The Tao Te Ching is a fundamental text for both philosophical and
religious Taoism, and strongly influenced Legalism, Confucianism and
Chan Buddhism, which when first introduced into China was interpreted
through the use of Taoist concepts. Many Chinese artists, including
poets, painters, calligraphers and gardeners, have been greatly
influenced by Tao Te Ching. Its influence spread widely outside East
Asia, and is among the most translated works in world literature, only
next to Bible.
The passages in Tao Te Ching are ambiguous, with topics ranging from
advice for rulers and profound religious experience of cosmic origin of
Tao and its application in all realms of life. The book has 81 chapters
,this course teaches the first half: the Book of Tao. The central values
of Tao Te Ching are the ineffability of Tao, the privileging of the
female attributes, the force of Yin--such as softness, yielding,
humility, resilience and non-action effecting all actions. The returning
movement as the movement of Tao, the interchangeability of the
opposites, political rule with least interference, philosophical and
religious experience of vacuity and power of nothingness.
The Tao Te Ching has been translated into Western languages over 250
times, its cryptic and poetic language is a famous puzzle which everyone
would like to resolve.
In learning the course, print out the PDF of Analects text in the
introduction chapter, and with it in hand, study the selected chapters
in the following lectures (because there is no subtitle of the text in
the video). For each lecture, I will explain word by word the meaning of
the classical Chinese text, and then I will explain to you the
philosophical implication of these texts, often comparing it with other
schools of Chinese philosophies. Finally I will lead you to read the
text twice so that you can recite and memorize them.