I will sell you our translation of the Tao Te Ching

When we first started posting on this site, our primary focus was an ongoing project to translate the Tao Te Ching into our own words. We published 1 chapter a week for 81 weeks, and we like to think we did a pretty good job. This translation can still be found here.

Lately, however, our focus has been to re-edit this original translation and turn it into an e-book, a project that we have just finished. The translation is now available for purchase on Amazon.

We put a lot of effort into this and are quite proud of it. For an e-book put together by amateurs, it’s pretty solid, complete with a table of contents, hyperlinked definitions, and a series of great pictures that wear e-ink really well. Enjoy the online translation for free, but consider the e-book if you’re in the market for such a thing.

Also, if you would like to review the e-book on a blog or, better yet, on Amazon, send us an e-mail at nothingjustis@gmail.com and we’ll shoot you a copy.

Here is the brief intro to the translation:

The Tao Te Ching is an ancient Chinese text that has long been a source of inspiration and serenity for people around the world.

The very first line of the text warns the reader against valuing the words over what they are meant to convey. The Tao you can speak of and write about is not the actual Tao.

What this means is that the beauty and wisdom that lie at the core of the text can only be hinted at or approximated by words. Even now, many lifetimes after it was first recorded, people are still trying to successfully capture this essence, which is why it is one of the most translated texts on the planet.

The truth is, this essence cannot be captured in one form. The closest anyone can come to succeeding in this goal is to glimpse it for themselves, if only for a second. Only you can understand it. No one else, however brilliant, can understand it for you.

What we are trying to provide is an entry point into the ancient wisdom of the Tao Te Ching, a companion that seeks to help open up the wisdom to you, to help facilitate your own understanding.

Our version is the result of over a year spent poring over a number of different English translations, each one based on the same original Chinese text. We were surprised to find just how idealistically different some of these texts could be, considering their mutual origin. For the purposes of our own growth, we made every attempt to find the one thread that connects them all to the original and recorded this in our own words.

The result of this method, however, might not be most accurately described as a translation of the Tao Te Ching. What we’ve done is a rendering. Through the juxtaposition of multiple English translations, the cultural and ideological fingerprints of past translators were exposed like decaying flesh on a skeleton. We tried to separate the skeleton — the basic principles of the Tao Te Ching that themselves precede Lao Tzu — from its flesh, and reanimate the Tao Te Ching for a contemporary audience.

This, then, is the Tao Te Ching as we have come to understand it, complete with definitions of notoriously problematic words. The process of translating this text has changed our lives for the better. Hopefully, reading it will do the same for you.


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