Hot Best Seller

The Four Chinese Classics: Tao Te Ching, Analects, Chuang Tzu, Mencius

Availability: Ready to download

The books collected in this volume represent the first time since the mid-nineteenth century that the four seminal masterworks of ancient Chinese thought have been translated as a unified series by a single translator. Hinton's award-winning experience translating a wide range of ancient Chinese poets makes these books sing in English as never before. But these new version The books collected in this volume represent the first time since the mid-nineteenth century that the four seminal masterworks of ancient Chinese thought have been translated as a unified series by a single translator. Hinton's award-winning experience translating a wide range of ancient Chinese poets makes these books sing in English as never before. But these new versions are not only inviting and immensely readable, they also apply much-needed consistency to key philosophical terms in these texts, lending structural links and philosophical rigor heretofore unavailable in English. Breathing new life into these originary classics, Hinton's new translations will stand as the definitive texts for our era. Perhaps the most broadly influential spiritual text in human history, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching is the source of Taoist philosophy, which eventually developed into Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism. Equally influential in the social sphere, Confucious' Analects is the source of social wisdom in China. The Chuang Tzu is the wild and wacky prose complement to the Tao Te Ching. And with its philosophical story-telling, the Menicius adds depth and complexity to Confucius' vision.


Compare

The books collected in this volume represent the first time since the mid-nineteenth century that the four seminal masterworks of ancient Chinese thought have been translated as a unified series by a single translator. Hinton's award-winning experience translating a wide range of ancient Chinese poets makes these books sing in English as never before. But these new version The books collected in this volume represent the first time since the mid-nineteenth century that the four seminal masterworks of ancient Chinese thought have been translated as a unified series by a single translator. Hinton's award-winning experience translating a wide range of ancient Chinese poets makes these books sing in English as never before. But these new versions are not only inviting and immensely readable, they also apply much-needed consistency to key philosophical terms in these texts, lending structural links and philosophical rigor heretofore unavailable in English. Breathing new life into these originary classics, Hinton's new translations will stand as the definitive texts for our era. Perhaps the most broadly influential spiritual text in human history, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching is the source of Taoist philosophy, which eventually developed into Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism. Equally influential in the social sphere, Confucious' Analects is the source of social wisdom in China. The Chuang Tzu is the wild and wacky prose complement to the Tao Te Ching. And with its philosophical story-telling, the Menicius adds depth and complexity to Confucius' vision.

30 review for The Four Chinese Classics: Tao Te Ching, Analects, Chuang Tzu, Mencius

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hesper

    This book is AMAZING and an absolute must read for anyone interested in Chinese history, religion, and philosophy. I honestly have no idea how to review such a beauty of a book, so I'm just going to put one of my favorite, headache inducing, quotes: "Name or self: which is precious? Self or wealth: which is treasure? Gain or lose: which is affliction? Indulge love and the cost is dear, Keep treasures and the loss is lavish. Knowing contentment you avoid tarnish, and knowing when to stop you avoid This book is AMAZING and an absolute must read for anyone interested in Chinese history, religion, and philosophy. I honestly have no idea how to review such a beauty of a book, so I'm just going to put one of my favorite, headache inducing, quotes: "Name or self: which is precious? Self or wealth: which is treasure? Gain or lose: which is affliction? Indulge love and the cost is dear, Keep treasures and the loss is lavish. Knowing contentment you avoid tarnish, and knowing when to stop you avoid danger. Try it and your life will last and last."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This is my first experience of classical Chinese thought, and it has made me hungry for more. The four texts in this anthology share several key themes, but are so varied in their ideas and style that it is hard to imagine a richer book of thought and wisdom. The first text is the Tao Te Ching, traditionally attributed to Lao Tzu. Hinton's rendering of this famous work of spirituality is light and assured. In his translation, it is a perplexing and delightful work of meditative poetry, full of en This is my first experience of classical Chinese thought, and it has made me hungry for more. The four texts in this anthology share several key themes, but are so varied in their ideas and style that it is hard to imagine a richer book of thought and wisdom. The first text is the Tao Te Ching, traditionally attributed to Lao Tzu. Hinton's rendering of this famous work of spirituality is light and assured. In his translation, it is a perplexing and delightful work of meditative poetry, full of enigmas to tease you out of thought. This was probably my favourite of the four texts. Each 'chapter' is in the form of a short poem, usually of no more than ten lines. It is extremely concise, and each poem is a finely-wrought gem. I found Lao Tzu's fundamental proposition compelling, that the world is at bottom a 'way' or process, which can only be known negatively and which spontaneously gives rise to the 'ten thousand things' of the visible world. In his introduction, Hinton rightly draws comparisons between Lao Tzu's thought and contemporary ecology. He might also have mentioned quantum theory, with its notion of uncertainty, and its vision of the vacuum as a seething void of spontaneously emerging and disappearing particles. Way is vast, a flood so utterly vast it's flowing everywhere. The ten thousand things depend on it: giving them life and never leaving them it performs wonders but remains nameless. For me, Lao Tzu's greatest insight is that the Way is 'nameless'. The fundamental principle of reality can never be reduced to a concept, but only contemplated as a mystery. No sect, no dogma, no caste has the right or the ability to define it. The second text is Chuang Tzu, a collection of stories and anecdotes about Taoist sages in the tradition of Lao Tzu. Disappointingly, this edition only includes one fifth of the work. Hinton's argument that only the first fifth of the work really matters rings a bit hollow. He argues that it is probably the most authentic part of the text, but so little is known about Chuang Tzu that it seems absurd to evaluate different parts of the text based on his supposed authorship. On the other hand, the anthology is already 560 pages long, so excerpting this text was probably a good idea. There are some delightful stories here, with swearing and scatological jokes and unexpected twists and turns. Its comic atmosphere is a nice counterpoint to Tao Te Ching's more sombre and religious tone. I found some of the stories a little hard to read because of the characters' strange literal names: Deer-Grace, Master Noble-Tree, Horizon-Imperial, Dame Crookback. Of course, these names were often amusing, and it is not always a bad thing to be made to read something again to make sure you've grasped it. Hinton has a graceful prose style, and the little stories at their best filled me with delight: Long ago, a certain Chuang Tzu dreamt he was a butterfly – a butterfly fluttering here and there on a whim, happy and carefree, knowing nothing of Chuang Tzu. Then all of a sudden he woke to find that he was, beyond all doubt, Chuang Tzu. Who knows if it was Chuang Tzu dreaming a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming Chuang Tzu? Chuang Tzu and butterfly: clearly there's a difference. This is called the transformation of things. The third text is Confucius' Analects. I must admit, I was actually a little disappointed by this text. It is essentially a book of proverbs. Some are wise, some are witty, most are thought-provoking—but they lack the profundity of Lao Tzu's little poems, and lack the detail of Chuang Tzu's little philosophical stories. The main value of reading Analects, for me, was that it prepared me for the final text, which was ... Mencius, the second great classic of Confucian thought. This was my equal-favourite text in the anthology, along with Tao Te Ching. In a series of stories and anecdotes, Mencius systematises Confucius's thought, and applies it to a range of questions, especially political questions. He is the Plato to Confucius's Socrates, taking up Confucius's ideal of the sage, his concepts of Ritual, Duty and Humanity, and the Taoist notion of Way, and combining them all into a sound and moderate social philosophy. In terms of Western political philosophy, Mencius is a kind of communitarian, who believes that a shared sense of Humanity is the most important institution in society. He argues that we can achieve Humanity by following Duty and by observing Ritual. The most attractive aspect of his philosophy for me is his faith in human nature. "We are, by constitution, capable of being good," replied Mencius. "That's what I mean by good. If someone's evil, it can't be blamed on inborn capacities. We all have a heart of compassion and a heart of conscience, a heart of reverence and a heart of right and wrong. In a heart of compassion is Humanity, and in a heart of conscience is Duty. In a heart of reverence is Ritual, and in a heart of right and wrong is wisdom. Humanity, Duty, Ritual, wisdom – these are not external things we meld into us. They're part of us from the beginning, though we may not realize it. ..." Humanity, Duty and Way are inside us already, for our nature is good. Accordingly, to cultivate yourself, you only need to look within: To fathom the mind is to fathom nature. And when you understand your nature, you understand Heaven. Foster your mind, nurture your nature – then you are serving Heaven. Except that he argues that social convention—"Ritual"—is essential to self-realisation, Mencius could almost be Rousseau in passages like this. The anthology is in beautiful covers, and Hinton's introductions to the four works are concise, astute, and passionate. I really found it a pleasure. There was occasionally some evidence that this was a reprint of four works originally published separately—there was a good deal of repeated material in the four introductions, and in the appendices. And Menius had quite a few typographical errors which seemed to be the result of repagination. But these errors were slight, and did not detract overmuch from the impact this book of fine philosophy can have on the mind.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jon Drucker

    Great books, but I’m not fond of his translation of the Taoist classics.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Landis

    Best quote from the book: "Instead of using a finger to demonstrate how a finger is no-finger, use no-finger to demonstrate how a finger is no-finger. Instead of using a horse to demonstrate how a horse is no-horse, use no-horse to show how a horse is no-horse. All heaven and earth is one finger, and the ten thousand things are all one horse.” --from Chuang Zi (365 to 290 B.C.), one of the three classics of Taoism Best quote from the book: "Instead of using a finger to demonstrate how a finger is no-finger, use no-finger to demonstrate how a finger is no-finger. Instead of using a horse to demonstrate how a horse is no-horse, use no-horse to show how a horse is no-horse. All heaven and earth is one finger, and the ten thousand things are all one horse.” --from Chuang Zi (365 to 290 B.C.), one of the three classics of Taoism

  5. 4 out of 5

    René

    Began this book hoping to understand a bit more about Chinese philosophy. But short texts by Ancients with nothing more than reference to past Ancients and the importance of Rituals (to ensure nothing ever changes) does nothing to increase desire to learn more about it, sadly.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mark Saltveit

    Hinton translates four of the classic Chinese philosophical classics. His Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu) is particularly inspired, as he translates the satirical names (Duke ParadeElegance, Master TimidMagpie) that the typical literal rendition of the names obscures.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eric Jun Xuan Ashitaka Zhang

    Enlightening

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Rubard

    The cook put down his knife and replied: "Way is what I care about, and Way goes beyond mere skill. When I first began cutting up oxen, I could see nothing but the ox. After three years, I could see more than the ox. And now, I meet the ox in spirit. I've stopped looking with my eyes. When perception and understanding cease, the spirit moves freely. Trusting the principles of heaven, I send the blade slicing through huge crevices, lead it through huge hollows. Keeping my skill constant and essen The cook put down his knife and replied: "Way is what I care about, and Way goes beyond mere skill. When I first began cutting up oxen, I could see nothing but the ox. After three years, I could see more than the ox. And now, I meet the ox in spirit. I've stopped looking with my eyes. When perception and understanding cease, the spirit moves freely. Trusting the principles of heaven, I send the blade slicing through huge crevices, lead it through huge hollows. Keeping my skill constant and essential, I just let the blade through, never touching ligament or tendon, let alone bone. Chuang Tzu, from The Four Chinese Classics A while back people used to talk a great deal about "Eurocentricity", but sometimes we do less about our issues with society than we can: it is actually not possible to be resident on planet Earth and not be dimly aware that China is one of the first-class civilizations of all time, but 'Western' philosophers still often think up excuses not to read its great thinkers. David Hinton, a translator of Chinese poetry, has provided the English "reading public" a compendium of four of the greatest names in ancient Chinese thought in The Four Chinese Classics: Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Confucius and Mencius are presented in one fell swoop. This foursome contains a division, breaking down into the "mathematical" Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu and the "dynamical" Confucius and Mencius. Taoism, as articulated in the brief but unforgettable 81 sections of the Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tzu's Inner Chapters, is a spiritual philosophy quite unlike anything else in the ancient world; particularly in the hands of Chuang Tzu, one of the great characters of literature of any age, its good-humored if wild insouciance about the problems of living is quite 'tonic' compared to the oppressive renunciation that characterizes the 'great' religions. That being said, even 'Caucasians' oriented to Asian thought often do not properly appreciate that Confucius' Analects and Mencius' elaboration of Confucius' thought are actually still greater classics of Chinese culture; the intellectual-bureaucratic culture of the "Mandarins" that characterized Chinese society until the 20th century was shot through and through with the ideas of Confucianism, the philosophy of ethical governance contained within those works formed its 'warp and weft'. (If I may propose a characterization of the relationship between these two works, the Analects provides advice about advising and Mencius covers questions about 'consent', the relationship of actors within the polity to events in the government). It would be beyond my competence to pronounce upon the quality of Hinton's translations from "Sinitic" or ancient Chinese, but the four complete works provided in this book make good English and Hinton's historical introductions and glossaries are helpful; questions of the relation of these authors to 'Western' philosophy are not covered, but I do see a bit of a hint of Heidegger's Ereignis in Hinton's speculative explanation of the Taoist concept tzu-jan as "occurrence appearing of itself". I strongly recommend this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Koumis

    very good job! Bravo Mr Hinton!

  10. 5 out of 5

    James Jennings

  11. 5 out of 5

    Hugo Chesshire

  12. 5 out of 5

    Canmore Public Library

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike Zodda

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  15. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

  16. 4 out of 5

    Darren German

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carter Eikenbary

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dustin Kick

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael S. Holko

  20. 5 out of 5

    Craig Caroon

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zack

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carl

  23. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wang-Ying Yuen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  29. 5 out of 5

    Maiya

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...