Tao Te Ching ~ Dao De Jing in English

An Explanatory Translation: Stan Rosenthal ~ Stan Rosenthal's translation is prefaced by a lengthy introduction and a lot of background material. Less poetic than Merel's interpolation, and may be best for the first-time reader.

An Interpolation: Peter A. Merel ~ Peter Merel's interpolation is based on several translations of the Tao Te Ching. It is also available with hyperlinks to the Chinese text (in gif format that does not require special browser settings) from Chinapage, too.

A Widely-Read Translation: R. B. Blakney ~ The Raymond Blakney translation is available from several sites. Perhaps the simplest presentation of his translation, however, is from Mountain Man Graphics.

A Recent Translation: Charles Muller ~ Charles Muller's translation available online at his rewarding site.

A Translation in Progress: Chad Hansen ~ Chad Hansen is an important translator and interpreter who grew up in the mountains of Utah. He did graduate study at the University of Michigan, and currently teaches philosophy at The University of Hong Kong. His translation in progress deserves attention.

An Etymological Resource: Rick Harbaugh ~ Rick Harbaugh provides a Chinese text that does not require special web-browser settings, with the option of activating by a mouse click on each written Chinese character a presentation in English of their root meanings. This is part of a larger study in the genealogy of Chinese written characters that is connected with a Chinese-English etymological dictionary written by Harbaugh. No complete, continuous translation to English is provided. Instead see the translation by Charles Muller and E.Depot's data-bank of translations, and to this page. After you are basically acquainted with the English-language text, Harbaugh's work could help you go more deeply into its history and possible meanings. If you find the information at Harbaugh's site more detailed than you can absorb, then visit E.Depot's very simple and brief introduction to the meaning of Daoist Chinese characters.

Earlier Translations of Historical Interest ~ An older version that has been widely influential is the translation by James Legge (1815-97). He was a contributor to the pioneering "Sacred Books of the East" edition of Asian scriptures. Also available, although an unusual resource that may reveal more about the occult subcultures of the modern West than about the wisdom of ancient China, is the Aleister Crowley translation. Happily, there is a cross-cultural link from the other direction in Lin Yutang's translation.

Several Different Translations Compared ~ Because of the compressed communication of the text and the differences between modern English and classical Chinese, none of the numerous translations is entirely successful. So it can be helpful to see comparisons of translations of the eighth chapter. Of course, you might like to check all these against a text of the Chinese.

A Non-Dualist Rhyming Riff ~ Jim Clatfelter's "Headless Tao" version is an interpretive work of love by an accomplished gardener and amateur mystic. (Is there another kind?) By turns fanciful and insightful, like a nursery rhyme or like a jazz riff, this compliment to the text makes the reader wonder if it is a spoof or simply the truth. If comparison is required in order to appreciate this version, then see another free adaptation of the text by Ron Hogan.

A German Translation ~ Rudolf Bachofen's translation of the Tao Te Ching into German.

Related Internet Resources ~ There is a useful page of text links on Chinese Cultural Studies: Texts from a course at Brooklyn College.

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