Taoism

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by Bowser, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

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    Is it a philosophy or a religion? Also, what is the Tao?

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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
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  3. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    Not sure, but I like it for reasons I can't explain.
     
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  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Yes
    Water flowing downhill is flowing with the tao.
     
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  7. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

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    Everyone must follow the universal energy without resistance?
     
  8. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    from the borg
    (and the tao)
    "Resistance is futile"
    ...........................
    "The tao that can be spoken of is not the eternal tao"
    That being "said"
    When you find the right path,
    You will flow along it effortlessly
    as water flowing downhill
     
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  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    nice.
     
  10. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

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    “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

    Gospel of Thomas
     
  11. akoreamerican Registered Senior Member

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    “If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.”

    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
     
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  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I read the Tao Te Ching once. It's very peaceful just reading it.

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  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The English translations vary considerably.
     
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Perhaps this is relevant. Or maybe not.

    ----
    Zhaozhou to his Master, "What is the Tao?"

    Nanquan: "Tao is nothing else than the ordinary mind."

    Zhaozhou: "Is there any way to approach it?"

    Nanquan: "Once you intend to approach it, you are on the wrong track."

    Zhaozhou, continuing to inquire: "Barring conscious intention, how can we attain to a knowledge of the Tao?"

    The master: "Tao belongs neither to knowledge nor to no-knowledge. For knowledge is but illusive perception, while no-knowledge is mere confusion, If you really attain true comprehension of the Tao, unshadowed by the slightest doubt, your vision will be like the infinite space, free of all limits and obstacles. Its truth or falsehood cannot be established artificially by external proofs."

    Source: https://dharmanet.org/coursesM/27/zenstory17c.htm
     
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    First line of the Tao Te Ching:

    "The Tao that can be put into words is not the real Tao."
     
  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, we know what the Tao reads like. The whole book is in that vein.
     
  17. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    Ahhhh, brings back fond memories of writing a lengthy treatise on the notion of wu nien (roughly, no thought) as found in the Platform Sutra of the Huineng, Sixth Patriarch of Ch'an Buddhsim. If only I could remember just what I said.
     
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Then the memories would be fonder I suppose.
     
  19. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    I think it might be the other way round, in this case. As I recall, I tried to tie in a critique of instrumental reason ("calculative thinking," in Heideggerese) which worked about as well the weirdly tacked-on Holocaust stuff in the recent remake of Suspiria. Some stuff is best recalled only superficially.
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Somewhere out there, long out of print and far too expensive for my shelf, is an early English translation of the Tao Te Ching with the Chinese ideograms/logograms on the facing pages, and alternative English renderings of them with the reasoning behind a particular choice presented in the notes.

    The Chinese is of course archaic - the experts tell me even high level literacy in modern Mandarin or the like does not help that much - but that just means everyone is on a similar footing with this stuff.

    I covet that book. I would like to see another like it, with modern scholarship involved.
     
  21. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    Do you recall the translator?

    I've always liked Stephen Mitchell's translation (also, his Rilke is great--though not quite as magical as Robert Hunter's translations). Apparently, Ursula K. LeGuin also did one, but I've not seen it; I suspect it's a good one.

    Few seem to appreciate the magnitude of such a task.

    Joan Stambaugh translated Heidegger's "Language in the Poem," on "situating" Trakl's verse--a weird sort of topological endeavor. Yet, she did not translate ~seven pages of the text, deeming such virtually untranslatable into English. And that's just German to English! Another guy tackled these seven pages decades later, yet for the life of me I can't recall the author or the name of the book.
     
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    It's a personal favorite of mine - the most thoughtful and affectionate version I know.

    And your reference sent me back, first time in a while, to be reminded that in it LeGuin provides the name of that translator who provided the contiguous ideograms - it was her introduction to the work, as a child. Paul Carus, 1898 (1913 printed) But it was DT Suzuki in the center:
    -> "The first assignment for Daisetz "Great Simplicity" T. Suzuki in 1898 was to help Paul Carus with the Tao Te Ching. Dr. Carus knew no Chinese, but he wanted this translation to a scholarly one and he had Suzuki supply a character by character gloss, as best he could, but Suzuki found himself unable to check Carus's use of Teutonic abstractions. "The Chinese are masters in reproducing the most subtle changes in their innermost feelings," Suzuki wrote of his first collaboration with Carus, "thus, in order to translate passages from Lao Tzu, I had to explain to Dr. Carus the feeling behind each Chinese term. But being himself a German writing in English, he translated these Chinese ideas into abstract conceptual terms. If only I had been more intellectually equipped then," he thought later, "I might have been better able to help him understand the original meaning."
    In order to supply a corresponding Chinese text, Suzuki cut out the Chinese characters from Chinese and Japanese books, and pasted them in the proper places on the manuscript pages, which where then reproduced photographically [and then printed in 1913]."
    - "How the Swans Came to the Lake," by Rick Fields, 1981, p. 139
    lifted from https://mpgtaijiquan.blogspot.com/2019/01/tao-te-ching-chapter-27.html - a link maybe worth checking:
    "A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes over 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter. Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization. Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter."

    online link to Carus/Suzuki: https://www.sacred-texts.com/tao/crv/index.htm


    LeGuin's is not a translation, exactly - she includes some background and chapter by chapter notes on how it was done and why she made some choices and edits (including, for example, her decision to use "power" rather than the more accurate "virtue" for the character "te" throughout - a choice I firmly disagree with, in all translations, but she makes her case). She occasionally invokes her author's prerogative to settle scholarly debates 'by ear', so to speak - including by rearrangement of line and stanza order from the most common, even replacing words and removing entire lines that scholars have questioned (as possible later interpolations, say) if they don't seem to fit. This seems entirely right and sound practice, to me, for a living as opposed to a pedagogical rendering of the work. The changes are noted, in the notes.

    This is her collaborating scholar: https://www.shambhala.com/authors/o-t/j-p-seaton.html
    and the publication context: https://www.shambhala.com/tao-te-ching-readers-guide-great-taoist-classic/
     
  23. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    Ah, Suzuki and Carus. I know I've encountered that one before, but it was long ago--I should seek it out again.

    Interesting observation on the obstacles of translating from a German framework--even if he was writing in English. A number of Japanese thinkers have a strong affinity for 20th century German thought--Nishida, Nishitani. Sekida, writing in Zen Training, found Husserl and Heidegger (as well as Dostoevsky--specifically, his descriptions of the epileptic ecstatic experience) the best medium through which to translate notions of satori, as well as for breaking down the fundamental components of a thought-action.

    And, of course, Heidegger said something to this effect of Suzuki: "If I understand this man correctly, this is what I have been trying to say in all of my writings."

    I think Carus was somewhat a proponent of American Pragmatism--I know he corresponded with C.S. Peirce and John Dewey. Whether that may have proved helpful or a hindrance in his understanding of the Tao Te Ching is debatable, but I personally would argue the former.

    Thanks.

    Just downloaded her book. The influence on her work is apparent, especially in The Dispossessed. Really, even in something like "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omalas." Re: te as "power," rather than "virtue": I'm not sure how much Nietzsche influenced Le Guin, but my take--if she did read Nietzsche--is that she adhered to a more enlightened, anarchistic reading, emphasizing restraint and reconciliation. But then, her use of "power" there also brings to mind Kropotkin and Max Stirner, whom I know she did, in fact, read.
     

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