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Tao Te Chingby Lao Tsu
Synopses & Reviews
"No one has done better in conveying Lao Tsu's simple and laconic style of writing, so as to produce an English version almost as suggestive of the many meanings intended. This is a most useful, as well as beautiful, volume—and what it has to say is exactly what the world, in its present state, needs to hear." - Alan Watts
RELIGION/ EASTERN STUDIES
The Tao Te Ching, the esoteric but infinitely practical book written most probably in the sixth century B.C. by Lao Tsu, has been translated more frequently than any work except the Bible. This translation of the Chinese classic, which was first published twenty-five years ago, has sold more copies than any of the others. It offers the essence of each word makes Lao Tsu's teaching immediate and alive.
The philosophy of Lao Tsu is simple: Accept what is in front of you without wanting the situation to be other than it is. Study the natural order of things and work with it rather than against it, for to try to change what is only sets up resistance. Nature provides for all without discrimination—therefore let us present the same face to everyone and treat all men as equals, however they may be have. If we watch carefully, we will see that work proceeds more quickly and easily if we stop looking for results. In the clarity of a still and open mind, truth will be reflected. We will come to appreciate the original meaning of the word "understand," which means "to stand under." We serve whatever or whoever stands before us, without any thought for ourselves. Te—which may be translated as "virtue" or "strength"—lies always in Tao, or "natural law." In other words: Simply be.
For nearly two generations, this translation of the Tao Te Ching has been the standard for those seeking access to the wisdom of Taoist thought. Now Jane English and her long-time editor, Toinette Lippe, have refreshed and revised the translation, so that it more faithfully reflects the Classical Chinese in which it was first written, while taking into account changes in our own language and eliminating any lingering infelicities. This beautiful oversized edition features over a hundred new photographs by Jane English that help express the vast spirit of the Tao. Also included is an introduction by the well-known writer and scholar of philosophy and comparative religion, Jacob Needleman.
Lao Tsu’s philosophy is simple: Accept what is in front of you without wanting the situation to be other than it is. Study the natural order of things and work with it rather than against it, for to try to change what is only sets up resistance. Nature provides everything without requiring payment or thanks. It does so without discrimination. So let us present the same face to everyone and treat them all as equals, however they may behave. If we watch carefully, we will see that work proceeds more quickly and easily if we stop "trying," if we stop putting in so much extra effort, if we stop looking for results. In the clarity of a still and open mind, truth will be reflected. Te—which may be translated as "virtue" or "strength"—lies always in Tao meaning "the way" or "natural law." In other words: Simply be.
About the Author
GIA-FU FENG was born in 1919 in Suzhou. He grew up in Shanghai and during World War II graduated from Peking University. He came to the United States in 1947 and earned a Master’s Degree at the Wharton School. Meeting Alan Watts in San Francisco and studying at the American Academy of Asian Studies, he found the path he had been seeking. He taught at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California and founded Stillpoint Foundation, a Taoist community in Colorado where he lived until his death in 1985.
JANE ENGLISH, whose photographs form an integral part of this book, was born in Boston. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received her doctorate in experimental high energy particle physics from the University of Wisconsin. Her other books and calendars include Different Doorway: Adventures of a Caesarean Born, Fingers Pointing to the Moon, and the IceWisdom Calendar. She lives in Vermont. Her current work may be seen at www.eheart.com.
TOINETTE LIPPE worked at Alfred A. Knopf for more than thirty years. In 1989, she founded the Bell Tower imprint. Her own books include Nothing Left Over: A Plain and Simple Life and Caught in the Act: Reflections on Being, Knowing, and Doing. She now devotes herself to East Asian brush painting and her paintings and cards can be seen at www.toinettelippe.com.
JACOB NEEDLEMAN is professor emeritus of philosophy at San Francisco State University. Among his books are Lost Christianity, The American Soul, and What Is God?. In addition to his teaching and writing, he serves as a consultant in the fields of psychology, education, medical ethics, and philanthropy, and he was featured on Bill Moyers’ acclaimed PBS series, “A World of Ideas.” www.jacobneedleman.com.
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