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CHAT!: Tao Te Ching translations (long-ish ;)

From:J Y S Czhang <czhang23@...>
Date:Wednesday, June 19, 2002, 5:35
In a message dated 06/18/2002 01.14.15 PM, the Always Interesting John Cowan
;) (jcowan@REUTERSHEALTH.COM) quotes me & writes:

>> BTW I recently acquired Jonathan Star's translation and commentary
>> _Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition_. I am fairly impressed with his >> format of verbatim translation and "literal character definitions that
>> the reader to create his or her own interpretation." My father is also >> impressed... thinks it is the best English translation to date. > >Excellent! Someone has needed to update the Paul Carus version (of 1898!) >--done in just this style -- for a long time.
I might as well share a bit of Star's translations (verbatim and literal character)... Star's literal character translation format is really interesting as it gives IMO the closest English equivalent of the Classical Chinese... - Jonathan Star's verbatim translation of Verse 33: One who knows others is intelligent One who knows himself is enlightened One who conquers others is strong One who conquers himself is all-powerful One who approaches life with force surely gets something One who remains content where he is surely gets everything One who gives himself to his position surely lives long One who gives himself to Tao surely lives forever - Jonathan Star's literal character translation (w/o diacritics): "chih" know/understand/realize/aware/[he who/one who] knows "jen" others/people/men "che" (he)/(she)/it/(the one) "chih" wise/intelligent/has wisdom/clever/learned/perceptive/knowing/ ~ knowledge of the outer world "tzu" self/himself/of himself/his person "chih" know/understand/realize/aware/[he who/one who] knows "che" (he)/(she)/it/(the one) "ming" enlightened/illumined/discernment/"with light"/wise/insight "sheng" conquer/victorious/outdo/overcome/vanquish[es] "jen" others/people/men "che" (he)/(she)/it/(the one) "yu" has/possesses "li" strength/physical strength/force[ful]/power }} requires force "tzu" self/himself/of himself "sheng" conquer/victorious/outdo/overcome "che" (he)/(she)/it/(the one) "ch'iang" mighty/strong/powerful/good [1] "chih" know/understand/realize/aware/[he who/one who] knows "tsu" content[ment]/enough/sufficient/satisfied where one is/when he has enough "che" (he)/(she)/it/(the one) "fu" rich/abundant/wealthy/(has everything) "ch'iang" strong effort/force/strength > Alt. "ch'in" (perseverance, determination, vigor, diligence) [1] "hsing" act/go out }} acts with vigor/"forges ahead"/"boldly goes" "che" (he)/(she)/it/(the one) "yu" has/is/possesses/ ~ is a sign of "chih" resolution/will/willpower/"inner resolve"/"steady purpose" }} "succeeds" "pu" not "shih" loses/lost/be separated from/departs from "ch'i" his/her/its/their "so" position/place/station/center/"whereone belongs"/place [withTao] /"allotted place"/ ~ dharma }}}}"stays where he is"/"accepts his lot in life" "che" (he)/(she)/it/(the one) "chiu" lasts long/endures/will endure "ssu" dies/[he who] dies "erh" yet/still/then/yet [his power] "pu" not/does not "wang" die/perish/cease >Alt. "wang" (forget, is forgotten) "che" (he)/(she)/it/(the one) [has/enjoys] "shou" lives long/lives on/longevity/immortal [1] "ch'iang" is usually used in a negative sense, meaning stiff and rigid...or "forcing things," which means going against nature. is used in a positive sense, meaning strength. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ... and as a bonus a few other translations/interpretations... - Robert G. Henricks' translation of Verse 33: To understand others is to be knowledgeable; To understand yourself is be wise. To conquer others is to have strength; To conquer yourself is to be strong. To know when you have enough is to be rich. To go forward with strength is to have ambition. To not lose your place is to last long. To die but not be forgotten - that's true long life. - Witter Bynner's translation of Verse 33: Knowledge studies others, Wisdom is self-known; Muscle masters brothers, Self-mastery is bone; Content need never borrow, Ambition wanders blind: Vitality cleaves to the marrow Leaving death behind. - David K. Reynolds' interpretation of Verse 33: Study others to become skillful. Study yourself to become wise. What else is there to study? Act on others to have influence. Act on yourself to have strength. Expressing your needs is one thing. Working to achieve them is quite another. Don't be distracted from your purpose. Don't lose yourself in rumination. As you "peeps" can see, having several translations of the "Tao Te Ching" (Daodejing) is a great tool for gaining insights into various forms of Taoism and the original text's possible meanings (as well as being a linguistic resource for getting a grasp of Classical Chinese and, possibly, applying certain linguistic ideas/features - esp'ly lexico-semantic - to conlanging). Ditto for having several translations of the "I Ching" (Yijing)... AFAIK there is nothing like Star's translation of the I Ching yet... For those who have an interest, the very best in-depth introduction to, commentary and translation of the I Ching is IMO is Hua-Ching Ni's "I Ching: The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth" (ISBN 0-937064-29-7). I make no apology for the length of this posting :P~ It was a pleasure all mine... mine, MINE, I tell you... *gigglabyte* Hanuman Zhang "the sloth is a chinese poet upsidedown" --- jack kerouac {1922-69} -------------------------------------------------- "There is no reason for the poet to be limited to words, and in fact the poet is most poetic when inventing languages. Hence the concept of the poet as 'language designer'." - O. B. Hardison, Jr. "La poésie date d' aujour d'hui." (Poetry dates from today) "La poésie est en jeu." (Poetry is in play) - Blaise Cendrars


John Cowan <jcowan@...>