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Tao Te Ching: The Book of Meaning and Life (Arkana) Paperback – November 1, 1988


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Paperback, November 1, 1988
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Product Details

  • Series: Arkana
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (November 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140190600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140190601
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
The best I've read to date is probably Wilhelm's edition.
Wesley L. Janssen
This translation, along with two others (those of Wing-Tsit Chan and Paul Carus), provides the best explanitory introduction of this ancient Chinese classic.
Philosopher's Stone
The book is rounded out with 28-pages of detailed chapter-by-chapter Notes, and a brief Bibliography of Chinese and Western sources.
tepi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By tepi on May 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
The title-page of my earlier Arkana (1985) edition of this book (which
does not include the later supplementary material by Darrell T. Liu)
reads: "TAO TE CHING - The Book of Meaning and Life - Lao Tzu -
Translation and Commentary by Richard Wilhelm - Translated into
English by H. G. Ostwald." Wilhelm's German translation was first
published in 1925 and appeared in Mr Ostwald's clear and vigorous
English in 1985.
Richard Wilhelm, of course, is better known for his
translation of the 'I Ching,' a translation that has had an enormous
influence. His remains the key edition of this classic for English
readers, and was so well done it is unlikely ever to be superseded.

In the present work, Wilhelm has given us a remarkably fine edition
of the 'Tao Te Ching,' a text whose author he feels was greatly
influenced by the 'I Ching.' His edition breaks down into three main
parts.
After a brief Preface we are given an interesting and
informative 20-page Introduction which covers The author, The text,
Historical context, and Content. Although relatively brief, Wilhelm
covers a lot of ground in this Introduction, and the general reader
might find the fourth part of it heavy going. It seems clearly
intended for the serious student who is prepared to come to grips with
some of the deeper philosophical implications of the text.

As for the text itself, I've
no idea what Wilhelm's original German is like, but Mr Ostwald is to
be congratulated on having given us a brisk and lively English
translation.
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Swing King on December 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
By far this translation stands out as the absolute best in my eyes. We will never have a "word for word" translation of this old book, and so we are left with comparing one translation with another. I study and practice Zen, and although The Tao Te Ching in a technical sense is not considered a Buddhist work, I would dare say it should be included as a Buddhist Sutra. This translation, for those of us who speak primarily in English, is quite illuminating and very deep.
After having compared Richard Wilhelm's translation with 3 other sources, I've concluded that his is the most alive. I feel that my practice with Zen allows me to see this more clearly, so to me this work is synonymous with Zen Buddhism. I recommend that anyone, of any religious affiliation or philosophical background, grab this book immedietely. I don't think you will at all be disappointed.
Enjoy!:)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wesley L. Janssen VINE VOICE on October 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
The Tao Te Ching / Dao De Jing is said to be the second most printed, translated, and read book of the ages, surpassed only by the Bible. It is notably a challenging text to understand, even for the professional Sinologist or philosopher. It is not surprising that an ancient text that has been so recurrently translated and exposited, and which is so counterintuitive to most human culture--including the culture in which it was produced, and even to much other philosophy, should have produced quite divergent versions and exegetical opinions. Many translations and expositions travel wide of the mark (just ask anyone with a contrary view!) and this has been the case since distant antiquity. As with the Bible, schooled commentators have been happy to bend their expositions so as to conform the text(s) to their own views. The most popular `translation' of recent years is perhaps the worst (Stephen Mitchell's).

Like many people I've read a few translations of the Tao. The best I've read to date is probably Wilhelm's edition. Wilhelm's German translation is now almost a century old, and an English rendering of his translation was first printed less than thirty years ago. Wilhelm's sinological scholarship and philosophical sensitivity to the Dao and to the mysterious nature of its distant history, as well as his knowledge of other ancient Chinese texts, bring trustworthiness to this translation. His introduction, commentary and notes are excellent.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Philosopher's Stone on September 7, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This translation, along with two others (those of Wing-Tsit Chan and Paul Carus), provides the best explanitory introduction of this ancient Chinese classic. Wilhelm's Introduction and Commentary on Lao Tzu's teaching are unique in opening the English reader's eyes to the philosophy in the text that he might otherwise miss out on. It is also a good idea to read a translation based on more a recently discovered Chinese text. Still, here one will find the essential teachings of an ancient philosopher who had a remarkably good grasp of human nature and of the importance of our loving peace and co-operation and self-helpfulness/self-reliance over strife and competition and servile dependence.
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