Treatise On the Response of the Tao

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The Taishang Ganying Pian (太上感應篇), or Lao Tse's Treatise on the Response of the Tao, is a Taoist scripture from the 12th century that has been very influential in China. Li Ying-Chang,[1] a Confucian scholar who retired from civil administration to teach Taoism, authored this. It is traditionally attributed to Lao Tse himself.

Interpretation and themes[edit]

The Treatise covers thoughts, words, and deeds in terms of ganying. It has a simple, practical[1] approach to ethics, lacking any esoteric details. It is all about good deeds.[2] These are rewarded by longevity[1] and health. Lists[3] of deeds, both good and evil, are given in this tract. They focus on crimes, business practices, and other every day actions and events. It represents[4] a turn away from previous Taoism in that it focuses not on meditative practices or self cultivation but on action in the world. Taoism represents a variety of different viewpoints and practices hard to categorize by era or sect. Categorizations are disputed by scholars. The Lushan[5] Sect of Taoism, from the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1297 ce) is a Taoist sect representative of the type of Taoism in the treatise, called 'acts and karma Taoism'[6] by Eva Wong. There are few texts that represent this type of Taoism, this being the main one. Most of the others are morality tales that grew up around this Treatise. The lack of scriptures for this current of belief has in no way detracted from its popularity. Mahayana Buddhist viewpoint influenced[5] this scripture. This book was most popular during the Ming dynasty, (1368-1644 ce)

Impact[edit]

The Treatise has attracted both Taoists and Non-Taoists. It has gained a large[7] population base among the commoner, because it does not require a monastery to practice.[5]

Text[edit]

It is a short tract, written before[8] Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism were deliberately synthesized by scholars or the state. The stories that accompany it were written during or after this synthesis. The time of writing is after folk beliefs had begun to influence[8] Taoism, which may have begun with Chuang Tse.

Translations[edit]

It was first translated into English by Christian missionary Douglas Legge,[9] in 1891. He thought it was crucial for the understanding of Chinese people's moral thought. There is a recent translation by Eva Wong and co. A new English Liturgy Version has also been recently published by Terebess Asia Online (see external links).

Commentary[edit]

There is a commentary of the treatise by a Daoist renunciant Xīng Dé, translated to English by Johan Hausen.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Lao-tzu's treatise on the response of the Tao: translated with an introduction by Eva Wong. San Francisco, CA : Harper, c1994. p. xxvii
  2. ^ The Shambhala guide to Taoism 1st ed. / Eva Wong. Boston : Shambhala, c1997. p. 193
  3. ^ Lao-tzu's treatise on the response of the Tao: translated with an introduction by Eva Wong. San Francisco, CA : Harper, c1994. p. 19
  4. ^ Lao-tzu's treatise on the response of the Tao: translated with an introduction by Eva Wong. San Francisco, CA : Harper, c1994. p. xxx
  5. ^ a b c Lao-tzu's treatise on the response of the Tao: translated with an introduction by Eva Wong. San Francisco, CA : Harper, c1994. p. xx
  6. ^ The Shambhala guide to Taoism 1st ed. / Eva Wong. Boston : Shambhala, c1997. p. 86, 190, 191
  7. ^ Lao-tzu's treatise on the response of the Tao: translated with an introduction by Eva Wong. San Francisco, CA : Harper, c1994. p. xxiv
  8. ^ a b Lao-tzu's treatise on the response of the Tao: translated with an introduction by Eva Wong. San Francisco, CA : Harper, c1994. p. xxxiii
  9. ^ Lao-tzu's treatise on the response of the Tao: translated with an introduction by Eva Wong. San Francisco, CA : Harper, c1994. p. xxviii
  10. ^ Zi, Lao; De, Xing (2020). Tai Shang's Treatise on Action and Response: Commentary by Xīng Dé: The Eastern Ancient Law of Attraction. Purple Cloud Institute. ISBN 979-8619522068.CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  11. ^ Xie, Lujun (谢路军) (2015). 道教 博学文库 : 宗教文明品析丛书. 中国民主法制出版社. p. 205. ISBN 9787516209738. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  • Lao-tzu's treatise on the response of the Tao : Tʻai-shang kan-ying pʻien / Li Ying-chang ; translated with an introduction by Eva Wong ; with an historical introduction by Sean Dennison. San Francisco, CA : Harper San Francisco, c1994. ISBN 0060649569 (alk. paper) :

The Shambhala guide to Taoism 1st ed. / Eva Wong. Boston : Shambhala, c1997. ISBN 1570621691 (alk. paper)

External links[edit]