| Philosophical Daoism's main scriptures are the Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching], the Zhuang Zi [Chuang Tzu], and sometimes the Huahu jing [Hua Hu Ching], Lie Zi [Lieh Tzu], and Wen Zi [Wen Tzu]. |
Religious Daoism and some other branches use the Daoist Canon (Daozang), which is made up of Three Grottoes and Four Supplements.
Philosophical Taoism: Main Scriptures
| The Chinese version of the Dao De Jing itself has seen dozens of editions containing anywhere from five to six thousand characters, the result of adding certain grammatical particles for clarity or omitting them for brevity. The greatest difference among editions centers not on the number of characters but on the rendering of certain phrases and the presence or absence of certain lines. |
In late 1973, two copies of the text was discovered in a tomb that was sealed in 168 BC in a suburb of the provincial capital of Changsha known as Mawangtui. The Mawangtui texts contain numerous omissions and errors and need to be used with great care, however.
Another text dates from the same period at another tomb sealed shortly after 200 BC. This tomb was located near the Grand Canal town of Hsuchou and was opened in 574 AD. Not long afterward, the court astrologer Fu Yi published an edition of the copy of the Dao De Jing that was found inside.
In addition to the Mawangtui and Fuyi texts, there are also more than sixty copies of the text that were found shortly after 1900 in the Silk Road oasis of Tunhuang. One of them was written by a man named Suo Tan in 270 AD, providing yet another early hand-written edition.
Another copy is from the great fourth-century calligrapher Wang Hsi-chih
Finally, the text appears in early commentaries of Yen Tsun, Ho-shang Kung, and Wang Pi (not to mention numerous passages quoted in the ancient works of Mo-tzu, Wen-tzu, Chuang-tzu, Lieh-tzu Han Fei, Huai-nan-tzu, and others).
Adapted from Red Pine's Tao Te Ching
Religious Daoism: Daoist Canon (Daozang)
History: Daoist Canon (Dao Zang)
|In 471 A.D. Daoist monks brought together the first Daoist Canon (Dao Zang) consisting of 1200 scrolls, which drew from all the main traditions of Daoism. All the sects recognize the Dao De Jing. The Dao Zang consisted mainly of Daoist masters' interpretations of this text and included writings on alchemy and immortality, the lives of immortals and heroes, and good works and longevity. It also contained philosophical essays and folktales, magic words and meditation, ritual and liturgy, and many other aspects of Daoist thought. |
In 748 A.D. the Tang emperor Tang Xuan-cong, who traces his ancestry to Lao Zi, sent scholars all over China to collect Daoist works. Not wishing to disappoint the emperor, the scholars reputedly returned with 7300 scrolls. These scrolls became the second Dao Zang.
Around 1016 A.D. of the Song dynasty, with printing already established in China, the Dao Zang was revised and many works collected during the Tang dynasty were cast out. This third Dao Zang consisted of only 4,565 scrolls.
In 1444 A.D. of the Ming dynasty, a final version was produced consisting of 5318 scrolls.