Why select 33 Chapters from Laozi – 为何选择三十三篇

Laozi has been an influential treaty on Chinese people and its culture since its recording 2500 years ago. Its core message are of wuwuo (non-self) and wuwei (non-doing). These concepts were later adopted by spiritual seekers, scholars and emperors in living their lives, governing people, and ruling their countries, and have spread to the daily lives of Chinese as part of the Chinese Culture and tradition.

The entire Laozi consists of 81 chapters. Some scholars name the first 37 chapters as Dao Jing (道经), and the remaining 44 chapters as De Jing (德经). They claim that the first 37 chapters explain the concept of the Dao (Reality), and the rest explore the concept of De (Virtue). This division is problematic as one would notice that there are chapters that explains De in the first 37 chapters (e.g. Ch7, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29), while Dao is explained in the remaining 44 chapters (e.g. 43, 51, 67, 70).

Furthermore, upon examination of the text, we could roughly find 3 laozi(s) speaking within the 81 chapters: First Laozi being an enlightened master who speaks from a perspective of non-self and non-doing; second Laozi being an advanced spiritual student who teaches the public of the Daoist principles; and the third Laozi being a government strategist who promotes Daoist concepts as ruling principles for a country.  These 3 Laozi(s) speak of the following chapters respectively:

Laozi the enlightened master (33 chapters):


Laozi the advanced spiritual student (27 chapters):


Laozi the government strategist (21 Chapters):


How could there be three sets of writings?  It could be because of a single person recording a text at different times in his life, or there could be multiple authors contributing to the text.  The reason that constitute to the current version of DaoDeJing is not the concern of this document, nor will this article explore the comparisons of these three Laozi(s).  This site will focus on articulating the central and highest teachings of the DaoDeJing, as recorded in the listed 33 core chapters.

老子“道德经”是中国文明里一部极具影响力的经典,已有两千五百年的历史。它的核心思想是无我,和无为。这些思想深深的影响了后来中国人,包括修道者,学者,领袖,去修行,研究学问,和统治国家。 发展至今,已变成到中国人日常生活的每一部分。


此外,当更深入的研究整篇经文时,我们在81章道德经内大致可以找到三个“老子”:第一的老子是个体会到无我和无为的人; 第二个老子是一个资深的修道人和道学老师; 第三个老子是政府的战略家,以道家的理论去应用于如何统治国家。这三个“老子”,分别 讲了以下各章:

无我的老子 (三十三章):


资深的修道人 (二十七章):


政府的战略家 (二十一 章):


为什么会有三个老子呢? 这可能是老子在不同的时间的记录,也可能是多个作者的合拼文本(庄子就是一例子)。构成”道德经“当前版本的原因,和比较这三个老子的内容,并不是本文关注的重点。这网站将专注于阐明老子核心和最完满的教导,“道德经”中核心的三十三章