Tao Te Ching

Principles of Taoism in the Tao Te Ching and The Tao of Pooh College

Lao-tse's Tao te Ching is the defining text in the Chinese religious philosophy of Taoism. Written at an unknown time predating the 4th century BC, the Tao te Ching has been adapted and translated countless times, yet remains a guiding source of knowledge for Taoism today. Because of the many fundamental differences in Eastern and Western philosophy and the obvious language barrier, these ancient Taoist teachings can seem out of the reach of Western audiences. To remedy this, in 1982, American author Benjamin Hoff published the Tao of Pooh, in which he uses the characters from A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh allegorically to introduce traditional Taoist principles to Westerners. Though both texts are attempting to teach many of the same principles, they do so in very different ways and to different effects.

The Tao te Ching, in its 81 short chapters, is a veritable puzzle for many Western readers. It introduces many foreign concepts and routinely contradicts itself. Its purposeful ambiguity leaves the text wide open to different interpretation, and the huge array of translations only obscures meanings further- in fact, there are over 200 published translations of chapter one alone, a more traditionally accurate translation being “...

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