Bringing out the profundity of the Chinese language into English is challenging to say the least, but over a decade of study, application and thus familiarity, have all aided me in producing two translations of two classical Chinese texts. Click on the images to view the full translation.
This is a new English translation of the Great Learning and a rarely seen commentary of this Chinese and Confucian classic. The new translation of the classic, the commentary and its translation are based on ancient Chinese teachings on the nature and realization of humanity’s fundamental nature. These teachings were central to the Great Learning but fell into obscurity in China for 2,000 years due to imperial book burnings.
Resurrected in the mid-20th century in the form of a commentary, these core teachings of Confucianism also weave through Daoism and Buddhism, uniting the three in the purpose of spiritually awakening humanity in this era of materialism and high-technology.
The new translation of the classic’s text aims for brevity, simplicity and clarity for ease of pedagogic memorization, without losing the profundity. The commentary translation aims to bring out clearly to readers Confucianism’s vision and step by step process of realizing widespread harmony that must begin, first, and always, from the internal harmony of the individual.
This is a translation of part of the second classic, Doctrine of the Mean, included in the commentary Great Learning and Doctrine of the Mean—A New Simplified Commentary. It follows the translation of part of the first classic in the commentary, Great Learning, which is ideally meant to be read first before this translation.
In Confucianism, Great Learning is said to be the entry way into the study and practice of virtue and is traditionally followed, in the orderly fashion of Confucians, by the study and practice of the Doctrine of the Mean. This order is emphasized so that the learner is guided toward a masterful level of virtuosity—a virtuosity replete with its etymological root and meaning of virtue. This leads to a revelation of a virtue beyond virtue, or as the Great Learning calls it, enlightened virtue.
Enlightened virtue is the fundamental nature of humanity, the spirit, or as it is translated within this work, the True Self, a translation that coincides with the cosmology of pre-Confucian Chinese philosophy. In the mid-20th century, those privy to this philosophy, and its presumably lost core teachings that also threaded themselves through early Confucianism, were the recipients of this commentary as a teaching and guide to the practice and propagation of both ancient classics within the commentary.
Great Learning explains the why and the how to learning, realizing and propagating those core teachings unto the realization of the True Self upon the spiritual path of virtue. Following mastery of virtue that leads to insight into the True Self, Doctrine of the Mean teaches the subsequent step of how to tread the spiritual path of the True Self in human life that is inextricably influenced by change and the binary forces of Yin and Yang. As Yin (0) and Yang (1) are the most fundamental binary of temporal life, the Doctrine of the Mean teaches how to live within the binary interplay of “a Yin and a Yang,” of “0’s” and “1’s,” without losing connection with their source, the True Self, and its source, the ultimate “0,” or Dao. Due to ancient imperial book burnings, that forced these core teachings into obscurity for over 2,000 years, this commentary and translation provide a refreshing of vital teachings that thread themselves through the foundation of these two Confucian classics, Confucianism’s philosophy and history, as well as through a lineage of transmission known as the Golden Thread.