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Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living (Shambhala Dragon Editions) Paperback – December 11, 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Perhaps the best-known sacred texts of Taoism are the Tao Te Ching and the Chung Tzu. Yet the Lieh-Tzu is familiar to Taoists as a practical guide to the workings of everyday life. Although philosophic in its approach to the creation of the world, the Lieh-Tzu focuses primarily on matters like the nature and development of happiness, the emptiness of rank and wealth, and the value of trust and confidence. Wong, director of studies at the Fung Loy Kok Taoist Temple in Denver, offers a bright and lively translation that captures the essential insights of the Lieh-Tzu. Recommended primarily for academic and large public libraries.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A bright and lively translation that captures the essential insights of the Lieh-Tzu."—Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Series: Shambhala Dragon Editions
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; Revised edition (December 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570628998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570628993
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Lieh Tzu is the one of the less known Taoist classics, yet perhaps the most accessable and enjoyable one. It's a collection of 111 stories said to be by the noted scholar Leih-Tzu around the fourth century BCE. (Who's it really by? Who knows? And who cares?)
The stories cover a variety of topics, such as choosing what is important, how to lead a group of people, archery, choosing ones targets well, Confucius, why one chooses to be a Taoist, and much more.
My favorite quote is "Enlightenment is a very normal experience, attainable by everyone. Therefore, there is nothing mysterious or secretive about it."
A simply wonderful, tranquil book that is enjoyable to read and contemplate.
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Lao Tzu, the first author of Taoism, described abstruse, metaphorical scenes in abstruse language. Chuang Tzu uses prosaic descriptions, but still described philosophical ideal rather than gritty facts. Lieh Tzu came later. He used prosaic words to describe prosaic, everyday scenes, and to find enlightenment in them.

Many ring true for me. The "yellow mare" reminded me of a technician who was finely attuned to the circuits we used. He was always wrong in his diagnosis onf the problems he showed me. That never mattered. He was always right in pointing out that there was a problem, often based on small clues that I might have missed.

Lieh discusses honesty and friendship, poverty and happiness, great riches and death. Still, the language is always modern and clear, and a good supplement to Chuang and Lao.

My problem, though, is that this isn't a translation. It's Wong's interpretation. She says, early on, "Instead of a straight translation of the sematics of the text, I have decided to present the 'voice' of Lieh Tzu." As much as I like Wong's text, it troubles me. Translation is never exact, but there are degrees of inexactness. I am concerned about how much Lieh's text has suffered.

This is good anyway, and I'll probably come back to it eve if I find a more scholarly Lieh Tzu. This is readable and thought-provoking, no matter what it's authenticity.

//wiredweird
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Format: Paperback
This book, unlike the more well known works by Lao-Tse and Chuang-Tse, is mostly made up of stories, and is very well suited to children. I read my library's copy, and I wish I could buy a copy to keep for myself, and for my children someday. It is an immensely comforting and wise text we owe to Lieh-Tse, a Taoist master who lived about two centuries after Lao-Tse.
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Format: Paperback
One point that should be clarified about this book is that it is not a direct translation of Lieh Tzu. In the intro, the author explains that her goal was to "open up" the text for modern Western readers by essentially retelling the stories in her own way. This is a perfectly valid approach, of course, since she is open about it. In some cases, her renditions sharpen the point and even improve the literary quality of the original. In others, she may have reduced some quirkiness of the original in deference to political correctness, or may have added influences from later Taoist thought. This is a good edition to read for contemplation, but if you are interested in the history of Taoist thought at all, stick with A.C. Graham's more literal translation.
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What a great version of Lieh Tzu -- much better than any I have read before. I know that Eva Wong (who I have found has done a superb job in translating Taoist texts in general) states that this is somewhat of an "interpretation" rather than a straightforward translation, but I have to say that it works! She captures the spirit and meaning of Lieh Tzu's words very well indeed. This is one book I will keep near to read and re-read many times.
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By Larry Ladd on September 11, 2010
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This is a wonderful book, nicely written and laid out. After reading it through the first time I felt that I finally met the master sage. I constantly re-read it each day and meditate/reflect on each 'lesson.' Truly the book offers a guide to practical living in the Taoist manner; however, there are some 'lessons' in which the oriental mind has to be carefully interpreted into the Western understanding. If one is willing to do this: to make the 'lessons' fit into the Western way of Life, then one will gain immensely from this book. In other words, there has to be a certain effort and dedication on the part of the reader to incorporate this 'guide' into one's lifestyle. I highly recommend it; but also know that "what is one man's meat is another man's poison." So, keep an open mind and be ready for a new experience.
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The information in this book can also be found more or less in a lot of Taoist, Confucianist and Buddhist books. What is amazing about it is the quality of the translation from Chinese into English. While in many of those books I get lost trying to understand the meaning, Eva Wong brings this book to life. I feel Lieh Tzu is walking with me on the beach and bringing a measure of clarity to my thoughts​. Kudos Eva.
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Excellent book by Eva Wong on Lieh-Tzu. This book is a practical approach to Taoist philosophy that can be applied to everyday living in the real world. The stories of Lieh-Tzu cover a wide range of topics that most people encounter in daily life. Following the advice of Lieh-Tzu enables one to understand life from a Taoist perspective, which is the natural way of living life.
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