Shorts: Lao Tzu
Translation is an involved task, even for a simple text.
I open a link to the Tao Te Ching and begin reading. I had heard Solala Towling talk about the water way on a Happiness Lab podcast earlier in the day. It sounded like he could have talked about it for much longer.
At first glance, I found myself speed-reading the text, trying to find where this passage was that explained this water way he was talking about. I had never seen the Tao Te Ching before, had little context for it. After some ten chapters I realize.
This isn’t that kind of writing at all. This isn’t a text that sets out to expound, rather one to sit with. Perhaps one line alone is enough to meditate on for a day or a decade.
Those who are on tiptoes cannot walk
I’m reminded of my study of the yoga sutras, one line having pages of commentary follow. Sanskrit, like Classical Chinese, an old language. The meanings of a word, sound, or symbol having such vast cultural, historical, linguistic connotations, the reader finds many a translation and interpretation available.
There is a pureness and closeness in reading any source text in its original language.
I have read Spanish and German poetry out loud, having some familiarity with these languages, to enjoy the sounds and rhythm crafted in the native writing. This book, however, I will have to absorb through the careful work of some choice translators and commentators. I am happy to take in their diligent work of translating a piece of writing that has an essence of infinitude to it.
The wisdom of Lao Tzu. I think of a seedling whose roots move toward the mountain brook.
Be the watercourse of the world