Thursday, March 21, 2013

Link to Tao Te Ching Translation

Greetings, Students of Life!

I fell in love with the Tao Te Ching as a beautiful scripture — much subtler and more literary than the NT or the Dhammapada or the Qur’an; it spoke to me as the others couldn’t. As I checked out various translations I grew confused; they varied so sharply from one to the next that I was surprised they were translations at all. I decided to look up some of the original words, and it was so encouraging I decided to make a translation of a few verses. Finally, I had “translated” the entire book, using a dictionary.

What I’ve discovered is the truth of Emerson’s saying about Jesus, that “The idioms of his language, and the figures of his rhetoric, have usurped the place of truth; and churches are not built on his principles, but on his tropes. Christianity has become a Mythus, as the poetic teaching of Greece and of Egypt, before. He spoke of miracles; for he felt that man’s life was a miracle, and all that man doth, and he knew that this daily miracle shines, as the character ascends. But the word Miracle, as pronounced by Christian churches, gives a false impression; it is a Monster. It is not one with the blowing clover and the falling rain.”

Emerson claims that the rhetoric of Jesus has been turned into some blasphemous theology (Christianity) but that the pristine words were genius. Reading translations of the Tao we get all sorts of commentaries from Buddhism and Hinduism, centuries removed, as if this got at the original pristine experiences! The translations are accretions, layers upon layers of traditions. No longer are the paradoxical tropes of the Taoist so shocking and seemingly self-contradictory. That is smoothed over. Heaven forbid the Tao Te Ching tease itself or abase itself! But the text clearly does this and doesn’t sound half as Brahmanistic as the translators would lead on. It’s a stark original work resembling nothing but itself, least of all the Upanishads — so getting a fresh and original look at the Ching has made a great difference, has touched my soul in a way no translation so far has. Translating the Tao has been like making love with its beauty, and as we make love, sewing our souls together.

I will slowly post the book in batches of ten verses.

Take care, Caretakers!


\ ~@M@~ /


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