和 大 怨 ， 必 有 餘 怨 ﹔
報 怨 以 德 ， 安 可 以 為 善 。
是 以 聖 人 執 左 契 ， 而 不 責 於 人 。
有 德 司 契 ， 無 德 司 徹 。
天 道 無 親 ， 常 與 善 人 。
After a bitter quarrel, some resentment must remain.
What can one do about it?
Therefore the sage keeps his half of the bargain
But does not exact his due.
A man of Virtue performs his part,
But a man without Virtue requires others to fulfill their obligations.
God of heaven is impartial.
He stays with good men all the time.
Thus starts a series of posts called “道 translated as God” where I conduct an experiment to replace each occurrence of the character 道 in the Tao Te Ching with the word “God.” Traditionally, 道 has been translated as “Tao.” Based upon a friend’s statement, the Greek and Christian term “Logos” is translated into Mandarin with the character 道. Thus, since the words “God” and “Logos” are intimately related I thought it would be fun to see how the Tao Te Ching sounds to Christians with this new translation. I would be curious to see how my heart rate responds to lectio divina meditation on Tao Te Ching passages that are translated in this manner.
The Tao Te Ching holds a special place in my heart. The translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English (English translation above) was brought to me as a gift when I was healing from an illness in the hospital. I read it several times and eventually met a Chinese friend who helped me to translate the first several characters of the origional Chinese text into English. The Tao Te Ching makes ample use of the manifold of meanings that are available to each Chinese character in the text. As a result, there are many dramatically different English translations of the Tao Te Ching. To truly understand the text, one must have a guide to the manifold of different meanings that each of the original characters hold. To this end, since I do not know Mandarin I have found the translation by Jonathan Star to be incredibly helpful. He provides a table of English words for each of the Chinese characters. Finally, for a very concise translation I recommend the translation by Stephen Mitchell.
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