Tag Archives: Lao-Tzu

THE WAY or NO WAY?

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THE TAO

Tao or Dao is a concept signifying ‘way’, ‘path’, ‘route’, or sometimes more loosely, ‘doctrine’ or ‘principle’, or as a verb, speak.  Within these contexts Tao signifies the primordial essence or fundamental nature of existence. Tao is thus “eternally nameless”, or Immortal Spiritual Being, and to be distinguished from the countless ‘named’ things which are considered to be its manifestations, as the space, energy and forms of, and within, the physical universe, and other universes.

The Tao Te ChingDaodejing, or Dao De Jing (道德經: 道 dào “way”; 德  “virtue”; 經 jīng “classic” or “text”) is simply referred to as the Laozi. According to tradition, it was written around 6th century BC by the sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, “Old Master”), a record-keeper at the Zhou Dynasty court, by whose name the text is known in China. The text’s true authorship and date of composition or compilation are still debated, although the oldest excavated text dates back to the late 4th century BC.

Many different translations, versions and interpretations of The Tao have been produced through the past 2,500 years, or so, since the original appearance.  Like any “religion”, the “opinions” and “interpretations” of “priests” MODIFY and INTRODUCE FALSE IDEAS into the original.  Therefore, I suggest that anyone who wishes to sincerely study The Tao as a body of wisdom, study many difference translations before you decide whether or not any of the many versions of this book point to “the way” or “no way”.  

Here is a link to a website containing many different translations, and COMPARISONS between translations

THE TAO

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Although ascetics and hermits first wrote of the ‘Tao  it is with the sixth century B.C. philosopher Lao Tzu (or ‘Old Sage’ — born Li Erh) that the philosophy of Taoism really began. Some scholars believe was a slightly older contemporary of Confucius (Kung-Fu Tzu, born Chiu Chung-Ni). Other scholars feel that the Tao Te Ching, is really a compilation of paradoxical poems written by several Taoists using the pen-name, Lao Tzu.

According to legend Lao Tzu was keeper of the archives at the imperial court. When he was eighty years old he set out for the western border of China, toward what is now Tibet, saddened and disillusioned that men were unwilling to follow the path to natural goodness. At the border (Hank Pass), a guard, Yin Xi (Yin Hsi), asked Lao Tsu to record his teachings before he left. He then composed in 5,000 characters the Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power).