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Tao Te Ching
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Chinese people are known for being philosophical. A person doesn't necessarily have to be religious in order to be philosophical. You just have to learn the best ways to live your life so that you can have a more prosperous future. A classic Chinese manual entitled "Tao Te Ching" teaches people the art of living and the path you must take in order to find fulfillment in your life. This classic Chinese text was written by a sage named Laozi, also known as Lao Tzu. Laozi means "Old Master" in Chinese. Some people like to refer to this classic Chinese text as Laozi instead of Tao Te Ching because they have so much respect for the author. The sage, Laozi, is believed to have lived around 600 B.C. In his professional life, he worked as a record keeper for the Zhou Dynasty Court. However, historians are still unsure about the exact date and time when the Tao Te Ching was actually written. The only thing they know is that the oldest Chinese texts that were excavated dates back to sometime in the late 4th century B.C. Even though they were originally written in the 6th century, the texts that were excavated in the 4th century are likely rewritten texts. The Tao Te Ching is one of the main Chinese classic texts that promote the religious and philosophical principles of Taoism. It is the most fundamental book of text that is studied by all Taoists. It is also a strong influence on other Chinese schools that teach Confucianism, Legalism and Chinese Buddhism. Chinese painters, poets, gardeners and calligraphers use the philosophies of the book as a source of inspiration. The influence of the Tao Te Ching has spread far throughout Eastern Asia and is one of the most translated books ever written in the history of literature. In Roman culture, the book was transcribed using the Wade-Giles Romanization system. They transcribed the title as "Daodejing." The words "Dao" and "Tao" both mean "the way." The words "De" and "Te" both mean inner strength or virtuosity. And finally, the words "Jing" and "Ching" mean "classic" or "the great book." Therefore, the translation of Tao Te Ching and Daodejing is said to be "The Classic Way to Inner Strength." In other words, if you learn the philosophies in this book then you will have the knowledge of finding the right path to strength and happiness. Tao Te Ching is not a long book to read by any means. It is only 5,000 Chinese characters long with about 81 very brief sections or chapters. The writing is of a classical form of Chinese called zhuanshu. As the centuries went by, the later versions were written in Lishu and Kaishu. As for the chapters, no one knows if the separated chapters were originally placed there by Laozi or if they were added later on. Some people think they were added later on as a way to help memorize the information and add commentary. The whole book is divided into two main parts. The first part is the Tao Ching, which goes from chapter 1 to chapter 37. The second part is the Te Ching, which goes from chapter 38 to chapter 81. Some even refer to this style of writing as laconic and poetic because of its brief chapters and intentional contradictions. This writing is strategic in a sense because it creates memorable phrases and then forces the reader to create their own reconciliations from all the supposed contradictions. This is why it takes some people their entire lives to fully understand the message behind the text. For others, they never fully grasp it.
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