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Lao-Tzu: Te-Tao Ching [Paperback]

Robert G. Henricks
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 30 1992
Lao-tzu's "Te-Tao Ching" has been treasured for thousands of years for its poetic statement of life's most profound and elusive truths. This new translation, based on the 1973 discovery of two copies of the manuscript more than five centuries older than any others known, corrects many defects of the later versions. In his extensive commentary, Professor Henricks reevaluates traditional interpretations.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

Based on contemporaneous texts discovered by archeologists in China in the last 20 years, this new translation of the Te-tao Ching is very readable and enjoyable yet at the same time meticulously researched and accurate. It has a clear introduction, extensive commentary, and complete notes. A library wanting complete holdings on Chinese philosophy should surely consider this first of a five-volume series on Chinese classics that will appear in the next years. Otherwise, it will suffice to have translations of Lao-Tzu, the Tao (The Way), and/or the Tao-Te Ching by some or all of its past translators, including Stephen Mitchell, Wing-Tsit Chan, H.B. Crill, Witter Byner, Feng and English, Arthur Waley, Lin Yutang, and James Legge.
- Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, N.Y.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Because readers of the Te-tao ching fall into two groups with different levels of expertise, I have repeated the translation in two independent segments. Read the first page
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Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Whatever works best for you July 10 2000
Format:Paperback
There are hundreds of translations of the TTC available in English. I found this one to be a little lifeless. I was surprised to find that the premise of calling the book the Te Tao Ching, rather than the Tao Te Ching was that the translator thought the two halves of the book would have been put in a basket one on top of each other, in reverse order. I do not know why it is important to reorder the work, for me it has always made sense in the traditional order, i.e. first to understand what the Tao is, and then how it is applied (in the 'Te' section). Reversing this seems unproductive.
If you would like to read a translation that is perhaps a little more poetic and which contains a more intelligible sense of the living ideas, then you could try the translation by Jane English. The ideas in the TTC are hard to describe, because they are fundamental and help us understand the workings of everything: anything from the course a trickling rivulet of water takes down a pane of glass, to how to govern a state of millions of people. I think the Jane English translation communicates these ideas effectivly. In fact, it is best to read more than one translation: it is always helpful for interpretation to listen to the same idea as expressed by more than one person.
This edition reproduces the entire Chinese text, which will clearly be of use to many people who are studying the original.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
In studying the Chinese language, you find the combination of the characters can bring forth feelings and un-nameable images. This is why there are so many different translations of the Tao-Te Ching in English, each one painting a slightly different picture in one's mind. This translation begins with an introduction to Taoism. A great overview for anyone unfamiliar with Taoism. Also explained is some common misconceptions most people have about Taoism (like the original texts did not have chapter separations, and "virtue" [te] actually came before "the way" [tao]) The actual translation is broken up into two parts. The first is the Te-Tao in it's poetic form, in English, translated from the new texts. (One of the better English translations I've seen). The second translation is very useful and interesting if you don't speak Chinese and would like to better understand the true meaning of the texts. The original texts are on the right of the page, while the English definition is on the left. Underneath, he adds notes regarding inconsistancies, missing characters, or just insight addressing lines some people often have problems understanding. Overall, if I would suggest one translation of the Te-Tao Ching, it would definately have to be this one. Intelligent and insightful, it allows words written over 2,300 years ago to still make people today smile with understanding.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The path to contentment Nov. 7 2001
Format:Paperback
The Te Tao Ching, or The Book of the Way and its Power, written around 500 B.C., is traditionally attributed to a man named Li Erh. Because of his wisdom, he is given the title "Lao Tzu", which means "old Master". Many historians believe, however, that it better represents the ancient Chinese thought of around 300 B.C., directly following and reacting to the Era of the Warring States. In any case, the book is a collection of teachings on the correct method of living with virtue and the following the Way, the path to contentment. The Lao Tzu communicates his ideals to us through a variety of means, telling us how, in his mind, we are to achieve a virtuous and content life.
Lao Tzu uses the phrase "uncarved wood" to represent the way the common people should be. This is particularly effective because when we read it, we get a vivid, clean, natural image. The uncarved wood is unaltered by man. It is, according to Lao Tzu, "genuine and simple" (26), and this is how people should exist.
So, "in the government of the Sage: He empties [the people's] minds, and fills their bellies. Weakens their ambition, and strengthens their bones" (55). By keeping the people fed, healthy, and without knowledge, the people become happy, simple, and contented. He "causes the people to be constantly without knowledge and without desires... Then there is nothing that will not be in order" (55). According to Lao Tzu, when you "throw away knowledge,... the people will benefit a hundredfold" (71). Knowledge seems to be unnecessary for true contentment. In fact, it seems to hinder it. When people have knowledge, they become ambitious. When the people are ambitious, they will not be content in their lives.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The path to contentment Nov. 7 2001
Format:Paperback
The Te Tao Ching, or The Book of the Way and its Power, written around 500 B.C., is traditionally attributed to a man named Li Erh. Because of his wisdom, he is given the title "Lao Tzu", which means "old Master". Many historians believe, however, that it better represents the ancient Chinese thought of around 300 B.C., directly following and reacting to the Era of the Warring States. In any case, the book is a collection of teachings on the correct method of living with virtue and the following the Way, the path to contentment. The Lao Tzu communicates his ideals to us through a variety of means, telling us how, in his mind, we are to achieve a virtuous and content life.
Lao Tzu uses the phrase "uncarved wood" to represent the way the common people should be. This is particularly effective because when we read it, we get a vivid, clean, natural image. The uncarved wood is unaltered by man. It is, according to Lao Tzu, "genuine and simple" (26), and this is how people should exist.
So, "in the government of the Sage: He empties [the people's] minds, and fills their bellies. Weakens their ambition, and strengthens their bones" (55). By keeping the people fed, healthy, and without knowledge, the people become happy, simple, and contented. He "causes the people to be constantly without knowledge and without desires... Then there is nothing that will not be in order" (55). According to Lao Tzu, when you "throw away knowledge,... the people will benefit a hundredfold" (71). Knowledge seems to be unnecessary for true contentment. In fact, it seems to hinder it. When people have knowledge, they become ambitious. When the people are ambitious, they will not be content in their lives.
Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at new versions of the text
The reviewer Mr. Forrest couldn't understand why the translator changed the name of the text or re-ordered the two parts. Read more
Published on June 9 2001 by Richard L. Rankin
3.0 out of 5 stars hard for us guys . . .
i laugh as i read through the other reviews: the problem is not the powerfulness of the text but the western mind's inability to comprehend and give credit to something that does... Read more
Published on Sept. 23 2000 by Account Killer
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Henrick's excellent translation of the Te-Tao Ching
The book of Lao Tzu - Te-Tao Ching is one of the ancient Chinese classics of Taoist philosophy that has been read by scholars and translated and published in books many times with... Read more
Published on June 30 2000 by "giovanni77"
5.0 out of 5 stars Te-Tao ching
I highly recomend this book. Of the half dozen or so different publications of this work, this particular version is by far my favorite. Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2000 by Patrick W. Austin
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed my outlook on life
This book helped me to fundamentally alter how I see myself, others, and the world around me: I used to view them as separate entities; I now see them as inseparable. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2000 by A. M. Hendler
5.0 out of 5 stars dozens of others
A few years ago, I bought this book at a garage sale, read it, loved it, and then promptly had it stolen from me. Read more
Published on Aug. 15 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a technically excellent version of the Tao-Te Ching
If you are looking for technically accurate translation, this is the book to have. Based on the recent Ma-Wang-Tui texts, this is a must have for any serious student of Taoism. Read more
Published on March 26 1999 by Brooks
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent translation with commentary and analysis
In searching for a good translation of the Tao-Te/Te-Tao Ching, I was delighted to find this book. A translation of the remnants of two early copies of the book, it provides new... Read more
Published on Sept. 1 1998
4.0 out of 5 stars one of the better and more interesting translations
this is an enjoyable, intersting and illuminating edition - taking the translation of Tao to a new level of understanding. Read more
Published on Aug. 24 1997
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