Reddit Reddit reviews Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition)

We found 11 Reddit comments about Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition). Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition)
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11 Reddit comments about Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition):

u/tetsugakusei · 11 pointsr/philosophy

For those that wish to approach this philosophically, I'd recommend the Ames translation of the DaoDeJing.

In dealing with Dao for the western reader you have to eradicate the mysticism angle that was simply a consequence of bad translations, poor scholarship and orientalism. There have been considerable finds excavated since your recommended translation and it's simply no longer good enough.

It is immensely important to eradicate the notion of Dao as 'The Way', and De as 'Virtue'. Ames introduction really does a good service on this.

I strongly agree with your recommendation of the Disputers of the Dao. I would also push for the Thinking through Confucius as it argues for an ontological and epistemological similarity with Daoism.

To the philosphers amongst us, the DaoDeJing mostly keeps the metaphysics in the first half of the 81 chapters.The closest western thinker is Luhmann (for Confucius it is Herbert Mead).

The Zhuangzhi is a gorgeous book.The first 3 chapters are some of the most beautiful, vivid and profound chapters ever written. The anti-realism starts with a story of the ginormous bird slowly rising in the sky. The perspectival moral relativism is drawn out in beautiful stories with a tone of magical realism.

Clearly, Heidegger was deeply influenced by the DaoDeJing. He quotes it 5 times within his materials. And you have to wonder if Cook Ding was the inspiration for his hammer analysis.

Cook Ting was cutting up an ox for Lord Wen-hui. At every touch of his hand, every heave of his shoulder, every move of his feet, every thrust of his knee, zip! zoop! He slithered the knife along with a zing, and all was in perfect rhythm, as though he were performing the dance of the Mulberry Grove or keeping time to the Ching-shou Music.

"Ah, this is marvelous!" said Lord Wen-hui. "Imagine skill reaching such heights!"

Cook Ting laid down his knife and replied, "What I care about is the Way, which goes beyond skill. When I first began cutting up oxen, all I could see was the ox itself. After three years I no longer saw the whole ox. And now I go at it by spirit and don't look with my eyes. Perception and understanding have come to a stop and spirit moves where it wants. I go along with the natural makeup, strike in the big hollows, guide the knife through the big openings, and follow things as they are. So I never touch the smallest ligament or tendon, much less a main joint."

"A good cook changes his knife once a year, because he cuts. A mediocre cook changes his knife once a month, because he hacks. I've had this knife of mine for nineteen years and I've cut up thousands of oxen with it, and yet the blade is as good as though it had just come from the grindstone. There are spaces between the joints, and the blade of the knife has really no thickness. If you insert what has no thickness into such spaces, then there's plenty of room, more than enough for the blade to play about it. That's why after nineteen years the blade of my knife is still as good as when it first came from the grindstone.

(Chapter 3 - The Secret of Caring for Life)

EDIT: May I recommend this extraordinary effort to deal with the whole range of Chinese thought and to compare it with the weirdest group in human history: the North American undergrad

u/dookie_shoos · 7 pointsr/askphilosophy

To add on to legionarykoala's answer, heaven is translated from the word Tian, which has stood to mean a few different things in Taoism. From Roger T. Ames and David L. Hall's translation of the Dao De Jing:

>In the earliest canonical literature, such as the Book of Documents and the Book of Songs, tian is often anthropomorphized, suggesting its intimate relationship with the process of euhemerism—the ascent of historical heroes to the status of gods—that grounds Chinese ancestor reverence. A qualification has to be made with respect to the use of the Greek term “euhemerism” to describe this process as it unfolded in early China. That is, while in Greece “a” became “B,” in China, “a” became “A.” That is, there are good reasons to assume that tian is not an exception to the claim that Chinese gods are, by and large, dead people. Although this claim is not uncontested, at least we can say that, in the absence of some transcendent creator Deity, tian, in this early conceptualization, would seem to stand for a cumulative and continuing cultural legacy that is focused by the spirits and spirituality of those who have come before.


>There is also a strong association between tian and the natural environment, as well as with its ongoing operations. Tian does not speak directly, but communicates effectively (although not always clearly) through human-generated oracles, through perturbations in the climate, and through alterations in the natural conditions that contextualize the human world. Tian participates in a nonverbal discourse with the most worthy persons in the human community. Given the interrelatedness and interdependency of the various orders defining the early Chinese cosmology, what affects one, affects all. This interdependence assumes that a failure of order in the human world will be reflected by a sympathetic disintegration of order in the natural environment.

>But with this assumed mutuality, there was a growing sense that proper conduct in the human world can guarantee stability in the natural world. In some of the early texts, the more spiritual dimension of tian continues to be emphasized. But as human beings develop a sense of control over their own natural environment, the emphasis in many texts, including the Daodejing, tends to shift to an increasingly impersonal tian that denotes the regular operations of nature. Although impersonal, this evolving notion of tian retains its sense of spirituality as the object of a kind of natural piety.

Ames and Hall also had the foresight of how Tian could be confused with the Dao, and kindly make a helpful distinction for us:

>How is tian and tiandi so described in chapters 16 and 25 [of the Dao De Jing] to be distinguished from dao—a generic name for the field of experience as construed from each and every perspective? First, it should be noted that these terms are all simply explanatory categories that are organic and reflexive, where one overlaps with and leads into the next. This being said, one distinction between dao and tian lies in the intimate yinyang relationship between tian and ren: between tian and the human world. That is, while daode is a generic category that stipulates a correlative relationship between any particular thing or event and its field of experience, and is thus inclusive of the totality of orders, the correlative tianren is a dimension within daode that tends to highlight more specifically the relationship between human beings and their natural, social, and cultural context.

ALRIGHT. I know this is a huge information dump, but it's all to make sure one doesn't confuse "Heaven" with what it means in Abrahamic Religions. While Tian can be pretty vague, it's distinct from how Heaven may typically be interpreted. If you're not quite sick of reading yet, there's one last excerpt I'd like to leave you with to really drive this distinction home:

>...tianren is a correlative category that entails a symbiotic yet hierarchical relationship: Tian is shaped by the human experience, and what it means to be human is constantly being reshaped by tian. That is to say, tian is not just the natural world, independent of human artifice. Rather, tian is a living, cumulative regularity, inclusive of nature and nurture that is not only inseparable from the human experience, but is in an important degree expressive of it.

Taoism is confusing.

u/giltwist · 3 pointsr/politics

I know that it's been tough. The Hall & Ames translation of the Daodejing specifically critiques former translations as being tainted by Western thought.

u/narcoleptic_insomnia · 2 pointsr/taoism

Is that from this text of Ames & Hall? If so, what did you think of their book?

u/SolarRebellion · 2 pointsr/occult

I take a philosophical daoist and indirect realist approach to my studies. Check out Roger Ame's translation of The Dao De Jing for a very philosophically sound approach to Daoism.

Essentially I believe that there is an ultimate reality which is Dao. Dao can be described as the "way in the making." It is an ontology of becoming through the endless reconfiguration of opposites (yin and yang). We cannot fully comprehend this metaphysical reality, as "the Dao that can be named is not the true Dao."

The best we can do is to experiment and systematically explore nature which is a manifestation of the ultimate reality. However, our attempts to understand nature cannot be the true Dao. As soon as we name Dao, it becomes something else (Dao is always changing).

u/LaoTzusGymShoes · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

Dao is not only a noun, it's a verb, in the form of "way-making". That's a big one. "Universe" is a term from the western understanding, which is object-oriented, whereas the Daoist sees things in terms of an event-based ontology. Dao is more the guiding principle that describes how the particulars of wanwu operate, than the whole set of everything.

If you're really interested, this is (in my opinion) a really good translation. It's by two western philosophers, and they give a lot of clarity in an area that's often hard to really get a solid hold on.

u/roylennigan · 1 pointr/philosophy

I like this version because it allows for some interpretation. It attempts to be more of a literal or rough translation, letting the reader interpret how the phrases are to be put together, rather than a smooth-flowing literary translation, as previous texts usual are. It has the Mandarin text alongside, as well.

My personal favorite text of the Dao is the "Writings of Zhuangzi" (or Chuang Tzu in Wade-Giles). The first seven chapters are most clearly associated with Zhuangzi himself, while the rest are, if not written by the man himself, based on the original themes. What I like about it, is that it professes an overall playful outlook on all things, while elevating the importance of skillful knowledge, and making light of theoretical knowledge. This is especially funny (and should be, at the heart of this philosophy) because philosophy is generally about the theoretical.

In another, somewhat similar thread, I recommended Kupperman's intro to Asian philosophy, which, although brief, might help you get an overall idea of where these ideas are coming from and how they formed. Its a great book for putting the ideas in context.

u/wuliheron · 1 pointr/taoism

Le Guin's book is of particular interest because she is a master of salt-of-the-earth western metaphors, widely recognized as possibly the greatest master of metaphors in the English language today. She has studied the Tao with the best of us and has her usual distinctive interpretation.

The second book, contains an account of Pragmatic Taoism, which is what pre-dated mainland Chinese Taoism, in the isolated southern mountains. Its not my favorite book, but there is no other book like it on the subject that I know of.

My personal favorite, is the Peter Merel GNL interpolation available for free online.

u/Doink11 · 1 pointr/taoism

If you're looking for a philosophical (in the western sense) take on it, you should try Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation:

I think it'd be right for you, since it A) is intended for people who've studied western philosophy, and therefor has commentary focused towards that type of understanding, and is translated with an eye for clarity of the text to the original meaning as opposed to poetic 'flow'; and B) because it includes the original Chinese text (with helpful glossary) alongside the translation. It's a very rigorous approach.

u/OldDog47 · 1 pointr/taoism

I think psychology and philosophy both have as a central concern the development of the individual. Psychology seems to be more often concerned with individual ego and problems that have ego implications. Philosophy, particularly Eastern philosophies, are concerned about the ego as something that gets in the way of full realization. Daoist philosophy in particular is concerned about developing in the individual a sense of realization of the continuity of existence. This means realizing that the individual is part of the unity of existence and that the relationship between the individual and the totality of existence is a two way street, mutual or symbiotic.

>In psychological sense, it's bad because you assume that the other person sees things like you see.

This psychological case is a special case, contrasting one individual point of view to another's. The philosophical relationship between and individual and existence is much boarder and includes the notion of mutuality.

>But in philosophical sense, there is no difference because viewing you as the same with the world is the same with viewing the world is like you?

The philosophical case does not necessarily have to resolve to no difference between you and the world. It does not mean loss of individuality, uniqueness. It is more a case of realizing that just as you can influence events in the world, the events of the world are also represented in you. All events and unfolding are unique and mutual. It is not you and the world but both. The philosophical problem is seeing the events/unfolding of the world in such a way as to allow the individual to act more in harmony with the unfolding world rather than in contention within. The developmental goal is that in integrally understanding the mutual existence and functioning of the self and the world, one will naturally respond in accord. One still maintains their individuality and the ability to act in the world. The actions are just more fully informed.

Admittedly, the above may be a poor explanation, as my understanding is still developing.


Something else you pointed out in the OP was an interest in linguistics. Among the modern day writers, Roger Ames is probably one who is more acutely aware of the role language plays in our individual expression of self. I might suggest the following, if you are interested in daoist philosophy. I think it plays very well from a psychological point of view.