Read the Dao De Jing
Dao De Jing Study Guide and Translations
The Dao De Jing, written by Lao Zi (over 2000 years ago), is a profound little book that captivates the minds of millions of people around the world. Although obscure and difficult to fathom, its renowned popularity is testament to its intriguing contents which speak to something deep within us. It speaks to a part of us that cannot be described by words.
Oftentimes, You will read the dao de jing and capture the essence of its meaning in its verses. And oftentimes, you will read verses that somehow make sense (which didn't make any sense upon reading them the first time) after not having read them for months or years. What does this mean? It means that something inside you changed.
The additional difficulty with reading the dao de jing is that it is written in Ancient Chinese. Native Chinese Speakers do not read the dao de jing directly, they read what has been translated into modern Chinese and any version that you read is a translation of this, combined by the translator's personal interpretation and understanding. This means there could be several layers of translation and interpretation before the final, readable result becomes available (which every individual will also interpret differently upon reading). This is why it is good to read many different translations from many different authors to get a better chance of grasping the true meaning of the book. This is one aspect of studying the dao de jing. Despite all this, the intrigue and recognition of the book as a gem still persists. It seems that the wisdom contained in the book is able to speak even through many layers of translation and interpretation.
The other aspect of studying the dao de jing is personal practice. The dao de jing is not a book of philosophy, it is first and foremost practical. When one engages in daoist practice (Such as Qigong, Tai chi, Taoist Meditation and Taoist Internal Alchemy) one has the opportunity to connect with the essence of the dao de jing. This is the best way to study the dao de jing: from the inside. This is because Taoist practices such as Qigong are practical and transformative, giving one the power to make positive changes in their life and how they understand the world around them.
See Below Various Translations of the Dao De Jing