Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 3.djvu/24

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xxii
PREFACE.

or two passages the idea of a Way seems to be in the term; but this is too materialistic to serve the purpose of a translation. Reason again seems to be more like a quality or attribute of some conscious Being than Tâo is. I would translate it by the Word in the sense of the Logos, but this would be like settling the question which I wish to leave open, viz. what amount of resemblance there is between the Logos of the New Testament and this Tâo, which is its nearest representative in Chinese.'

Two other translations of the Tâo-teh King have appeared, both in German:—'Lao-tsze's Tao Te King, aus dem Chinesischen ins Deutsche übersetzt, eingeleitet, und commentirt, von Victor von Strauss (Leipzig, 1870), and 'Lao-tse, Tao-te-king, "Der Weg zur Tugend," aus dem Chinesischen übersetzt und erklärt von Reinhold von Planckner,' also published at Leipzig. Strauss closely follows Julien, while Planckner allows himself great freedom in dealing with his original. Notwithstanding these four attempts to give the meaning of 'the Old Philosopher' in three European languages, there is room for a new version, which will be submitted to the reader in due course. It is only by an intense and long-continued study of the original that we can come to an agreement as to the meaning of the Tâo. I propose not only to give a translation of the Tâo-teh King, but also of the works of Kwang-𝔷ze, the most remarkable of the early writers of the Tâoist school.

Whatever Lao-𝔷ze intended by the Tâo, Tâoism has, in the course of time, borrowed largely, both from Confucianism and Buddhism. It inculcates a morality of a high order in some respects, and has developed a system of grotesque beliefs and practices, ministering to superstition, and intended to refine and preserve the breath of life. Its practical teachings will be exhibited in the most popular of all the Tâoist writings, the treatise on 'Actions and their Recompenses,' and perhaps in one or more, besides, of the characteristic productions of the system.


The version of the Shû that appears in this volume is substantially the same as that in the third volume of my