Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!
The Tao Teh Ching (DaoDeJing) is an ancient Chinese writing generally accepted to have been penned about 600 BC by a fellow called Lao Tzu ("Old Master'), who was reputed to be a record-keeper of the Emperor's Court of the Chou Dynasty. The existence of Lao Tzu is historically supported by mentions of him in scrolls dating back to 400 BC, but the details of his life were not contemporaneously recorded. Chinese Historian Ssu-ma Ch'ien wrote of him in about 100 BC, indicating that his given name was Li Erh. Recent archeological discovery of Chinese scrolls from 100-150 BC reveal that the Tao Te Ching as modernly reported is the same form as that which was written in antiquity, thus undermining support for modern theories that the work was contributed to and changed by several authors over the centuries. COMMENT: There is no justification for any such categorical statement. To take but the matter of Ssu-ma Ch'ien, I quote: Even the 'biography of Lao Tzu' which may be found in the 'Historical Records' (Shih-chi) of Ssu-ma Ch'ien (second century B.C.) is not without its inconsistencies. This record describes Lao Tzu as having been an archivist of the Court of Chou, and further states that he is said to have personally instructed Kung Fu Tzu (Confucius). It is in this last statement that one inconsistency may be found, for other chronicles state the date of the death of Lao Tzu to precede that of the birth of Kung Fu Tzu by nearly half a century. Indeed, the author of the 'Historical Records' himself expresses doubt about the authenticity of the available information. Thus, although you may of course personally hold the opinion that Lao Tzu existed and the Tao Te Ching is the work of one man, it is altogether inappropriate to present these views as accepted fact. Several modern versions of Taoism (Daoism) are replete with polytheism, ancestor worship, ceremony of various kinds, and alchemic efforts to achieve longevity. What is written by Lao Tzu contains none of the above. Instead, the Tao Teh Ching (hereafter called the Tao, for short) is concise, if poetical; purely mystical, and exceedingly practical. The Tao points out universal truths which have since been independently recognized in other philosophies, both religious and secular. I refrain here from quoting the Tao directly, as every English Language interpretation, of which there are dozens, differs slightly or profoundly from the next. Suffice it to say that Lao Tzu demonstrates an understanding of such principles as these: Force begets force. One whose needs are simple will find them fulfilled. Wealth does not enrich the spirit. Self-interest and self-importance are vain and self-destructive. Victory in war is not glorious and not to be celebrated, but stems from devastation, and is to be mourned. The harder one tries, the more resistance he will create for himself. The more one acts in harmony with the universe, the more he will achieve, with less effort. The truly wise make little of their own wisdom -for the more they know, the more they realize how little they know. It is wise to repay kindness with kindness and to repay evil with kindness. We are our brothers' keepers. Skill averts waste. When we lose the fundamentals, we supplant them with increasingly inferior values which we pretend are the true values. Stupidity leads to force. The wise are responsible for the foolish. The honest are responsible for the dishonest. The teacher is responsible for his student. Glorification of wealth, power and beauty beget crime, envy and shame. The "feminine" qualities of flexibility and suppleness are superior to "masculine" strength and rigidity. Everything in its own time and place. Behind all this, Lao Tzu speaks of the ineffable Tao, or the "Way," which is described as the indivisible and indescribable unifying principle of the universe, from which all flows. It is without time, form or substance, and exterior/senior to these traits. The simpler one becomes, the greater hope he has of co-existing with the Tao, which is the only way one can truly understand it. In stark contrast to his near-contemporary Confucius, who was steeped in the importance of propriety and form, Lao Tzu eschewed appearance and ceremony in favor of meaning and substance. He valued the "fruit" above the "flower." -- AyeSpy ---- COMMENT: The historical existance of Lao Tzu in unconfirmed according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. What is your source for the statement that the existence of Lao Tzu is historically confirmed? That the Tao Teh Ching is not the work of one man is generally accepted. ---- I'd suggest you simply make the change that you believe is necessary; this will save time, and if the author doesn't like it, he can always change it back (and then you could discuss the problem). Just my suggestion. -- LarrySanger