- Tapa dura: 192 páginas
- Editor: Shambhala Publications Inc; Edición: Har/Com (1 de octubre de 2009)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 1590307445
- ISBN-13: 978-1590307441
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
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Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way (Inglés) Tapa dura – 1 oct 2009
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A National Book Award-winning author, and student of the Tao Te Ching for over 50 years, offers her own thoughtful rendering of the Taoist scripture, a version that lets the ancient text speak to modern people, and provides personal commentary, notes on the text, and 2 CDs of the text read by the author.
Biografía del autor
Ursula K. Le Guin is the winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Gandalf, Kafka, and National Book Awards. She is the author of many short stories and more than fifteen novels, including The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. She is also an honored author of children's books, poetry, and criticism.
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To illustrate what I mean, please bear with me as I compare one stanza. This is Stanza 30 in the three versions:
Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn't try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence even well intentioned,
always rebounds upon oneself.
The Master does his job
and then stops.
He understands that the universe
is forever out of control,
and that trying to dominate events
goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself,
he doesn't try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself
He doesn't need others' approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.
Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe.
For this would only cause resistance.
Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
Just do what needs to be done.
Never take advantage of power.
Achieve results, but never glory in them.
Achieve results, but never boast.
Achieve results, but never be proud.
Achieve results, because this is the natural way.
Achieve results, but not through violence.
Force is followed by loss of strength.
This is not the way of Tao.
That which goes against the Tao comes to an early end.
A Taoist wouldn't advise a ruler
to use force of arms for conquest;
that tactic backfires.
Where the army marched
grow thorns and thistles.
After the war
come the bad harvests.
Good leaders prosper, that's all,
not presuming on victory.
They prosper without boasting,
or domineering, or arrogance,
prosper because they can't help it,
prosper without violence.
Things flourish then perish.
Not the Way.
What's not the Way
Le Guin adds a note at the end of this stanza. She says, "The last verse is enigmatic: 'Things flourish then perish.'—How can this supremely natural sequence not be the Way?" She then directs the reader to another note under a later stanza where she picks up on Lao Tzu's use of a "baby" metaphor to describe how one following the Way acts in the world. She writes: "What is eternal is forever young, never grows old. But we are not eternal. It is in this sense that I understand how the natural, inevitable cycle of youth, growth, mature vigor, age, and decay can be "not the Way." The Way is more than the cycle of any individual life. We rise, flourish, fail. The Way never fails. We are waves. It is the sea."
So, rather than change the actual words to make the meaning more intelligible to our conceptual understanding, as in Feng/English, or simply avoid the whole issue by presenting a loose rendition that doesn't follow the original so closely, as in Mitchell, Le Guin presents the enigma as it is and then ponders and digs deeper to try to grasp what Lao Tzu was truly saying. She goes beyond a facile, generic understanding and comes up with something exquisitely profound. The Way isn't about how we're supposed to act in the world. It isn't about us as individuals at all. The Way is beyond all the flourishings and perishings of the temporal world of form. To live in the Way is to live rooted in the timeless, unchanging essence of our Being which simply is, always. Feng/English's and Mitchell's versions don't come close to penetrating into this realization. This is an example of why I consider Le Guin's version to be superior to the others.
One minor quibble: Le Guin tells us that the Chinese word "Te" is usually translated as Virtue. She translates it as Power throughout the book because she feels that the word Virtue in contemporary usage has lost its previous sense of "inherent quality and strength of a thing or person." I myself still prefer Virtue, maybe because I'm old fashioned and still think of Virtue in the old way, like the way Plato used it. Another word choice that I believe would convey the same meaning would be the "All-Good." That has both a feeling of Power and Virtue in it. As I said, it's a minor quibble.
First, it is not a translation, for Le Guin readily admits that she knows no Chinese. Rather, it is a synthesis from a number of translations, made to (1) emphasize the poetry and (2) to be consistent with Le Guin's understanding of the Tao Te Ching. (Weirdly, I once, under the influence of general semantics, set out to do the same thing, but never got very far...) Thus, her choices are always open to question ... which might be a good thing, and certainly seems in keeping with the spirit of the Tao as best I understand it, which is very little.
Second, this is not the first or the second, but something like the seventh rendering of the Tao Te Ching that I have read, partly for the reason suggested above, partly because I hoped through such diversity to achieve something like an understanding. (Up to now, my favorite translation has been that of Crowley, which Le Guin does not use as a source.)
Third, and most telling, this is a book you don't just read. You live with it, like a good Bible or Bhagavad-gita. Having read it once, though carefully and ruminatively, does not qualify me to say much about it.
My "up-to-now" above suggests that this is now my favorite English Tao Te Ching, and that would be an accurate suggestion. Le Guin's language conveys the meaning (if that's the correct word) of Lao Tzu (Laodze, Lao-tse, etc.) in a way I find particularly apt to that meaning.
I will not comment on what the "meaning" is, because that is something that you must discover for yourself if you are to get any value from it; and besides, I am not sufficiently expert to do other than make a fool of myself. But whether it is "meaning" or not, it is there, and Le Guin's rendering brings it to us as well as any I've read.