Larus delawarensis

"To teach the Tao, evaporate like clouds and fall like rain." ~ Kari Hohne

gender-inclusive translations, citations from commentary, seal scripts :

01, 04, 06, 07, 08    09, 10, 11, 15, 21, 22, 23    26, 28, 29, 32, 35,
40, 43, 45, 47    48, 49, 51, 52, 56, 63, 67    70, 73, 77, 79.
Hymning the TAO TE CHING
(Literal 81 Chapter Chinese-English Study Version, Photo-Illustrated)
Enter your birth year, for example, "1975"

Hyperlinked Bibliography: Women Authors on the Tao Te Ching
« The Woman Crookback (Chuang-Tzu)  |  Picturing Tao »
Women's Prehistoric Jomon Pottery  |  The Way of Ensō

See also at this site, QUILTS WITH TAO !!

search tips advanced search
Feminine Tao site search by freefind
According to Galia Patt-Shamir (2009), the Tao Te Ching presents "practical poetry, anti-theoretical philosophy, inconsistent logic, atheistic religion, daily metaphysics, earthly mysticism, inactive politics and ancient feminism."

All of this is to be understood as the essence of "the way."   The title, however, is also referring to the wisdom of enlightenment, that is, where the realization of the inherent goodness (Te) of nature (Tao), or that is, of all being — including the essence of our own existence — is revealed.
___ ___ ___ ___ ___

The "Tao Te Ching," 道德經, Dao Dejing, (click here to listen to the title pronounced in Chinese), means literally, "The Book (Ching) of the Way (Tao) and its Goodness (Te)." Ellen M. Chen translates it in several ways: "The Canon of Tao and Nature" again "The Classic of Tao and Te" or "The Classic of Tao and its Manifestation, Te." It is one of the major source texts in Chinese Taoism. It was probably compiled in the 5th century, BCE, as a collection of teachings, for the most part passed down from a much older, oral tradition.

The oldest extant version, the Guodian, which is incomplete, dates back to the 4th to early 3rd century, B.C.E. The name of the Tao Te Ching's faithfully nameless author, Lao-tzu (pronounced "Laozi") (老子), means simply "old master," and could be male or female.

According to Ellen M. Chen (1989), "of all the ancient classics still extant, the Tao Te Ching alone draws its inspiration from the female principle." To Chen (2011, p.95), Tao itself is, "the archetypal feminine, producing the cosmic pair, yin and yang, from within its emptiness." The TTC's profound inclusion of the feminine divine is therefore essential to its core teaching.

________ ________

"Life is always exploring the best of what it might become."
What is Taoism? by Kari Hohne:

"Taoism evolved as a study of natural processes, and how human beings can return to a more natural way of being in the world. One blends into the seamless unity of life, without losing the sense of self. [...] All that you see is not a collection of independent things, but an endless flow of interaction, where the meaning of any one aspect can only be understood in relationship to all that stands next to or influences it. In this way, all of experience is given meaning. [...] Because Tao does not lend itself to interpretation, the entire text of the Tao te Ching attempts to provide an idea of what it is. This ancient wisdom offers a method for approaching experience innocently, so that you may move beyond your habitual responses to access the layers of your untapped potential."

_____ _____ ______

Tao Te Ching & Difference
(Notes below by Sarah Whitworth)

According to Anabella Lyon (2010): "the Tao Te Ching respects difference, a respect exceeding tolerance with its hierarchical implications of gracious acceptance; in the Tao Te Ching difference is the inescapable nature of being."

Likewise, this spirit of individuality and diversity, as a wellspring of spirituality, may be aided and abetted in any study of the TTC, by utilizing as many different translations as is comfortable. Allowing these translations to inform each other is a good way to catch on to the many spiritual implications and unworded images, suggested but not spelled out in the ancient Chinese text. As Jeaneane D. Fowler (2005) makes clear, the Tao Te Ching is "tantalizing in its depth," even perhaps purposely enigmatic, so that "the deepest meanings of the text are only hinted at."

From the introduction to the translation
by Ursula K. Le Guin

"Scholarly translators of the Tao Te Ching, as a manual for rulers, use a vocabulary that emphasizes the uniqueness of the Taoist 'sage,' his masculinity, his authority. This language is perpetuated, and degraded, in most popular versions. I wanted a Book of the Way accessible to a present-day, unwise, unpowerful, and perhaps unmale reader, not seeking esoteric secrets, but listening for a voice that speaks to the soul. I would like that reader to see why people have loved the book for 2500 years. It is the most lovable of all the great religious texts, funny, keen, kind, modest, indestructibly outrageous and inexhaustibly refreshing. Of all the deep springs, this is the purest water. To me it is also the deepest spring."

Women Authors on the Tao Te Ching (Bibliography)
Emily Dickinson's Nature Mysticism
Poems by Immortal Sister Sun Bu-er (Pu-erh)
• Immortal Sisters (Taoist Women's Poetry)
• Way of Tao (Inspiration from Nature)
• Free I Ching Oracle at Café au Soul (mobile-friendly)
• Lao-Tze's Tao-Teh-King (1898), Interlinear Chinese-English translation by Paul Carus (the inspirational TTC text mentioned by Ursula K. Le Guin in her interview, downloadable PDF)
Women Masters in the Chuang-Tzu (Zhuangzi)
• Nature Poetry: "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." ~ William Shakespeare

For more on Tao Te Ching translator Ursula K. Le Guin,
see her Online Interview — "The Feminine & the Tao"

As regards women and the Tao Te Ching, Ursula K. Le Guin also says: "Since I had taken this book to my heart as a teenage girl, it obviously is a book that speaks to women. Lao Tzu feminized mysteries in a different way from anybody else."

LINKS to Gender-Inclusive TTC Translations:

• by Stephen Addiss & Stanley Lombardo (calligraphy)
• by Holly Roberts (Illustrated)
• by Roger T. Ames & David L. Hall (includes Chinese)
• by Sanderson Beck (Wisdom Bible)
• by Donivan Bessinger (sage is you, study guide)
• by Ellen M. Chen (with excellent commentary)
• by Thomas Early (as poetry, with commentary)
• by Timothy Freke (uncarved wood)
• by Bradford Hatcher (sage(s) plural, with Chinese)
• by Kari Hohne (exquisite Taoist poetry, all-inclusive)

  Sample translation (Chapter 6) by Kari Hohne:
      "Yin is like a valley that is always present
      It is the unknown first mother,
      whose gate is the root of all things.
      Dimly visible, it only seems to be there.
      Draw from it all you wish;
      it will never run dry."

• by Thomas F. Cleary (with Chuang-Tzu)
• by Ralph Alan Dale (with commmentary)
• by Joseph Hsu (literal, with Chinese)
• by Kwan-Yuk Claire Sit (Lao Tzu & Anthroposophy)
• by Ursula K. Le Guin (the great science fiction author)
• by Tolbert McCarroll (early gender-inclusive version)
• by Stephany Lane Yarbrough (for Inspiring Women)
• by John H. McDonald (public domain, sage is "she")
• by Stephen Mitchell (Zen practitioner)
• by Charles Muller (Yi-Ping Ong: intro, notes)
• by Red Pine (Tao is Maiden-Mother, chapts. 01, 52)

is a nonprofit, educational website,
edited and maintained by
Photo (top) Ring-Billed Gull:

More on Tao and the Tao Te Ching at
Café au Soul — "Inspiration Served Daily"