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Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained…
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Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations)

by Lao Tzu

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After researching many translations of the Tao Te Ching, I chose the annotated version by Derek Lin. His translation is clear and easy to read, but so are certain other translations. What makes Lin's work truly stand out are the extensive annotations he provides, which explain the meaning and thinking behind each passage. In many cases, the meaning is deep and interesting, relating in some way to Lao Tzu's experiences. No translation (or even the ability to read the text in the original) would be sufficient to make the meaning clear without any annotations, because Lao Tzu said many things in a very concise or metaphorical way. Only with the help of the context and explanation provided by a scholar, such as Lin, is it possible for a modern reader who is not a student of Taoism to appreciate the full impact and import of many passages. Accordingly, I highly recommend Lin's annotated translation for readers who want to understand what Lao Tzu was really getting at in his passages. Note that this does diminish the ability for the reader to project his/her own meaning onto the passages, reducing their seeming poetry, mystery, and lyrical beauty at least slightly. So, if you are more interested in reading the Tao Te Ching for its aesthetic qualities than for its specific meaning, you might prefer a version that lacks annotations. ( )
  jrissman | Jul 25, 2016 |
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