- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Compact edition (January 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060812451
- ISBN-13: 978-0060812454
- Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 0.4 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,436 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tao Te Ching Paperback – January 1, 1994
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"Mitchell's rendition of the "Tao Te Ching comes as close to being definitive for our time as any I can imagine. It embodies the virtues its translator credits to the Chinese original: a gemlike lucidity that is radiant with humor, grace, largeheartedness, and deep wisdom."-- Huston Smith, author of "The Religions of Man""Mitchell's great talent is to communicate with the profound simplicity utterly appropriate for this task. The obscure has been made transparent and available."-- "Common Boundary""Beautiful and accessible; the English, as 'fluid as melting ice, ' is a joy to read throughout."-- "The New Republic"
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
Let the educated debaters go on with their "Ten thousand things" arguing about translations and meanings. They miss the point. Get this book, make some tea, turn of the incessant rattlings in your brain and the screens in your home and relax to ancient wisdom that has influenced millions of hearts and minds for thousands of years...
While this text only edition is very plain without glossy pages and art, what I like about it is that it is small enough to travel with. A few years ago my (then 16 y.o.) daughter and I took this book on a 10 day backpacking trip, and each day we'd open it and randomly read a passage - setting the tone and often conversations for the day. It was wonderfully fun, and was enlightening for me to see how easily and readily a young modern American could grasp the essence and implications of Lao Tsu's ancient words.
I first encountered this translation in the mid 70's when I was just opening up to Eastern approaches to Life. I'm not sure I ever even got all the way through it back then, but instead tended to get through only a chapter and have to let it sink in for a few days, weeks or months. It has always been this kind of non-linear sacred text for me, something not to memorize or string together into a conceptual whole, but simply sip from. While I now have a few favorite chapters, I find I am usually satisfied and fulfilled enough by the first, which really sums up the essence of Life most completely, and gives enough to ponder and digest for a lifetime.
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.
This particular edition begins with a 27 page introduction by the renown religious scholar Jacob Needleman which does a pretty good job of giving a taste of how the Tao can be approached as both a philosophy and way of life. The 81 chapters follow - one to a page - in English only (no Chinese calligraphy) and then the book ends with 20 pages of eclectic notes and musings by Needleman. There have been a few minor changes to the translation due to Lippe's editorial efforts (for instance changing "emperor" to "gods" in chapter 4, and "ruthless" to "impartial", and "dummies" to "straw dogs" in 5), they may upset some folks but I'm unsure if they detract on balance. All in all, this is a great translation of perhaps the all time greatest book, packaged in a form you can take anywhere.
(Ps. the cover of the copy I have it not the same as shown here - mine is the black and white image of reflections in water that appeared on the original edition.)