Unlocking The What?

So here’s this word Tao. Most translations make out that we’re not supposed to understand or even explain what it means. But Lao Tzu doesn’t actually say that. In fact its meaning in Lao Tzu isn’t esoteric or difficult, merely obscured by common parlance.

Tao means life. But it’s not life as opposed to death, not as an organism, a life-cycle, or someone’s life-story, or life as an abstraction. It’s life as the fundamental liquid of reality, a river whose surface is the continuum of mind.

You may be familiar with the image of Lao Tzu as an ancient Chinese person with white hair and a staff. It now seems likely that Lao Tzu wasn’t Chinese at all. It was a Sanskrit poem the ancient Chinese called the Lao Tzu – meaning “ancient wisdom”.

Most likely this poem was the Bhagavad Gita or one of its pre-cursors. But Lao Tzu is actually no more an ancient text than you are an ancient reader. It’s a text that has co-evolved with mankind for thousands of years from the lost Sanskrit through dozens of Chinese editions and hundreds of translations into European languages.

I wrote one of those myself 20 years ago. Though they all disagree there’s nothing wrong with the European translations. They’re quite accurate even when they leave us confused. Because what they’re translating is confused.

Respecting all the scholarship that has gone into interpretations of the Chinese Tao, in fact it’s jumbled like a jigsaw. Each pictogram has picked up dozens of different meanings in its journey through millennia of hand-copying and dynastic purges. The translations quite accurately represent the result – which is a puzzle.

Unlocking the Tao is the first real solution to this puzzle. It may not be the only solution, but it’s the only one that’s complete, that accounts for all the archeology and philology, and still turns out as a simple modern text. It yields a new perspective for modern biology, physics and mathematics. And it offers a practical way to create enlightenment and harmony in your community and in your life.

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All excerpts from Unlocking The Tao are copyright © 2011 Peter Merel. Please ask permission before you copy, mirror, or adapt this work.
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