Taoism

According to a legend, Lao Tzu left China for the west on a water buffalo through a gate where he was urged to write down his wisdom in the Tao Te Ching


During my teaching career, I became interested in Taoism (道家), especially Lao Tzu’s (老子) Tao Te Ching (道德經).  I published three articles in professional journals.  They are available on this webpage.  In the last few years, I have given talks on Lao Tzu’s philosophy, and developed a PowerPoint presentation for the talks.  You may start with the PowerPoint presentation to get some basic ideas about Lao Tzu and his philosophy, and then read the three articles.

There are very many translations of the Tao Te Ching.  Each translator has his or her personal interpretation of the difficult ancient text.  I would recommend Wing-tsit Chan's The Way of Lao Tzu because it was a scholarly work with many footnotes, discussing different possible meanings based on ancient commentaries.  It is generally very faithful to the original meanings of the text.  Some translations are often unreliable and they tend to reflect the translator's own philosophy.


 The PowerPoint Presentation on Lao Tzu’s philosophy.  Since it is a long PDF file with many graphs, it may take one or two minutes to download the file.

     Click here:  Lao Tzu's Philosophy


 The article “Lao Tzu’s Conception of Ultimate Reality”:  This is an analysis of Lao Tzu’s conception of Tao (道) as the ultimate reality, in comparison with the Hindu conception of Brahman, the Buddhist conception of Buddha-nature, and the Christian conception of God.  I consider this article one of the most important articles I have ever written.

     Click here:  Lao Tzu's Conception of Ultimate Reality


 The article “Lao Tzu’s Conception of Evil”:  This is an analysis of Lao Tzu’s views about suffering, evil, and death, including some comparisons with the Confucian and Christian conceptions of evil.

     Click here:  Lao Tzu's Conception of Evil


 The article “Two Kinds of Changes in Lao Tzu’s Thought”:  This is an analysis of Lao Tzu’s conception of the natural world in comparison with or in contrast to his conception of the human world dominated by human wills.

     Click here:  Two Kinds of Changes in Lao Tzu's Thought


Even though the three articles deal primarily with Lao Tzu’s philosophy, the questions raised can be found in all major world religions.  They are in fact some of the most important questions in both religion and philosophy.

© Sung-Peng Hsu 2011