookshop.org and support a local bookstore. I am making no claim of accuracy or value of my responses in regard to the original – as lost as the originals of other ancient texts.
Note that my reflections are generally done without punctuation. Part of this is knowing that my second and third readings often see another way to connect the words and phrases. I am aware that this can be frustrating for readers. I have found it clarifying to read the reflections aloud. The words’ echo reveals more than the head’s cone of silence. Do add punctuation if it helps the meaning and flow for you. Another part is a note from the introduction of the book I am following: “…the whole of the Tao Te Ching is not readily translatable into any language, including Chinese!” I trust that includes a non-punctuated response. This corresponds to the original publication that included photographs (pictures worth 1,000 unpunctuated words?).
You are welcome to follow along as long as you see fit. I will appreciate any comments or corrections (even an unwelcome spam that might sneak into the comments). If you know someone who might be interested in this project, direct them to wildernessurgency.org and subscribe there.
I am aware of some irony in the active, urgent tone of the WordPress site, begun with Mark’s gospel in mind, and these comments about Tao and Te. Had he caught wind of this project, I expect Lao Tzu would shrug his shoulders and continue on his way secure that Tao is well.
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Tomorrow will bring the first response, creatively named Tao Te – 1. I invite you to wonder alongside me.