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weather: cold & wet
outside: 7.8°C
mood: brooding
Excerpt from the Foreword of the Tao Teh Ching translated by John C. H. Wu:

Both Confucianism and Taoism complement each other, however incompatible they seem at first sight to be. The former places a man in his proper relation to his fellow-men, the latter in proper relation to nature. A third philosphy, Buddhism, though introduced from India, deals with the problem of human suffering and with man's ultimate destiny. These three inheritances ... have moulded the thinking not only of the Chinese people but of all Eastern Asia. There is truth, then, in the common saying that every Chinese wears a Confucian cap, a Taoist robe and Buddhist sandals.

Whereas Confucius counseled his people to labor untiringly for the welfare and dignity of man in society, Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu on the other hand cautioned them against excessive interference. In their view, the urge to change what by nature is already good only increases the sum-total of human unhappiness. These two urges: on the one hand, to do something, and on the other hand, not to do too much, are forever contending in our natures. The man who can maintain a just balance between them is on the road to social and intellectual maturity.

Arthur W. Hummel,
Former Head, Division of Orientalia
Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
1962

I bought it because it has the 道德經 text in Traditional characters alongside Dr. Wu's English translation.


Comments

kaseido
Nov. 4th, 2005 12:08 am (UTC)
how could they both be espoused side by side, in harmony by an entire culture for thousands of years?

I find that an intriguing question. For me, I wouldn't even know where to start looking, in terms of Chinese cultural history.

I used to be very put off by Taoist principles.

*g* *So* not surprised! You're the most Confucian person I've ever known! I'll be *very* interested in hearing of your impressions this time around.

My favorite translation is the Stephen Mitchell, but it's very idiosyncratic, and probably the far extreme of not your thing/unhelpful in providing insights into the original....
bride
Nov. 4th, 2005 01:50 am (UTC)
You're the most Confucian person I've ever known!

Haha! To be fair, I don't agree with everything that's attributed to Confucius either =)

My favorite translation is the Stephen Mitchell, but it's very idiosyncratic, and probably the far extreme of not your thing/unhelpful in providing insights into the original....

Ah, interesting... I had to go make sure that wasn't the "Tao of Pooh" guy. =)
kaseido
Nov. 4th, 2005 04:49 am (UTC)
Ah, interesting... I had to go make sure that wasn't the "Tao of Pooh" guy. =)

*wince*

Sheesh! :P

No, I'm partial to freer translations - I've got Mitchell's Gilgamesh sitting on my in-shelf, and I'm wild about the Lombardo Iliad and Odyssey -

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eLouai
bride
The Bride of the First House

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