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Master of the Three Ways: Reflections of a Chinese Sage on Living a Satisfying Life Paperback – May 15, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I recommend this work to anyone interested in the way of the world’s greatest sages, whose teachings can help us all to see into and improve our own lives.”—from the Foreword by Red Pine, author of Zen Baggage and Road to Heaven

About the Author


WILLIAM SCOTT WILSON is the renowned translator of many bestselling classics from Kodansha, including Hagakure, The Book of Five Rings and, most recently, Yojokun. He is also the author of The Lone Samurai.

HUNG YING-MING was an enigmatic figure who flourished in the late 16th century. Speculation suggests that he was a scholar-official in China at the time he wrote this book.

BILL PORTER (aka RED PINE) is the author of Zen Baggage and Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits; and has published acclaimed translations of the Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; Reprint edition (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590309936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590309933
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Terry Tozer on January 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Unencumbered Spirit (also known as the "Saikontan" or "Vegetable Root Discourses") is composed of 357 short sayings, sometimes in prose sometimes poetical. None more than say a dozen lines long. Written by a well educated ancient Chinese sage several hundred years ago & drawing upon the wisdom & teachings of Taoism, Confucianism & Buddhism.

Some of the statements are very clear & can be understood straight away, others require a second reading before the subtle meaning & intent can be drawn from it.

The content is packed with little pearls of wisdom on how to live correctly & in peace with one another, including proper behaviour & simplistic living.

William Scott Wilson's style is easily accessible & the book has been presented in such a way that it is a pleasure to read & immerse you in. This re-written version makes these beautiful verses much more accessible & interesting.

There is an older version of this book printed in 1985 called Roots of Wisdom: Saikontan which is slightly more expanded. Both books are very well annotated with notes at the end to give a deeper meaning & explanation of the text.

This is sure to be a classic in due course & to bring happiness, peace & success to all who practice its tenants sincerely.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Martinek on April 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For my opinion of William Scott Wilson as a translator (excellent), see my review of his translation of the Tao Te Ching. The translation and notes are a delight to read. (Always read Wilson's footnotes!)

Every person in western society should read this book. We do not have to embrace Hung Ying-ming's philosophy, but I've known few people in my life who would not benefit from it. I was so impressed I bought copies for my sons. While some of the specific advice in this book don't apply or are impractical in the modern world, the principles generally do, and will add to the value of life.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Salvation on April 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book that can work as a confirmation of what we know but can't fully express about human nature and all it's workings. The author perhaps had a vast amount of experience in life and the clarity to see to the core of how life unfolds for everyone regardless of status, race, religion or culture.
A valuable guide to answers that evade us when trying to come to grips with the seemingly irrational behaviour of intelligent people.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Secluded Path on January 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is the work of a true master, a brilliant mind who lived four centuries ago and of whom almost nothing is known. The text is essentially the poetic summary of thousands of years of wisdom of the three main philosophic traditions of China, containing deep reflection and insightful guidance on the most important aspects of life. The wisdom contained in this book is deeply philosophical, valid across almost all cultures and, more importantly, timeless. An illuminating book, a true gem and an outstanding contribution to the world's culture. Do not let one more year of your life without reading and reflecting on it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. R. Tong on January 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good book. A thoughtfully rendered translation of a seminal work. Highly recommended for anyone interested in a deeper than usual explication of the enduring wisdom of true classical Chinese sages.
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