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 THE FEMININE TAO 
INTRODUCTION
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Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) : 32 NATURE MYSTIC CHAPTERS :
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.
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Hymning the Tao Te Ching
(Literal 81 Chapter Chinese-English Study Version)
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CHINESE ZODIAC SIGNS
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Hyperlinked Bibliography: Women Authors on the Tao Te Ching
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Introduction
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 Virtue (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.

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."

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."

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.

What is Taoism?
from Way of Tao 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

According to Anabella Lyon (2010), "the Daodejing respects difference, a respect exceeding tolerance with its hierarchical implications of gracious acceptance; in the Daodejing difference is the inescapable nature of being." 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 various spiritual implications and unworded images, suggested but not spelled out in the ancient Chinese text. As Jeaneane D. Fowler (2005) makes clear, the TTC is "tantalizing in its depth," even perhaps purposely enigmatic, so that "the deepest meanings of the text are only hinted at."

In her essay, "Daode Jing in Practice," Eva Wong (2008) comments: "In the Daoist tradition, study and practice are inseparable: to study is to practice and to practice is to study. Understanding a text can help us practice its teachings; practicing its teachings can help us understand its meanings."

From the introduction to the translation
by Stephen Mitchell

"The reader will notice in the many passages where Lao-tzu describes the Master, I have used the pronoun 'she' at least as often as 'he.' The Chinese language doesn't make this kind of distinction; in English we have to choose. But since we are all, potentially, the Master (since the Master is, essentially, us) I felt it would be untrue to present a male archetype, as other versions have, ironically, done. Ironically, because of all the great world religions the teaching of Lao-tzu is by far the most female. Of course you should feel free, throughout the book, to substitute 'he' for 'she' or vice versa."
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."

Related:
Women Authors on the Tao Te Ching (Bibliography)
Emily Dickinson's Nature Mysticism
Poems by Immortal Sister Sun Bu-er (Pu-erh)

Zen-Taoist Aspects of the Tea Ceremony
Immortal Sisters (Taoist Women's Poetry)
Way of Tao (Inspiration from Nature)
Free I Ching Oracle (mobile-friendly)
Online Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin
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 Quotes:  "One touch of nature makes
      the whole world kin." ~ William Shakespeare


LINKS to Gender-Inclusive TTC Translations:

• by Stephen Addiss & Stanley Lombardo (calligraphy)
• 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 F. Cleary (with Chuang-Tzu)
• by Ralph Alan Dale (with commmentary)
• by Thomas Early (as poetry, with commentary)
• by Timothy Freke (uncarved wood)
• by Richard Gotshalk (Tao is "she," sage is "he")
• by Bradford Hatcher (sage(s) plural, with Chinese)
• by Kari Hohne (all-inclusive, with Taoist poetry)
• by Joseph Hsu (literal, with Chinese)
• by Kwan-Yuk Claire Sit (Lao Tzu & Anthroposophy)
• by Livia Kohn (selected chapters)
• by Ursula K. Le Guin (the great science fiction author)
• by John R. Mabry (sage alternates "she" and "he")
• by Tolbert McCarroll (early gender-inclusive version)
• 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)
• by Holly Roberts (Illustrated)
• by Edmund Ryden (Tao is "she," sage is "he")
• by Stephany Lane Yarbrough (for Inspiring Women)
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