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Go Back   Spiritual Forums > Religions & Faiths > Taoism

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  #1  
Old 11-05-2020, 07:53 PM
MrBritish MrBritish is offline
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Question Worries brought up by Hawaiian Dreams Post

After reading the thread that recently been bumped I became skeptical of a few ways I could help deepen my understanding of what the the teachings within the Tao Te Ching mean to me on a personal level. As someone who is an English only speaker I was also wondering whether it would be within my best interest to at one point in my life try at a personal translation. However I fear that If I do any misunderstanding of the Chinese characters and the way their language is written as a completely different paradigm of my own may get many of the teachings twisted. I understand the task of learning in part a whole new language may be a little unneeded but would it not be beneficial to any person truly wanting to learn more to discover their own perceived meaning behind the original writings. If anyone has dabbled in translation themselves I would love to know if their knowledge of what they read in different languages gets unconsciously translated into more natural phrases? I just worry I will misinterpret. (Yes, I do understand that daoism/taoism can be interpreted in infinite ways.) I simply don't know if what I feel the teachings mean is being guided in some small part by the original translators use of western phrases, punctuation and tenses.
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2020, 09:14 PM
inavalan inavalan is offline
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This is a surprising idea ...

Is this the first time you contemplate this idea, or you've already considered what it implies to learn to read Chinese, and especially old Chinese?

Have you tried to read something in old English? Google says that English is 1,400 years old.

Anyway, if you love the idea of reading Chinese, by all means, jump into it!

But, if your motivation is to access a more undistorted source of knowledge, then there might be other avenues you might want to try, with a higher chance of success.
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  #3  
Old 12-05-2020, 10:12 AM
MrBritish MrBritish is offline
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After seeing the large amount of translations available I've sat on the idea. The only thing holding me back right now would be the trouble of finding the proper dialect of the time of Lao Tsu and finding recourses. I am curious of what other methods you would have in mind, I am open minded for others beliefs and paths, although I may not live my life by the teachings as much as others I do seek to both better myself and my understanding of what is.
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2020, 10:35 AM
Legrand Legrand is offline
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Hello,

My first language being French, I just love learning other languages. It makes you realize how a language transforms your mindset and makes you realize your own identity is deeper that the one set by your first language. Just for that, I would do the exercise of translating and learning another language.

Regards,
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  #5  
Old 12-05-2020, 08:06 PM
keepitsimple keepitsimple is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legrand
Hello,

My first language being French, I just love learning other languages. It makes you realize how a language transforms your mindset and makes you realize your own identity is deeper that the one set by your first language. Just for that, I would do the exercise of translating and learning another language.

Regards,

i often wonder how the latin language has influenced western thought (maybe the greek as well?) ... my experience is of German and they have 3 different sorts of objects : dative, accusative, and genetive and don't ask me to explain the difference ... but i'm sure this linguistic division of the world has led to some very interesting and/or confusing german thinkers ... and they are in their own bubble, because they could read the english texts, but we couldn't understand theirs.

I wonder how modern Chinese differs from the ancient ... where, alan watts taught me, subjects and objects belong together and the verb was the only really important thing ... and now in germany, i always have to wait an intolerably long time till the verb comes at the end of the sentance ... English is such an easy language.
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2020, 09:44 PM
inavalan inavalan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keepitsimple
i often wonder how the latin language has influenced western thought (maybe the greek as well?) ... my experience is of German and they have 3 different sorts of objects : dative, accusative, and genetive and don't ask me to explain the difference ... but i'm sure this linguistic division of the world has led to some very interesting and/or confusing german thinkers ... and they are in their own bubble, because they could read the english texts, but we couldn't understand theirs.

I wonder how modern Chinese differs from the ancient ... where, alan watts taught me, subjects and objects belong together and the verb was the only really important thing ... and now in germany, i always have to wait an intolerably long time till the verb comes at the end of the sentance ... English is such an easy language.

That must change how people think. Japanese is the same: verb at the end.
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Everything expressed here is what I believe. Keep that in mind when you read my post, as I kept it in mind when I wrote it. I don't parrot others. Most of my spiritual beliefs come from direct channeling guidance. I have no interest in arguing whose belief is right, and whose is wrong. I'm here just to express my opinions, and read about others'.

Last edited by inavalan : 13-05-2020 at 01:27 AM.
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  #7  
Old 12-05-2020, 11:09 PM
Starjumper7 Starjumper7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBritish
(Yes, I do understand that Taoism can be interpreted in infinite ways.)

Actually that is a misunderstanding.

That type of thinking is the result of social engineering, which leads people to believe that any opinion, no matter how silly, is equal in value to the knowledge of experts. Of course, anyone can interpret anything any way they want, and they do, but that does not mean they are correct.

Taoism has different sects, which manifest the teachings in different ways, but overall there is more similarity than difference.

The Tao Te Ching has different levels of meaning which can be seen by people at different levels of advancement.

In any case, you have a good goal and it will be an illuminating exercise. To aid you in your translation, I suggest you look at each Chinese word and look up the different possible meanings it can have in English using a translator. Then you can mix and match to your hearts content and see what you come up with. This is one place where you can start doing that with the original text on the bamboo strips Guodian Bamboo Strips & English words

That being said, my favorite translation, which I deem to be both the most on target and also poetic, is the one by Gia Fu Feng and Jane English.
Keep in mind that a lot of versions are interpretations rather than translations. Done by Westerners who don't translate but rather prefer to show you how confused they are, to demonstrate their low grade level of achievement, which is reflected in their low grade, mundane interpretations.
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  #8  
Old 13-05-2020, 10:01 AM
Legrand Legrand is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keepitsimple
i often wonder how the latin language has influenced western thought (maybe the greek as well?) ... my experience is of German and they have 3 different sorts of objects : dative, accusative, and genetive and don't ask me to explain the difference ... but i'm sure this linguistic division of the world has led to some very interesting and/or confusing german thinkers ... and they are in their own bubble, because they could read the english texts, but we couldn't understand theirs.

I wonder how modern Chinese differs from the ancient ... where, alan watts taught me, subjects and objects belong together and the verb was the only really important thing ... and now in germany, i always have to wait an intolerably long time till the verb comes at the end of the sentance ... English is such an easy language.

Hello Simple,

I've studied intensively Latin for 5 years. It's very different from many languages because one cannot start to understand a sentence before all the words are said. In this language the place of the word in a sentence has no meaning. The way the word terminates will tell you if it is a subject, a verb, a complement, etc. The subject or the verb could very well be at the end, the beginning or the end of the sentence. It's only after the sentence is said, that the word's relation start to take a meaning in the mind.

It those really change a mindset of someone. To understand what someone is trying to say in Latin, the listener has no choice to let him or her finish completely his or her sentence before starting to think of what to answer.

Never did study Chinese, but did get to know a lot of them. Their sense of identity to oneself is very different from the English-speaking people. And this comes mostly from how their language is structured.

Regards,
__________________
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The One Existent, the illuminated seers speak of variously - Rig Veda

In this holographic multidimensional world, I'm simply amazed to still walk, from time to time, in a linear unfolding 4D world.
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  #9  
Old 13-05-2020, 04:46 PM
keepitsimple keepitsimple is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legrand
Hello Simple,

I've studied intensively Latin for 5 years. It's very different from many languages because one cannot start to understand a sentence before all the words are said. In this language the place of the word in a sentence has no meaning. The way the word terminates will tell you if it is a subject, a verb, a complement, etc. The subject or the verb could very well be at the end, the beginning or the end of the sentence. It's only after the sentence is said, that the word's relation start to take a meaning in the mind.

It those really change a mindset of someone. To understand what someone is trying to say in Latin, the listener has no choice to let him or her finish completely his or her sentence before starting to think of what to answer.

Never did study Chinese, but did get to know a lot of them. Their sense of identity to oneself is very different from the English-speaking people. And this comes mostly from how their language is structured.

Regards,

what an excellent idea! - this would change human relationships completely -

something else monsieur le francais:
I was often wondering why your la lune et le soleil - changed to the german die Sonne und der Mond. (for english speakers - the female and male designations swopped around as civilisation spread in N. Europe).

So first its interesting that time was measured by the moon in ancient cultures and equatorial ones where the sun passed overhead twice a year and made absolutely no sense as a guideline to timelines. Whereas in the cloudy north, where we often don't get enough sun let alone moon, at least we have the length of a shadow to guide us on when spring comes and when to plant things ...

And, could this be the reason: in hunting tribes it didn't matter when things were planted - except in women ... and in ancient tribes how women's cycles get synchronised all at the same time would make the connection with the moon clearer (and were women's cycles synchronised at full moon? because this would fit nicely with the men going off on hunting jaunts at full moon?). But for the settled and more spread out agricultural cultures, the sun is far more relevant for fertility.

i feel as though there's something missing from this idea, but it maybe a start.

Salut
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  #10  
Old 14-05-2020, 12:42 AM
Legrand Legrand is offline
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I cannot say for Germans, as I did not get to learn yet their language.

We do have a very "romantic" relations with things in French as each thing is given a gender. Like the planets are feminine and the sun masculine, yet the stars are feminine...

Around 3000 BC there was a big split in humanity, in the mythology, between hunting tribes and the ones planting seeds to survive. Maybe the work of Joseph Campbell on the evolution of mythology may interest you.

It is definitely a start.

Regards,
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In this holographic multidimensional world, I'm simply amazed to still walk, from time to time, in a linear unfolding 4D world.
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