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Christ the Eternal Tao Paperback – March 1, 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Christ the Eternal Tao" is a complex, challenging and mystical work, full of a wealth of aesthetic and spiritual insights." --Alice Davenport -- The Wichita Eagle

This is a remarkable book, and one that should be read not only by those interested in comparitive religion, not only by those who have turned to the East in their search for reality, not only by those who feel that Christianity is no longer pertinent, but also by those who wish to deepen their spiritual lives and come to know, love, and serve God. --Rama P. Coomaraswamy -- Parabola Magazine, November 1999

When we at the Abode received the proof copy of this amazing tome, I jumped upon it instantly.... I have been moved by the mystical spirit permeating this labor of love.... This volume is a bridge between cultures and faiths, but even more, it is a bridge between the individual and the Uncreated Light -- The Empty Vessel: A Journal of Contemporary Taoism, Winter 1999

From the Publisher

People of the modern West have to a great extent become jaded by Christian terminology and doctrinal constructions, yet many of them are drawn to the Person of Christ Himself. Christ the Eternal Tao seeks to develop not only a new way of seeing Christ, but also a new language by which to express His message, drawing from the enigmatic style and poetic language of Lao Tzu.

The uniqueness of this book lies in the fact that it is highly original and at the same time totally traditional. The content of ancient Christian experience, with all its latent power, remains the same, but it is presented in a far-seeing, all-encompassing way that soars above the bounds of Western culture. In keeping with the Chinese mind and the way of Lao Tzu, the book moves from laconic poetry to scientific precision in seeking to arrive at the "minimal": the very essence of Reality. It speaks of the mysteries of the nature of the Tao, then describes the drama of the Tao "taking flesh" in Christ, opening up the reality of the other world, and finally "emptying Himself." Practical teachings on the spiritual life are presented in detail, by which readers can enter into a direct experience of the incarnate Tao, and find their Personal Connection with the Source of the ten thousand things.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 554 pages
  • Publisher: Saint Herman Pr; 1st edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0938635859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0938635857
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,492,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mat633 VINE VOICE on July 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a Chinese Christian (and now a minister), I grew up reading and hearing bits and pieces of Jesus being the Tao. Only recently I took the effort to browse the book store to find a solid book that would give me a fuller knowldege of it and I ran into this book. As a third generation Chinese Christians (and also third generation minister) growing up in China and Burma, most of the information in this book are not new for me but I am so glad that it is put together so beautifully in one book that I can use to share it with the seekers of the Truth.
The 'Word'(Logos) is translated as 'Tao' in the Chinese Bible and the more I learn about the Tao the more I am amazed by the wisdom of the tranlators of the Chinese Bible. To most learned Chinese Christians, Taoism and Christianity has never been two completely unrelated "religions." Taoism is purely the ancient Chinese's effort to seek the "relationship" with Christ and it became fuller knowing Tao became flesh. (To the nagative fundamantalist reviewer above, please be informed that even though Laozi's name is not mentioned in the Bible, but Tao is. Don't think God speaks only English!)
Just as a today's Taoist without knowing Christ does not know Tao in a fuller form, a today's Christian who doesn't know Tao misses an opportunity to know Christ deeper.
This book makes me proud of being Chinese and of my ancestors, and also feel thankful to God who didn't leave them alone but have spoken to them. Every seeker of truth must read it!
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Format: Paperback
There have been many books published in the latter half of the twentieth century that attempt to bridge the gap between East and West, more specifically, between Christianity in the West and Buddhism or Taoism in the East. Some of this has been due to increasing communication and resulting global shrinkage, but the basic presuppositions of most of these books seem to have fallen into three camps:
* Superficial and featureless syncretism (it's all ultimately the same)
* The spiritually impoverished West must experience renewal based on new wisdom from Eastern religions
* A fundamentalist type reaction against finding any wisdom outside their own "camp".
There have even been books by teachers of Eastern wisdom that attempt to find a place for Christian spirituality "within" their
own world view. Few of these books meet both traditions on their
own terms, relying on a superficial understanding of them, or on
reinterpretation of traditional content to meet "new" needs.
With the publication, of Christ the Eternal Tao, we have a truly new book which does not fall into the usual 3 camps. First of all, it presents a picture of Taoism which is the result of a serious study. Fr. Damascene draws on the deep and detailed notes of his spiritual predecessor, Hieromonk Seraphim Rose (whom he has extensively written about in the soon to be published biography), and the latter's studies with Taoist philosopher, Gi-Ming Shien. Even many of the quotes from the Tao Te Ching are from a completely fresh translation by Fr. Seraphim. Fr. Damascene is also apparently not unfamiliar with Eastern spiritual paths in his own experience.
Secondly, Fr.
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Format: Paperback
I read "Christ the Eternal Tao" five or six years ago. I had become a severely disillusioned American Evangelical Protestant. I was in a great deal of emotional pain at that point in my life and had grown weary of pious platitudes and simplistic theology. I wanted a religion or philosophy that addressed suffering with some depth. I longed for beauty, simplicity,harmony, and silence. I found some in Zen and Taoism. I also discovered the Tao Teh Ching to be strangely trinitarian (the One gives birth to Three). That intrigued me.
Then I found "Christ the Eternal Tao". I actually cried while reading it. It showed Christ as the fulfillment of all mankind's deepest longings. It showed classic Chinese culture as having the simplicity, silence, beauty, etc. that I most craved. I discovered that I didn't have to label all other religions as completely false in order to believe in Christ. Every culture gets some things right. You have to build on what is true in any given situation.
It gave Christianity context. Believe it or not, I had never heard of Eastern Orthodoxy. I saw how the Greeks evangelized the Russians who evangelized the Chinese and the Alaskans. I saw the martyr connections between the churches. Christ was not painted as a westernized, blue-eyed person.
Christ says He is the Way. Tao is Way in Chinese. The humility of Taoism is profuoundly Christian. Lao Tzu wasn't wrong. He was prophetic. He saw through a glass darkly, as we all do. I had come full circle: converted by the Protestants, leaving that for the beauty and simplicity of Zen and Taoism, and returning to Christianity through the Eastern door. I had finally come home.
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Christ the Eternal Tao is a highly original, beautifully written study of the relationship of the Taoist tradition to the Christian tradition. However, this book is not a foray into the religious relativism of contemporary studies of "comparative religion" typical of academic religious studies programs. Neither is it merely a theological effort (as was common in Church circles a generation ago) to "appreciate" the positive qualities of what used to be called "natural mysticism" while comparing it unfavorably to the "supernatural" mysticism of Christianity.
In fact calling it a "study" probably does not do proper justice to the beauty and originality of this work. It is rather an intuitive and profound meditation on the mystery of the Logos in its Taoist "incarnation". Its originality is such that there is little to compare it with in recent publication history. The closest works to it might be Raimundo Pannikar's The Hidden Christ of Hinduism or Ravi Ravindra's Christ the Yogi: A Hindu Reflection on the Gospel of John, but even in the company of these superb studies, Christ the Eternal Tao stands out as something decidedly different, even unique. For one thing, the author is not only a monk and a theologian, he is also an accomplished poet. Indeed, the first section of the book is itself a Christian commentary in verse on the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu. The last time the Christian theological world saw anything like this was perhaps St. Ephrem the Syrian in the 4th Century. Like St. Ephrem the Syrian, perhaps the greatest poet-theologian in the Christian tradition, Monk Damascene shows himself capable of theologizing through poetry.
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