Dao House...
Early Daoist History
Confucianism and Taoism
Bruce Johnson, high school teacher in Virginia, has prepared a good, readable outline on Confucianism, Daoism, indigenous traditions, and philosophical schools of ancient and medieval China.
Chapter Four, Early Daoism
Chapter from Gregory James Smits's (Penn State University, History and Religious Studies) online textbook, Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History, gives an excellent overview.
"One reason the Daoist Way cannot be described in words is that it is not human centered like the Confucian Way.  The Daoist Way is the entire cosmos and all its workings.  How could mere words describe something as vast and profound as that?"
Shang, Zhou and the Classics
Prolific writer and peace activist Sanderson Beck's (World University, Ojai, CA) long historical account of the precursors of Daoism.  From Vol.1, Ancient Wisdom and Folly, of his History of Ethics series. 
Tao of...
"The use of writing was so extensive in ancient China that for about three thousand years until the 18th century CE the number of books in Chinese was greater than all the other books in the world.  By the time of Confucius in the sixth century BC there were already six classics."
Daoism and Mo-zi
Another chapter from Sanderson Beck's Ancient Wisdom and Folly, with sections on Laozi, Zhuangzi, Mozi, Ju Yuan and the Chu poets, Liezi, and the Huainanzi (most, but not all, considered Daoist.)
"In the second century BC some Daoists put together the Songs of Chu and added their own compositions like the 'Far-off Journey.'  In melancholy the poet sought to learn from where the primal spirit comes.  In emptiness and silence he found serenity."
Sun Tzu on The Art of War [Giles]
Project Gutenberg Etext of the complete 1910 Lionel Giles version of the proto-Daoist text, including his introduction, "copious notes," and a preface to the Project Gutenberg edition.
[From the Preface] "It was the best translation available for 50 years."
The Art of War [Giles]
Giles's translation of Sunzi, from the Exploring Ancient World Cultures site (University of Evansville (IN).  Just the text of the 13 chapters, on one page.
"There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare."
Sun Tzu: The Art of War [Sonshi]
Translation by "a network of professionals in various disciplines joined together by a common interest: Sun Tzu The Art of War."  Check the other interesting features on this site: a message board, daily message, up-to-date world and Asian news, articles, reviews of various translations, and more.
Translator's Introduction: The Art of War
Excerpt from Thomas Cleary's 1988 translation of Sunzi.  Provided by Shambhala.
"The prominence of Taoist thought in The Art of War has been noted by scholars for centuries, and the classic of strategy is recognized in both philosophical and political works of the Taoist canon.  The level of knowledge represented by the upper reaches of The Art of War, the level of invincibility and the level of no conflict, is one expression of what Taoist lore calls 'deep knowledge and strong action.'"
Sun Tzu's The Art of War
Dean McNicol's (University of Waikato, New Zealand) student essay presents basic history and commentary on Sunzi.
"The Tao is the most common symbol used in the Art of War..."
Yang Chu's [Yang Zhu] Garden of Pleasure
Excerpts from Anton Foote's 1912 translation of the Liezi chapter dealing with Yang Zhu.  Includes a substantial introduction.  From J. B. Hare's Internet Sacred Texts Archive.
"One may best compare the two teachings by saying that Yang Chu is the naturalist philosopher in youth; Lieh Tzu the naturalist philosopher in old age.  It is at least possible that in the lost works of Yang Chu the link that binds him more closely with the Taoist doctrine existed, a link that would account for the inclusion of this fragment of his work in the book of Lieh Tzu." [From the Introduction]
Yang-tzu [Yang Zhu] - A Double Personality?
Essay by Jean Chiriac (Ian Blackwell), from the Taoism Initiation Page, on the "hedonist-Taoist" mentioned by Zhuangzi and Liezi.  Yang Zhu foreshadowed their ideas, though none of his original writings survive.
"Some people think that, in fact, there are two Yang-tzu characters: one historical, cynical and selfish - in Lieh-tzu's book - and the other one a Taoist philosopher, a disciple of Lao-tzu."
Yang Chu in the History of Chinese Philosophy
Scholarly overview by John J. Emerson (Oregon Health and Sciences University, retired) of Yang Zhu in the context of other philosophers and schools of his time (c. 400 BCE).  See also Emerson's journal article, "Yang Chu's Discovery of the Body," for an in-depth discussion of Yang's role in the changing construction of the self.
"Yang Chu has been called the first Taoist, and by making it possible to separate oneself from public affairs to dedicate oneself to self-nurture, he certainly paved the way for Taoism.  Yet for the Taoists, or at least for Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, Yang's 'self' was just one more obsession standing in the way of openness to the cosmic process."
Shen Dao
Chad Hansen (University of Hong Kong, Philosophy) discusses the influence of Shen Dao (c.350-275 BCE) on Zhuangzi and Daoism.
"The Zhuangzi account characterizes Shen Dao and his associates, Tian Pian and Peng Meng, as 'universal' rather than 'partial' and as lacking selfishness.  These attitudes justify placing them as a link between Mohism and Daoism.  It also separates Shen Dao from the alleged proto-Daoist Yang Zhu, who was an Ethical egoist.  The rest of the moral description, however, makes them sound like ancient Roman Stoics."
Taiyi Shengshui = The Great One Gave Birth to Water
A Robert G. Henricks (Dartmouth, Religion) translation of an early (c. 300 BCE) Daoist text.  From Hilmar Klaus's site (also includes Klaus's German translation).
"...first it is depleted, then it is full; / we regard this beginning as the guiding principle of the ten 'thousand things.' / This is something that heaven cannot destroy, / the earth cannot smother, / and Yin and Yang cannot produce. / The gentleman knows this is referred to as ['the Way.']"
The working of the inner self [the Guanzi]
Selections from Daoistic portions of Master Guan's sayings (c. 3rd century BCE), translated by W. Allyn Rickert, edited by A. J. den Hond (Netherlands).  Presented in 16 pages, with 20 pages of explanatory statements.
"It is ever so that Tao has no fixed places, / Yet in a good mind it will peacefully settle."
Nei-yeh (Inner Cultivation or Inward Training
The Stillness site has all 26 chapters of the Neiye, part of the Guanzi, translated by Harold Roth.
"For those who preserve and naturally generate vital essence / on the outside a calmness will flourish. / Stored inside, we take it to be the well spring."
Lieh Tzu [Liezi]
Encyclopedia entry from the Daoism page of the Overview of World Religions site.  History and doctrines of Liezi..
"The stories of the Lieh Tzu often seem to contradict its philosophy, but the notion that there are wondrous things which are beyond our ordinary knowledge is an important aspect of Taoist philosophy."
Book of Lieh-Tzu [Giles]
The complete 1912 Lionel Giles text, from The Internet Sacred Text Archive.
[Introduction]  "Nearly all the Taoist writers are fond of parables and allegorical tales, but in none of them is this branch of literature brought to such perfection as Lieh Tzu."
From Ulrich Theobald's ChinaKnowledge site, a number of Liezi stories translated by A. C. Graham.
[Leizi quotes]
Page of quotes "from Eva Wong's hermeneutic 'opening' of the Lieh-Tzu."
"When there is no system of reward, there will be no competition.  When there is no competition, there will be no treachery.  When there is no treachery, people can be true to themselves."
Lieh Tzu
Chapter 13 of the Theosophical Society's Ancient Landmarks series (1927) provides a few Zhuangzi anecdotes about Liezi and selected "flowers from the garden of Lieh Tzu" (excerpts) from Lionel Giles's translation,organized into sections on Origins; Evolution; Man, animal and spiritual; Dreams; Animals; and The Root of Religion.
"There has been a dispute as to the very existence of Lieh Tzu; but sinologists of today are more inclined to regard Lieh Tzu as an actual eminent teacher than those of a former generation; to the Chinese mind his existence was never a matter of grave doubt."
Liezi: A Man Who Loves Sea Gulls
Pei Minglong has translated this and five other Liezi stories for us: A Deer Hunter Misplaced the Deer, Lost Axe, The Sky is Falling, Old Man Moves a Mountain, and Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
Book Review of Roger Ames's "The Art of Rulership" [Huainanzi]
By Alan Fox (University of Delaware, Philosophy).
"Although ostensibly it is a study of the eponymous Chapter Nine of the Huainanzi, a text of syncretic origins dating from around 200-100 BC, its actual scope is much broader that that... one of Ames's primary goals is to demonstrate and articulate Daoist and Confucian influences."
Tao, The Great Luminant: Essays from the Huai Nan Tzu
Recent addition to the Taoism page of the Sacred Texts site contains the complete 1933 text by Evan S. Morgan, including seven introductory essays by Morgan and his translation of eight of the twenty-one essays of the Huainanzi, also notes and annotations.
"Dr. Morgan combines an accurate knowledge of the meaning of the text with a sound understanding of the teachings of Western philosophy.  The obscurities of the original text are illuminated by his rare scholarship, and thus the reader is able to obtain a fair concept of the ideas of the young Prince [of Huai Nan]." [Preface, by John C. Ferguson]
A Chapter from the Hung Lieh Chuan, by Huain-Nan Tsze, Prince of Kuang Ling
Long first chapter from the Huainanzi on the operations of Dao.  Translated by Frederick Henry Balfour (1884).
"Thus when the spring-winds blow the sweet rain falls, and tall things live and grow.  The feathered ones brood and hatch, the furry ones breed and bear, plants and trees put forth all their glorious exuberance of foliage, birds and animals lay eggs and produce offspring; no action is visible outwardly, and yet the world is completed."
The History of Great Light (Huainanzi)
Same first chapter, as translated by the Shrine of Wisdom (1937).  From the Stillness.com site.
"The operations of Tao are mysterious.  They resemble the actions of the potter, whose wheel forever goes round and round.  In the natural succession of change, creations are finished and polished, and afterwards dissolve again into their pristine elements."
The Huainanzi and Daoist Spirituality
By Yves Raguin (1912-1998, Jesuit priest and scholar).  Lesson 86 from the Taipei Ricci Institute's series, Ways of Contemplation East and West, focuses on chapters 7 and 21 of the Huainanzi, and includes excerpts.
"This is a most beautiful text, condensing the whole cosmology of the Daoists.  It relates man to his mysterious origin, beginning at the time when there was no Heaven and Earth.  At that time, there were only 'images.'"
Early Chinese Philosophy in the Light of Recently Discovered Manuscripts
Abstracts of "Session 120" from a 1999 conference, Association for Asian Studies.  According to Donald Harper's abstract, one of these manuscripts:
"...predates the Yin Yang cosmology that became dominant in the third and second centuries BC; the terms Yin and Yang occur, but their formation is fifth in the sequence of creation, following the creation of water, heaven, earth, and the spirits."
Silk writing
Bram den Hond's translations of Mawangdui texts, on his Origin of Tao site, which also includes his version of the Mawangdui Laozi, "based on the translations of Robert Henricks."  Nicely presented, with illustrations.
"Unity of Infinity and Emptiness / Constant unity, nothing more / A mist of dream / Without a light or gloom."
Isabelle Robinet's entry from The Encyclopedia of Taoism, on the early philosophical "school" of Daoism, and what distinguishes it from daojiao (used to denote the religious forms of Daoism.)
"Another issue in the debate among scholars is whether or not daojia is 'philosophical.'  Indeed, Zhuangzi and the Taoist saint are neither pro- nor antiphilosophical.  They dwell in a open space where one thinks without being caught up in thought, and sees in a multifaceted 'perspectivist' way."
Early Daoism
Thomas Carlson (Brussels, Belgium), asks "Who were the Daoists of the Dao De Jing?" and provides relevant excerpts from a number of scholarly sources.
"However, some evidence indicates that early Taoists may have defined themselves along lines not altogether dissimilar to those used by Sima Tan: they referred to their distinctive practices as the 'techniques of the Way'..."  [Harold Roth]
HuangLao Daoism
Tony Smith offers excerpts from Livia Kohn, Robin D. S. Yates, Robert G. Henricks and others, especially on Mawangdui manuscripts and the Yijing.  He uses the excerpts to draw analogies between the abandonment of HuangLao and Daoism under Han Emperor Wu and present-day policies of China against Falun Dafa.
Development of Taoism
Brief accounts and excerpts from the works of Daoist philosophers in the first and second centuries BCE, from Christopher Majka's site.
"To make clear the achievement of nature and throw light on all things is called yang.  To be hidden, without form, deep and unfathomable, is called yin.  Yang knows yang but does not know yin.  Yin knows yin but does not know yang.  The Profound Principle alone knows both yin and yang, both going and stopping, and both darkness and light.  -- Yang Hsiung."
Wang Ch'ung [Wang Chong, 27-100 CE]
From Rex Pay's Humanistic Texts site, a brief introduction followed by extensive Wang Chong excerpts adapted from a 1907 text. 
"Wang Ch'ung provided a skeptical review of the superstitions and religions of his day and strengthened the component of rationality in Chinese philosophy."
From Christopher Majka's Yang Style Tai Chi site, one of a number of pages on Daoism.  Brief history of the third- and fourth-century "second flowering of Taoism," including the Pure Conversation School and Wang Bi.
"...while Wang Pi emphasizes nonbeing, Kuo Hsiang emphasizes being.  Where the former emphasizes the one, the latter draws attention to the many.  For Wang Pi, principal transcends reality while for Kuo Hsiang it is immanent within them."
Hsuan-Hsueh [Xuanxue] (Neo-Taoism)
Brief account of the "Mysterious Learning" movement of Wang Bi and Guo Xiang.  From the Philtar Overview of World Religions site (St. Martin's College, UK).
"Unlike its sources, however, the movement was not anti-Confucian per se, and indeed its two most eminent thinkers, Wang Pi and Kuo Hsiang, regarded Confucius, not Lao-Tzu or Chuang-tzu, as the true Sage.  These men in particular sought to move away from the apparent Taoist stress on withdrawal from the world and develop a Taoist metaphysics and understanding of the Sage which would give support to the Confucian ideal of an ordered society."
Zhong Hui (Chung Hui, 225-264 CE)
Entry from The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy by Alan Kam-Leung Chan (National University of Singapore) on the thinking of the Neo-Daoist scholar.
"Is 'sagehood' inborn, or can it be acquired through effort?  This was a major topic of discussion among the Wei elite.  The prevalent view in early xuanxue seems to be that sages are born, not made, a view to which Zhong Hui subscribes and which stems directly from a cosmological understanding of the Dao, particularly the deciding role of qi in shaping the nature and destiny of human beings."
Wang Pi
Good account of Wang Bi (Wang Pi), from the Theosophical Library Online.
"His genius manifested itself early on, so that by the time he departed the human arena, he had launched a new Taoist movement, known as hsuan hsueh, 'the dark learning,' or neo-Taoism.  He also provided the impulse that would emerge as tao hsueh, 'learning of the Truth' or neo-Confucianism."
Wang Bi (226-249 CE)
See Ronnie Littlejohn's (Belmont University, Nashville, Philosophy) recent entry from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy for a more penetrating analysis of Wang's huge influence on Daoist philosophy.
"He uses major Daoist ideas to interpret the Yijing, culminat6ing in his theory that change and dao are unified and his position that Laozi's ideas are already contained in the Yijing."
Guo Xiang (Kuo Hsiang, 252?-312 C.E.)
Scott Brackenridge's (University of Wisconsin-Madison) entry from The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
"While the traditional view of a Daoist sage was someone who removed himself from the mundane world, for Guo this notion is false and misleading.  The social and political environments in which people relate to each other are no less natural than a forest or mountaintop and to a person who appreciates why she exists in the particular relationship to others in which she does, the proper course of action is not to run away, but to become involved."
Wu Wei Ching (Kuo Hsiang's Commentary on the Chuang Tzu)
Crispin Sartwell's (Dickinson College, Political Philosophy) "loose" take on the writings of Guo Xiang [Kuo Hsiang], with an introduction.
"The central theme of this work is perhaps the proper interpretation of the Taoist concept of wu wei or 'non-doing,' 'inaction' (hence the title I have given it: 'Wu Wei Ching' or the book of inaction).  But in exploring this topic, Kuo Hsiang gives what I think is the most satisfactory Taoist metaphysics."
Khing Kang King, or 'The Classic of Purity'
Third-century text attrributed to Ko Yuan, translated by James Legge.  One of numerous early Daoist texts from J. B. Hare's Internet Sacred Texts Archive.
"Now the spirit of man loves Purity, but his mind disturbs it.  The mind of man loves stillness, but his desires draw it away.  If he could always send his desires away, his mind would of itself be still."
Canon of Purity and Tranquility
Popular eighth-century (?) text; Buddhist-influenced version of The Classic of Purity.  Translated by Livia Kohn.  Also known as the Qingjing Jing.
"The human spirit is fond of purity, / But the mind disturbs it. / The human mind is fond of tranquility, / But desires meddle with it. // Get rid of desires for good, / And the mind will be calm."
The Wonderful Scripture on the Constant Purity and Tranquility
One more version of the same text, translated by Silfong Chen.
"A person's divinity likes to be pure, but his heart disturbs it; a person's heart likes to be tranquil, but his desires draw it away.  If one can constantly dispel his desires, his heart will of itself become tranquil..."
Yin Fu King [Yin Fu Jing], or 'Classic of the Harmony of the Seen and the Unseen'
Ancient text translated by James Legge, with his commentary. 
"Perfect enjoyment is the overflowing satisfaction of the nature.  Perfect stillness is the entire disinterestedness of it."
The Yin Fu Ching
Frederick Henry Balfour's footnoted version (1884).  See also his translations of The Ch'in Wen Tung (Qin Wen Dong) and The Ta T'ung Ching (Da Tong Jing).
"Perfect joy consists in one's nature having abundance, or being fully satisfied; perfect tranquility, in being contented with little."
Yellow Emperor's Scripture on the Hidden Fitness
One more, same text, translated by Silfong Chen.
"The ultimate bliss has the nature of surplus, and the ultimate tranquility has the nature of honesty."
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