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Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tze

or The Tao and its Characteristics translated by James Legge

A Free Online ebook

The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic text. According to tradition, it was written around 6th century BC by the Taoist sage Lao-Tze, a record-keeper at the Zhou Dynasty court, by whose name the text is known in China.

The Tao Te Ching is fundamental to the Taoist school of Chinese philosophy and strongly influenced other schools, such as Legalism and Neo-Confucianism. This ancient book is also central in Chinese religion, not only for Taoism but Chinese Buddhism, which when first introduced into China was largely interpreted through the use of Taoist words and concepts.

Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and even gardeners have used the Tao Te Ching as a source of inspiration. Its influence has also spread widely outside East Asia, aided by hundreds of translations into Western languages.

chapter 1

chapter 2

chapter 3

chapter 4

chapter 5

chapter 6

chapter 7

chapter 8

chapter 9

chapter 10

chapter 11

chapter 12

chapter 13

chapter 14

chapter 15

chapter 16

chapter 17

chapter 18

chapter 19

chapter 20

chapter 21

chapter 22

chapter 23

chapter 24

chapter 25

chapter 26

chapter 27

chapter 28

chapter 29

chapter 30

chapter 31

chapter 32

chapter 33

chapter 34

chapter 35

chapter 36

chapter 37

chapter 38

chapter 39

chapter 40

chapter 41

chapter 42

chapter 43

chapter 44

chapter 45

chapter 46

chapter 47

chapter 48

chapter 49

chapter 50

chapter 51

chapter 52

chapter 53

chapter 54

chapter 55

chapter 56

chapter 57

chapter 58

chapter 59

chapter 60

chapter 61

chapter 62

chapter 63

chapter 64

chapter 65

chapter 66

chapter 67

chapter 68

chapter 69

chapter 70

chapter 71

chapter 72

chapter 73

chapter 74

chapter 75

chapter 76

chapter 77

chapter 78

chapter 79

chapter 80

chapter 81

Interpretation and themes

Many believe the Tao Te Ching contains universal truths that have been independently recognized in other philosophies, both religious and secular. Depending on interpretation, some ambiguous passages have multiple readings, ranging from political advice for rulers to practical wisdom for people. The following themes and concepts are central to interpreting the text:

  • Ineffability
  • The Mysterious Female
  • Returning
  • Emptiness
  • Knowledge

The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tao Te Ching".

Tao Te Ching: A New English Version by Lao Tzu , translated by Stephen Mitchell
Own your own copy of this timeless work of priceless wisdom.

Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne W. Dyer
In this book, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer has reviewed hundreds of translations of the Tao Te Ching and has written 81 distinct essays on how to apply the ancient wisdom of Lao-tzu to today’s modern world. This work contains the entire 81 verses of the Tao, compiled from Wayne’s researching of 12 of the most well-respected translations of text that have survived for more than 25 centuries. Each chapter is designed for actually living the Tao or the Great Way today.