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Hostility toward opposing points of view is sometimes evident, Because of the shortage of direct statements about these "post-modernist vision[s]," and also because most recent studies are lengthy and highly complex, recent scholarship on the Tao-te-ching is unlikely to have an immediate impact on popular understandings of the text — despite its dedication to correcting earlier misinterpretations. As is true in a broader sense, despite the plethora of translations and versions there are fewer theosophical commentaries on the Tao Te Ching than there are on other Asian scriptural works.

The following selected works are intended to provide an overview of theosophical thoughts both over time and reflecting various perspectives. The initial quotations are compiled at the end to present a "portrait" of the relationship of Theosophy and the Tao. As its name is unknown and it essence is unfathomable, philosophers have called it Tao Anima Mundi , the uncreate, unborn and eternal energy of nature, manifesting periodically. Nature as well as man when it reaches purity will reach rest, and then all become one with Tao, which is the source of all bliss and felicity.

Not only had the texts of that era never been analyzed by any modern scholar much less translated into any modern language , but there were not even many helpful research tools by which one could determine which Taoist texts might even be pertinent That state of affairs has now been radically changed.

Over the last two or three decades, scholars from around the world have analyzed and translated a growing number of texts from many periods. Tao in this [universal] sense seems to correspond to the Parabrahm of the Vendantins, the Ain Suph of the Kabalists, the Athyr of the Egyptians, and the Monad of the Greeks. XI, No. Following is an excerpt related to Lao-tze:.

Old is derived from multiple translations, which presages more contemporary versions such as those by Stephen Mitchell , Ursula K. Le Guin , and Wayne Dyer As the introduction states:. IX, No. Old writes in response to a question posed by G. Mead that appeared in a review of a work by Charles Booth :. An brief amalgam of phrases attributed to Lao-tse, partly misattributed and taken from various sources see Notes , appears in the periodical Mercury , Vol. I, No. Tao is ultimate thought, and dwells in Silence; hence Being cannot be defined.

It is what It is. These were originally delivered as lectures to the New York Theosophical Society. The Preface makes the link to theosophists, and contains an insightful observation about the inherent divergence between Taoist and Confucian thought:. XIV, No. Very interesting it is to see here the idea of the forthgoing and the returning of the One Life, so familiar to us in the Hindu Literature. Familiar seems the verse:. That a Universe might become, the Unmanifest must give forth the One from whom duality and trinity proceed:. Since all is produced from It, It exists in all:.

Always without desire we must be found, If its deep mystery we would sound; But if desire always within us be, Its outer fringe is all that we shall see. Reincarnation does not seem to be so distinctly taught as might have been expected, although passages are found which imply that the main idea was taken for granted and that the entity was considered as ranging through animal as well as human births. The unity of moral teaching is not less striking, than the unity of the conceptions of the universe and of the experiences of those who rose out of the prison of the body into the freedom of the higher spheres.

It is clear that this body of primeval teaching was in the hands of definite custodians, who had schools in which they taught, disciples who studied their doctrines. The identity of these schools and of their discipline stands out plainly when we study the moral teaching, the demands made on the pupils, and the mental and spiritual states to which they were raised. In the Tao-teh-King In The Theosophic Messenger , Vol. Following is an excerpt:. Not only does the term Tao word, reason correspond quite closely to the Greek term Logos , but Lao-tze preaches the ethics of requiting hatred with goodness.

Translated from the Chinese by Dr. Paul Carus. We are glad to see that Dr. Paul Carus has republished his translation of this famous tractate apart from the text and transliteration, critical notes, etc. Carus boldly cuts the knot of the Tao difficulty by translating it Reason and identifying it with the idea of the Logos. He insists on the necessity of becoming like unto a little child, of returning to primitive simplicity and purity, of non-assertion and non-resistance, and promises that the deficient may be made entire, the crooked will be straightened, the empty will be filled, the worn will be renewed, those who have too little will receive, while those who have too much will be bewildered.

There is but one fault we have to find with Dr. Carus' translation — not, however, that we are personally in any position to check it with the original — the attempts at versification of the original verse scattered through the prose text are doggerel, and beneath the dignity of their prose environment. IV, No.

The first section discusses Chinese religion in antiquity. It contains many references to the Upanishads, as well as several citations of Christian works, for example:. The third section concludes with a statement that anticipates an aspect of later 20th and 21st century scholarship:. This is a version of the entire 81 verses with the author's commentaries included after each verse.

By following the precepts of The Book of Tao the aspirant can make himself fit for the study of practical Occultism In his compilation of lectures, Theosophy and Modern Thought , there is a brief section on Taoism from lecture IV. XXII No. Contrasts and opposites will ever exist until all the elements of the universe, at the end of a great evolutionary period, are absorbed in Tao. For Lao Tze, whether he discusses Tao as a "moral principle," or the implications of reflection upon Tao in the field of law and government, is simply meditating upon the Oneness of all life. The first article provides a theosophical viewpoint about "scriptural study:".

It goes on to discuss Lao Tzu's belief that "the best government was the government which governs the least" and uses the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching to explain "why he was not simply a forerunner of western 'anarchism. Reynolds, Lin Yutang, R. The Tao The Tao - a word with many shades of meaning but generally referred to as The Way or The Path - is the universal principle of existence, shown as natural, simple, and spontaneous.

Throughout the centuries the Tao has remained a living factor in philosophy not only in China but throughout the world.

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu: | dycuzupigyto.gq: Books

These two versions of the ancient classic are both poetic, and both contain helpful introductions. The Mears translation carries additional explanatory notes throughout the text, and these are of great assistance to the reader. Both books are reprints of earlier editions, the Mackintosh version being now for the first time published by Quest in one of the miniature editions which make such beautiful and acceptable gifts.

All lovers of the Tao Teh Ching will want these two little books on their permanent bookshelf. The wisdom of the great sage Lao-tzu — being wisdom — is timeless, and therefore is as pertinent today as it has always been. The version of which this Quest Book is a translation was first published in The translator spent 20 years in China as a missionary, and during that time came to regard Lao-tzu's work as a spiritual and inspirational guide. In addition to being a scholar in the Chinese language, Medhurst was a student of comparative religions and metaphysics, and his own commentaries and notes, added to his translations, are extremely valuable to the student.

In this Quest edition, some editorial revisions have been made in the commentary and notes, principally to update the printing style and omit some passages which are no longer relevant. No changes at all have been made in the actual translations. Dutton, Inc. It should come as no surprise to lovers of Winnie-the-Pooh that Pooh is a Taoist, but some readers may be amazed to find that even God may be a Taoist.

At least according to Raymond Smullyan, internationally known mathematical logician, there is a distinct possibility that God may be just that! Let's consider Pooh first: Pooh would say he should always be considered first since his "Way" is amazingly consistent with the philosophy of Chuang-tse. Pooh, after all, is the most effortless bear anyone has ever met.

And he does have certain principles; for example. Inner Nature. What, you may say, has that song to do with the Tao? What indeed is the Tao?

Further Reading on Tao-an

That is precisely what these two charming and witty books are all about, and no two more delightful books about a serious subject could possibly exist. Whether you think Eastern wisdom and we mean in this case Chinese philosophy has any importance for the pragmatic West matters little; since humor and insight are universal, these books make for such reading pleasure that, like the Tao, the experience of encountering Smyllyan's and Hoff's whimsical descriptions cannot really be defined.

Perhaps that is why Smullyan suggests that "The Tao is a Mysterious Female" title of one of his chapters.


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That was written some thousands of years ago, by a Taoist sage, but it really sounds like Pooh! The paradox, the spiritual fact of Tao, is that by non-interfering everything is accomplished. Not only have there been numerous articles in theosophical journals over the past years, but Lao Tzu has been translated and published many times by the Theosophical Publishing Houses. Others published over the years include translations by C. Part of the reason there have been so many editions of the Tao-Teh King is that the philosophy presented in this masterpiece of literature includes many significant, timeless and profound insights.

To this day, the Tao-Teh King remains one of the most translated and interpreted of all books. In any study of the Tao-Teh King , it becomes startlingly obvious that scholars have found no consensus on its meaning. To understand the Tao requires the reader to grasp it intuitively and freshly.

The unwrought simplicity of Lao Tzu is the embodiment of wisdom, and in that delicate embrace of the subtle and paradoxical there is quiet and understanding beyond words—aptly contained in the austere but precise symbol of Tao. To approach the study of the Tao-Teh King you have to be somewhat of a Taoist to begin with.

In a preamble to the study of the Koran, a similar requirement is asked of the reader: "Inwardly we have to be empty, and if we want to have insight and greater opening, then the approach is to be completely empty of notions, expectations and reactions. This is how we ought to approach the study of the Tao-Teh King or any book of wisdom or virtue. Such a study is a theosophical exploration so long as there is that vital quality of discernment, of intelligence in that exploration. A theosophist seeks what the Taoist seeks — an uncomplicated nature capable of wisdom and insight, simple in the sense of selfless.

The Tao is not Tao unless it can be laughed at. You can learn a lot through silence and meditation, which is one of the messages of the Tao Te Ching. Westerners have appreciated the fundamental writings of philosophical Taoism, the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu traditionally dated sixth century B. These books convey the essential Taoist themes of deep naturalism, inwardness, and gaining through giving. Further, they sparkle with humor and humanity as they direct one's gaze to the folly of solemnity and the wisdom of folly.

The most momentous religious event of the millennium beginning around the fifth century B. Was the life and work of the great religious founders. Only a half-dozen or so persons have filled this awesome vocation, becoming the pivotal figure of religions embracing hundreds of millions of persons, washing over vast geographical areas, and lasting fifteen to twenty-five centuries. Others, especially the Hebrew lawgivers and prophets, and the Vedic sages of India, have had a comparable role within their traditions.

Although their stories are encrusted with myth and legend, with the possible exception of Lao-tze they were undoubtedly real persons, and all incarnate in the way in which the person — though he may point beyond himself — has become the central focus of a new religious style.

The Dao de jing makes ready use of feminine symbolism to describe the Dao. The Dao is the creative source, which is potential itself and out of which flows existence — an existence sustained by the Dao "stream," just as a mother gives birth out of her womb to a child, who is nourished at her breast. Because the feminine symbolism is so pervasive in Daoism, some scholars, such as Ellen Marie Chen, have concluded that Daoism has ties to an ancient Mother Goddess and the Dao itself is the Great Mother.

There is much of interest in this little book, the Tao Te Ching , much of which is of immediate relevance to our own dealings with other people. Certainly a compassionate, humble, nonjudgmental, open-minded attitude is important for anyone to adopt towards others. Certainly, attempting to still the mind with daily meditation is highly desirable. We see in it an echo of many familiar Theosophical ideas. Others share our enthusiasm, however, since it has been translated into English more often than any other book except the Bhagavad Gita.

But what, exactly, is the nature of this little book? And why does it fascinate people? First of all, it is a short "classic" ching. It is traditionally divided into eighty-one chapters, which are further organized into two sections, one dealing with tao literally "way" and one dealing with te usually translated "virtue," but conveying the idea of "moral force". There are several different versions of the text, but each contains about five thousand Chinese characters.

That makes it a manageable task for a reader. Second , it is often cryptic. Many passages are susceptible of quite different translations. Not only does this offer a challenge to any translator or reader, it also leads to a feeling, on the part of many, that they know what it really means, whereas others have missed the point. In fact, Lao Tzu even encourages this attitude, when he says:. To have an "ancestor" and a "lord" was to be part of the social order, that is to say, not to be a wild man.

Here it is a metaphorical way of claiming that the Tao Te Ching has a coherent teaching. The last line is a metaphor to say that the teaching is, however, hidden under an apparently rough exterior guise. These lines make an important point for those who cannot read Chinese: one should always be cautious about citing any translation uncritically. And that applies to those in this essay, which are all my own. Third , where one finds general agreement among translators on the meaning of certain passages, the philosophic viewpoint that the Tao Te Ching offers is so strikingly different from our normal way of thinking that it causes us to sit back and reassess our own viewpoint--especially in the realms of metaphysics and interpersonal behavior.

Again, Lao Tzu alludes to this when he writes:. That is true of most really profound teachings. And that is why Theosophists find the Tao Te Ching a book well worth careful, repeated study. The answer to this question is crucial to any translation, since it will color how certain important words, and even whole passages, are translated. Although important metaphysical ideas are scattered throughout the Tao Te Ching, most of them can be found in the tao or first section of the book chs. The first idea is that Nature is unitary—one coherent, mysterious, interrelated ground of being, such that it cannot be delineated or described in language, but can only be apprehended in a desire-free, transcendental, unitive experience clearly a Theosophical idea :.

This too is a common Theosophical idea. So also is the third characteristic of Nature: it is impersonal, not partial to humans or any other beings:. This idea of the impersonality of Nature runs through all the major philosophical Taoist writings, and it is echoed in letter 10 88 in the chronological series of The Mahatma Letters to A. Nature is destitute of goodness or malice; she follows only immutable laws when she either gives life and joy, or sends suffering[and] death, and destroys what she has created.

The butterfly devoured by a bird becomes that bird, and the little bird killed byan animal goes into a higher form. It is the blind law of necessity and the eternal fitness of things, and hence cannot be called Evil in Nature. Fourth , manifested Nature is dual, having two aspects. The Secret Doctrine —5 has passages in which the"one absolute Reality" "rootless root," "Be-ness," or "Parabrahman" is called"that Essence which is out of all relation to conditioned existence" and is said to have two aspects, "abstract Space" and "abstract Motion," the latter also called the "Great Breath.

Blavatsky further says that once one passes from this level of abstraction, "duality supervenes in the contrast of Spirit or consciousness and Matter, Subject and Object. Finally , Lao Tzu mentions a trinitarian aspect to Nature. The manifested one not only gives rise to two, but two, in turn, gives rise to three--thence to the "ten thousand things":. The Secret Doctrine also identifies three logoi, the third of which is called "the Universal World-Soul, the Cosmic Noumenon of Matter, the basis of the intelligent operations in and of Nature," which sounds very much like the same idea expressed cryptically above.

There is one other passage from the Tao TeChing which some Theosophists have thought even suggests influence from or upon Hindu and Judeo-Christian theology:. The three words used here to characterize tao are yi, hsi, and wei in Chinese, suggesting a trinitarian parallel with yod, he, and vau or YHV of the Hebrew Divine Name transliterated as Jehovah, or, i, sha, and va of the Hindu "Isvara. In fact, H. There is much of interest [to Theosophists] in this little book, the Tao Te Ching, much of which is of immediate relevance to our own dealings with other people. It certainly does not resolve a tense situation.

And even if we prevail,the person we prevail over is surely left with resentment, as the Tao Te Ching points out:. But that is not to say that we will agree with everything in this little classic. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Way it recommends is in its concept of the ideal State or form of government. The latter has already been hinted at in the quotations from chapters 37 and 48 above on the concept of wu wei. It is a policy of laissez faire, in which there is little or no government interference in the lives of citizens.

Or as the following lines put it:. Certainly, as the Mahatmas point out in their letters to A. Sinnett, human free will is inviolable, and must not be subjected to the will of another. But the Tao Te Ching seems to imply that people only steal and defraud when they are aware of laws against such things — that, otherwise, they would be naturally free of such self-centered, acquisitive impulses.

That seems to border on the naive. Furthermore, the above passage fails to distinguish between criminal law and civil law. Surely, one would want some sort of general rules about which side of the road to drive on whether in an oxcart or an automobile , which days are workdays and which holidays, how streets are to be laid out and cared for, and so on. An orderly society needs such general organizing rules just as much as it needs prohibitions against murder and theft. Ideas compatible with Theosophy outnumber those at variance with it.

And,of course, there is much more that has not been discussed at all. Tao-an devoted himself chiefly to the supervision of the translation of new materials from India and central Asia; in he laid down a series of principles that were used by translators long afterward, although he himself knew no Sanskrit.

These new translations were of enormous importance for the understanding of the true meaning of Buddhist texts. Toward the very end of his life, Tao-an felt overwhelmed by the feeling that he could no longer assimilate this obviously more profound understanding of the Buddhist message. Taoan died in Ch'ang-an. The once voluminous writings of Tao-an survive today mainly in relatively short citations in other works. By continuing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Please set a username for yourself. People will see it as Author Name with your public flash cards. Biography Tao-an Facts Tao-an was the first native Chinese Buddhist monk of major importance. Tao-an's Teachings Tao-an's philosophy is known as the theory of Penwu, which may be translated as "Fundamental non-[differentiation], " and which attempts to interpret the Buddhist idea of sunya emptiness in terms reminiscent of Wang Pi. Further Reading on Tao-an The once voluminous writings of Tao-an survive today mainly in relatively short citations in other works.

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