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Wen-Tzu: Understanding the Mysteries Paperback – September 29, 1992
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Original Language: Chinese
More About the Author
Thomas Cleary is the preeminent translator of classic Eastern texts, including The Essential Tao, The Essential Confucius, The Secret of the Golden Flower, and the bestselling The Art of War.
Top Customer Reviews
Points of style also seem more like Lao Tzu than like later authors. In fact, the Wen Tzu fits nicely into a continuum. Lao was the earliest, also the most poetic, abstract, obscure. Chuang Tzu was probably later, and had a more prosaic, anecdotal, and understandable style. Lieh Tzu was the latest, and even more pedestrian and pragmatic than Chuang. Wen fits neatly between Lao and Chuang. His writing is less figurative and poetic than Lao's, but still more ethereal than Chuang's. Like Lao, Wen addresses the Tao directly, rather than through the kinds of stories that Chuang uses with such good effect.
Wen Tzu has a strong message all his own, however. He conveys a strong sense of changing needs of each different moment, and of the proper relationships between things. He notes that a bow is needed for hunting, but is put away when the game is caught. He also points out that the wheel functions only when all the spokes are properly fitted, and that the harp plays only when all of its strings are present and properly tuned. One spoke can't carry a cart and one string can't play a melody. Both messages have strong social meanings: the Way gives a person diffferent duties at different times, and that organization of many people into a society may also be proper, if done in accordance with the Way. This is why Wen's "quotes" of Lao are sometimes suspect. It was the tradition, back then, for a newer writer to ascribe his words to an older authority.Read more ›
I know some Chinese and have checked several parts of Cleary's translation and found that it is not too bad at all. Unfortunately he sometimes leaves out whole passages without alerting the reader. In my opinion, he should have included an appendix discussing his translation methods and perhaps a glossary as well (w/Chinese characters).
one day, i was walking in a bookstore and i saw the wen tzu. i asked myself, "what the hell is the wen tzu?" so as i looked at the cover, it says that it is the further teachings of lao tzu. now that adds more to the "what the hell" in my head. but i gave it a try. after reading a few passages, i am very happy to say that Wen Tzu is actually the book i've been waiting for. why? first of all, it's very direct like an "in your face" kind of explanation. second, wen tzu for me is actually an extension, more detailed version of the Tao Te Ching, not mentioning how big the book is. it's safe to say that this is the tao te ching, the director's cut, or the guide to the tao te ching. it is that good. believe me. even i believe that it was written by lao tzu because of its content. you'll just have to read it to believe it, and i'm happy to share this book to those who are looking for a great taoist book, or a book that can motivate you to live peacefully.
always smile a lot and take care.
See Chapter 87 on the absurdity of get-tough laws, and on the impotence of intellectual social experimentation. See Chapter 89 for an ancient articulation of post-modern anti-foundationalism, Chapter 103 on why class-based laws ultimately fail. Chapter 107 advocates proactivism over reactionism. Chapters 111-112 explain why well-intentioned social programs often harm their beneficiaries. 125 explains why government is needed to protect minorities. 151 advocates environmentalism. 158 demostrates the dire results of partisan politics and poll-watching.
All in all a remarkable text that makes modern politics and society stand up in new relief.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the most profoundly wise works ever written. Written more than 2,000 years ago, I find it hard to believe what many propose, that humanity today is the most evolved, and the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ken Leisering
People who have read the Tao Te Ching, and were quite pleased and affirmative about it, and wonder about what (tao-book) to read next, will certainly do themselves a favor to pick... Read morePublished on September 7, 2012 by Ram Lee
For most Taoists, the Tao Te Ching (TTC) is the foundational document. It addresses the fundamental issues of life within the confines of 81 poetical verses. Read morePublished on January 1, 2010 by Trey Smith
This book provides an imminently readable translation of the fascinating oral teachings of Lao Tzu. Read morePublished on February 9, 2008 by Justin W. Askins
I do not claim to be an expert on ancient Chinese civilization. However, I do seem to be able to recognize the spirit of the true Tao when I encounter it. Read morePublished on January 7, 2008 by OAKSHAMAN
This book I personally consider as being the "Bible of all Bibles", the most profound source and complete collection of ancient human wisdom from the "father of wisdom" - as Alan... Read morePublished on August 14, 2005 by Joe Wink
I frankly had some difficulties with Lao Tzu. It may be due to the fact that the book's popularity invites too many "free" translations and "interpretations". Read morePublished on December 19, 2004 by isala