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Tao Teh Ching (Shambhala Pocket Classics) Paperback – September 26, 1990


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Product Details

  • Series: Shambhala Pocket Classics
  • Paperback: 115 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (September 26, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877735425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877735427
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Written more than two thousand years ago, the Tao Teh Ching is probably the most influential work of Asian thought. . . . This lucid translation demonstrates that these teachings are useful in the arts of leadership as they are in developing a sense of balance and harmony in everyday life."— Branches of Light

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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The Tao Teh Ching is one of the best books ever written.
Linden
This book is pocket size, likely smaller than your wallet, and in reading it, has struck me as being one of the original founts of wisdom.
Carlos R.
Read it all in one sitting, or take it one chapter per day and really chew on what is being said, slowly.
M. Maxwell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Beaulac on July 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
I always appreciate a translation of the Tao Te Ching by a native speaker of Chinese who is also fluent in English. John C.H. Wu is just that and is one of my recommended translators for friends choosing a Tao Te Ching. Wu gives the Chinese text adjacent to each chapter in English, and a translation that Thomas Merton calls superb. I must agree with Merton. Chinese idoms and the nuances of the language are familiar territory to the translator here and this becomes obvious in his very readable and clear translation.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
Why read a version of the Tao Teh Ching translated by some American who thought Taoism was something "exotic" when you can have this one--written by an earthy man born and raised in Ningpo? As Wu once said of himself, "I was initiated early into the mysteries of paradox."
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Vivek Sharma VINE VOICE on October 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
"True words are not fancy

Fancy words are not true"

The ancient wisdom flows across the centuries to illuminate us. The simple sentences are like calm seas, they have a great depth and greater treasures beneath, to be revealing only to them who dive and seek them.

"There is nothing better than to know that you don't know"

The whole text is laced with wisdom, insight, instruction and knowledge. A must read for everyone interested in Taoism, philosophy, morality, spirituality or with the plain desire to benefit from the immortal thoughts and works of this ancient great!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Linden on January 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Tao Teh Ching is one of the best books ever written. It can be spiritual, or it can be secular. It can be philisophical, or it can be practical and earthy. As a Taoist, I can tell you that this is one of the best translations available.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Jones on February 21, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm comparing Wu's translation as I work my way through Ellen Chen's translation and commentary and find Chen's "better," at least for me. Of course, Wu's translation is from 1961 and provided without commentary, and Chen's work is from 1989, after the discovery of the Ma-wang Tui texts in 1973, so she had more to work material to work with. Her commentary adds so much to the reader's understanding of the text.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Magic Lemur on October 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
I keep a collection of small books in various jacket pockets and find them very useful for when I'm bored or in need of spiritual input. This particular version of the Tao Te Ching IS one of those small (11cm x 7cm) books that fits in your pocket and yet can be brought out as a quick read/ refresher.

And, having read a few translations, I've found this to be one of the clearest and most eloquent. The meaning is always understandable and the pithy richness of Taoist thought comes across so powerfully, that it only takes 1 or 2 verses for feelings of joy, enlightenment and inner peace to start coursing over you.

The one downside is that there is no commentary or index. If you are just starting out on your Taoist journey, then I'd recommend Wayne Dyer's Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao first, and then have this as a top-up for Lunch breaks and times when you have a minute or two to spare.

Needless to say, my version is filled with underlining & notes, as I always find the clear expression of concepts so wise, profound and insightful that I dare not trust my Swiss-Cheese memory with losing them!

Anyway, if your looking for an excellent pocket version of the Tao Te Ching, then this comes thoroughly recommended. If your looking for a different interpretation and space isn't an issue, then I've found this version: Tao Te Ching equally powerful.

And whatever happens, I wish you luck on your journey towards spiritual enlightenment.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Demitri Pevzner on March 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
Since there are multiple ways to translate the text, the reader should familiarize him/her self with more than one translation. Due to the poetic dialect used in the text and the use of various plays on words, a particular line can have multiple meanings. In addition, some translators tend to edit out/modify what they feel are mistakes on the part of the original. For this reason, no one single translation is a complete work.

Furthermore, this text should be viewed within the context of Taoism's shamanic origins and traditions. To refrain from doing so, would remove the message from it's original context. Then again, the text has been re-interpreted many times by various elements of Chinese society, so an originally intended defenition may be somewhat moot in our time. The great thing about the text, is that it can be (and has been) re-interpreted in any historic period, and still retain it's unique message.

The text is a series of verses offering advice on how to lead a virtuous life in the context of the Tao, advice to a ruler on benevolence, and a guide to becoming a sage. Since the meanings are multiple, it can also be interpreted in the context of martial arts (Taiji Quan,) and various other pursuits. All in all, a valuable text for anyone looking to expand their spiritual views. A must for any scholar of Taoism.
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43 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Jee Ho Kim on August 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
Tao Teh Ching is a monumental work. Unlike other religious texts, the Tao Teh Ching is barely 5000 letters spread over 81 single-page poetic passages. You can probably read thru it in a couple hours or less. But for the serious reader, it can take a lifetime of study and contemplation. In ancient times, scholars in China and Korea really did spend a lifetime on this one text, not only sudying, but transcribing it, discussing it, and abiding by its tenets in their daily lives. I've myself pored over it many times in Chinese, Korean and now English, and every time I read it I cannot but be amazed by the wisdom of Lao Tse (or, as some allege, the group of people who contributed to this text).

The problem with English, or I suppose any language not associated with Chinese, is that it is almost impossible to translate Tao Teh Ching with sufficient coherency. Chinese words are each and all very efficient, in that virtually every single "letter" is replete with meaning. Therefore, whereas the Chinese may use 10 words to describe something, English might require 10 times that words to adequately translate the meaning. For example, in the second passage, third stanza, the translated text says, "therefore, the Sage manages his affairs without Ado." What does "without Ado" mean? In chinese this is stated in two letters as "Mu Wi" - non-action. It does not mean to sit back and not participate or instigate any activity. Rather, "Mu Wi" means doing things in a very natural, spontaneous way that is not forced, does not create conflict and has no secular motives. As there are no secular motives behind the action, it is as if the Sage does not "act" in the way other poeple act. His actions are like breathing, and almsot imperceptible; thus it is as if he does not act.
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