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21 Reviews
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful introduction to Taoism!
I have been involved in Taoism for many years and found this book to be very true to the spirit of Tao. It clearly and beautifully explains the important concepts and people in straightforward language so that modern readers can not only understand it, but apply it! I heartily recommend this book to anyone who is interested in knowing more about Taoism.
Published on May 4, 2000

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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to Taoism
The book is organized into three parts: 1. History of Taoism, 2. Definition of Taoist Concepts, and 3. Taoism in Practice.

The second section is easily the best, most objective and least analytic. The authors define Tao, Te, wu-wei, ying and yang, p'u and chi. Taoism *is* "simple"; it isn't easy to practice, but far too many authors tend to analyze and...
Published on November 17, 2004 by foundpoem


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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to Taoism, November 17, 2004
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This review is from: Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance (Paperback)
The book is organized into three parts: 1. History of Taoism, 2. Definition of Taoist Concepts, and 3. Taoism in Practice.

The second section is easily the best, most objective and least analytic. The authors define Tao, Te, wu-wei, ying and yang, p'u and chi. Taoism *is* "simple"; it isn't easy to practice, but far too many authors tend to analyze and over-analyze while defining, which is the precise antithesis of Tao. The second section of this book takes a solid Taoist approach by simply defining the terms; you use them your Way.

The third section, Taoist Practice, represents the authors' mindset. It is how they practice Taoism -- they write about some Taoist arts but not others and don't mention that this was their writing approach. Likewise for The first section, Taoist History. It reads as well-researched but speaks only of certain elements.

The problematic part is that book is written as though all concepts presented are in equal measure the essence of--and necessary to--Taoism, with no mention of elements left out. I bought this for a friend who was interested in the basics of Taoism, and I picked it up to see what I'd be giving him. I ended up reading it; it's very short and fast and I liked it a lot. I thought highly of it. Then when I gave it to him I found that I wanted to explain which elements could be appropriate or not for him, or what he doesn't need to take as "fact" of Taoism as it's presented here.

I've considered Taoism indespensible in my life for over a decade and while this book is quite a good introduction, it has a somewhat one-sided view that's presented as universal, which makes this a good primer course but requires supplemental information. It's unfortunate because the material is good -- if only they would have written that the third chapter, for example, is about the ways *they* practice: e.g., martial art is one of the Toaist arts, much detail is given to it while other Taoist arts go unmentioned. As a first book about Taoism it might be difficult to differentiate between their thoughts and others'.

Overall: Good book. The 2nd section section is worth the price of admission, easily, for its simple definitions of typically over-described concepts. But parts one and three should be taken as the less objective of the three sections.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Less a practical guide than a history of Taosim., July 5, 2001
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This review is from: Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance (Paperback)
If you already know the history of Taoism and are looking for a more practical, modern guide, this probably isn't the right book. This book takes a much more traditional view of Taoism, teaching the reader about t'ai ch'i and other activities. Presenting Taoism more as a faith than a philosophy, it's just not what I was looking for in a more practical guide to living with balance in one's life.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful introduction to Taoism!, May 4, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance (Paperback)
I have been involved in Taoism for many years and found this book to be very true to the spirit of Tao. It clearly and beautifully explains the important concepts and people in straightforward language so that modern readers can not only understand it, but apply it! I heartily recommend this book to anyone who is interested in knowing more about Taoism.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple Taoism provides a hand book for life., April 1, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance (Paperback)
Simple Taoism provides a handbook for life. Deceptively brief, it explains in plain language the basics of Taoism and builds on these with simple exercises to help you put the theory into practice. It gently persuades you to look at your life again. Stand back and let things take their course - let your true nature emerge. A book that was meant to find its way onto my shelf. Feet on the ground stuff, but providing spiritual insight. An inspiration!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction!, January 19, 2009
This review is from: Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance (Paperback)
This is a very useful book. It provides some very important knowledge of the topic of Taoism that is not always easy to find elsewhere. It reads very well and has some excellent exercises in it. The only reason that the book does not receive 5 stars is that it is sometimes hard to follow and a little bit difficult to understand. If you can get past that, this is a great companion for anyone interested in Taoism.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book!, March 27, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance (Paperback)
This is a beautiful little book that is a pleasure to read. It answered many of my questions about Taoism and gave me some good ideas about how to apply it to my life. Taoist philosophy has a lot to offer for living calmer, with less stress while still getting things done. I highly recommend this book.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missing the point, July 9, 2010
This review is from: Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance (Paperback)
Once you start telling people how to live, the whole idea of Tao is gone. The whole point of Tao is to live, in the constant stream of life, in the way that lets you blend with the environment. You can't tell someone how to do that. There is no guide to how each person should live their life. Tao is finding the way that works for you, and the rest of the world, in harmony on your own path, no guides.
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38 of 57 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I detest writing negative reviews. ;-(, January 23, 2002
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This review is from: Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance (Paperback)
This book attempts to do three things and fails all three miserably.
Tries to teach Qigong with only three exercizes. (In my opinion; the authors should have taught Ba Duan Jin (Eight peices of brocade).) This would stimulate all 12 of the primary meridians. and improve your physical and psychological health.
Tries to convey the essence of the Taoist faith. (very limited in scope)
Teaches breathing exercizes, (especially a breathing pattern where you draw in the stomach on the inhale (this is called reverse taoist breathing, and builds Qi in your body very quickly)). This can be dangerous if you do not know how to release the surcharge of Qi, and no; the authors do not warn of this problem, nor teach how to release the energy safely.
Please see my Taoist listmania list for recommended titles and allow this volume to collect dust; because it is dangerous to your physical and psychological health.
I encourage questions and comments; Two Bears.
Wah doh Ogedoda (We give thanks Great Spirit)
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Communicates the spirit of Taoism to you!, October 30, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance (Paperback)
This book reveals the secrets hidden in the mysterious Tao, Yin and Yang, Te, and the Way of non action. It gives straightforward instructions for chi kung, tai chi, and healing with acupressure. A simple yet comprehensive book that shows you how to use Taoism to improve your life.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirituality and Health, October 15, 2001
This review is from: Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance (Paperback)
Taoism is a complex vast collection of customs, rituals, and beliefs that have never been codified into doctrine. This ancient Chinese path emphasizes attunement to the natural rhythms of life, the wisdom of intuition, and the value of inaction or wu-wei. C. Alexander and Annellen Simpkins, authors of "Zen Around the World," discuss the importance of chi (life force or energy), yin and yang, the five elements, and simplicity in Taoism.
The movement from Lao-Tzu's writing about the Tao to the contemporary search for methods of enhancing and prolonging life is a zigzag course rather than one of logical progression. "Wisdom lies in not contending," write the Simpkins. "Sensitive to the inner nature of self and others, Lao-Tzu''s Way leads through mystery by returning to the core of life."
Those who are interested in living in balance will find plenty of helpful resources in Taoism including meditation, Eastern medicine, the martial arts of tai chi and aikido, feng shui, and techniques for working with dreams.
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Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance
Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance by C. Alexander Simpkins (Paperback - May 15, 1999)
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