The Daodejing is a short book of about 5,000 Chinese characters. It has 81 short chapters. It has two parts: Part One is the Dao jing (道經), which is chapters 1–37; Part Two is the De jing (德經), which is chapters 38–81.
The earliest is the Guodian manuscript, c. 300 BCE. It is quite incomplete, but serves as a great supplemental source. The next to oldest are the Mawangdui A and Mawangdui B manuscripts, c. 250 BCE. These too, because of their many imperfections, serve as great supplemental sources. Future manuscripts are much easier to read because they include the correct characters in many cases. Among these are the 河上公 Heshang Gong, c. 180-157 BCE, and 王弼 Wang Bi manuscripts, 226-249 CE, which are great main sources for translating the poems. They provide the framework; the earlier ones add to its richness. The latest is the 傅奕 Fu Yi manuscript, c. 555-639 CE.
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- Chinese Text Project – Dao De Jing, Simplified Chinese version
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- Taoistic – The Taoism of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu Explained
- Homepage of Derek Lin (taoism.net)
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