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The Second Book of the Tao Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 19, 2009
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
ѾѾѾ Somewhat recommended, with reservations and only lukewarm fuzzies.
First, a comment of what I mean by my title's reference to "cream cheese wontons". In the past, when people visiting from out-of-town ask me for advice on good Chinese restaurants in the area, my reply is always, "Do you want to eat at authentic Chinese restaurants or Americanized Chinese restaurants?" Sometimes, their reply will be, "What is the difference?" And I always tell them that many Americanized Chinese restaurants have cream cheese wontons, crab rangoon, and chop suey on the menu, along with wayyyyyy too much sugar added to their sauces, while most authentic Chinese restaurants do not have these on the menu. And while there is nothing wrong with enjoying the taste of these along with always ordering sesame chicken, I tell them that they should be aware that is not really true Chinese cooking.
And thus it is this similar non-authentic feeling that I am left with after reading Stephen Mitchell's adaptation of the Chuang Tzu and the Chung Yung. If you enter either of these terms in the Amazon Web site's 'Search' field, you will get far more true-to-form translations of these classics instead of one person's adapted and subjectively modified versions. Stephen's commentaries pull in a who's who of Western references (Einstein, Shakespeare, Yeats, and William Blake get mentioned along with various others), and the commentaries are almost poetic at times because of that. This is a good read, but please do yourself a favor and first read a more authentic translation of these classics. Otherwise, it would be like going to hear your local symphony play "The Music of Led Zeppelin" or "The Music of The Eagles" without having ever heard their original recordings.
a short introduction,
pp. 1-130 with even pages of highly "adapted" text & facing page commentary,
pp. 131-82--endnotes on both text & commentary,
pp. 183-200: endnotes on the adaptation (left out/added words).
It's an awkward structure IMHO--one must continually flip back & forth between these 3 parts. I particularly liked his introduction's summary of CT--p. xiii: "simply someone who doesn't linger in any mental construct about reality, someone who lives as effortless action & peace of heart, because he has freed himself from his own beliefs." The text/commentary section's pages are hardly full--padding the number of pages. Further, CT & CY are intermixed, unmarked as to source, out of order, & lack a discernible (to me) logical order.
Though I'd already read Lao Tze (e.g. Tao Te Ching), Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters, & Blofeld's Taoism: The Road to Immortality, I had few problems with the loose adaptation of the text except when a bit heavy-handed--e.g. important lines left out. I admired SM's 3rd section which explains the omissions/additions. While SM makes some valuable observations in his commentary (e.g. p. 61: "The Master lives a life of appropriate action because he doesn't believe his own thoughts, there is no barrier between his mind & reality" & p.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has little to do with the Tao Te Ching. i have completed the Tao Te Ching 14 times. this book is hardly worth listening to a 2nd time.Published 16 days ago by Larry A. Chrispyn
Thank you Stephen for your wonderful contribution. A great add on the the first book of Tao. I have this in audio as well. It is a great listen and a great read.Published 11 months ago by Johnnypotpie
The author takes two books at opposite ends of the spectrum and combines them in a nice complementary way. Along the way he ties these two back into the Tao Chi Ching. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jes
All things are connected... The Tao has awareness of nature and is nature, yet our words are not it...they are just pointers. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Wendell Fraser
This is easily-digestable Taoism. One complaint: Mitchell bows to political correctness and alternates genders, he and she, to refer to the master. Read morePublished 14 months ago by richard davis
This book happened to jibe with the thoughts and outlook of my 17 year old grandson.It was hard to believe just how much of this books' wisdom was in his world view already. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Rasta-man.
Full, humorous, deep, thought provoking and infinitely more readable than the Tao Te Ching.Published 17 months ago by Alex DuMars