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Comment: Readable copy. This book Does Not include any CD's, infotracs, access codes, or any additional materials. The book shows wear, and there may be markings on the inside of the book. ***There is LIQUID DAMAGE (HOT CHOCOLATE) and LARGE STAINS on the Pages.*** The pages' edges are VERY dirty/stained (HOT CHOCOLATE), and there are Rips/Tears on the Cover. 100% Money Back Guarantee! There is no Amazon condition below acceptable.
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Tao: The Watercourse Way Paperback – January 12, 1977

4.6 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A gem to remember Watts by . . . There is a flamboyant and fascinating display of learning and complex indications of a personality that seems to have resisted inner pacification."
Kirkus Reviews

"Perhaps the foremost interpreter of Eastern disciplines for the contemporary West, Alan Watts had the rare gift of 'writing beautifully the unwritable' . . . Watts begins with scholarship and intellect and proceeds with art and eloquence to the frontiers of the spirit . . . This is a profound and worthy work, left by a teacher to echo and re-echo."
Los Angeles Times

"A remarkable book because of Alan Watts's talent for communicating Eastern ways of thought . . . not only the last of his works, but the best . . . This book is a 'must.'"
Shambhala Review

"Watts's last book is in the category of his finest work, a lucid discussion of Taoism and the Chinese language . . . profound, reflective, and enlightening. Moreover, the text supplies a sense of his ebullient spirit behind the revelation of Tao."
Boston Globe

From the Inside Flap

Drawing on ancient and modern sources, Watts treats the Chinese philosophy of Tao in much the same way as he did Zen Buddhism in his classic The Way of Zen. Critics agree that this last work stands as a perfect monument to the life and literature of Alan Watts.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 134 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394733118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394733111
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Many years ago I undertook an extensive program of reading in Zen Buddhism, which as many know is simply Buddhism as filtered through the Taoist sensibility. I must have read or consulted upwards of a hundred books before finally getting around to Alan Watts 'Way of Zen.' Bummer! What I found was that pretty well everything I'd learned was right there in Watts, plus a few inimitable bits of his own. Did someone say he was a genius...?
To read the present book it isn't, of course, necessary to have read 'The Way of Zen' first, although you'll probably want to read it afterwards. Nor is it necessary to have read Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu, although those who haven't will probably want to go on to them too. They'll want to go on to get the rest of the story, because the present book was unfortunately unfinished at the time of Watts' death.
Despite its unfinished state, however, it's a gem we wouldn't want to be without, and there's plenty in in it for both the newbie as well as others. Watts was an amazingly good writer. His style is clear and straightforward, and he had the knack of making even the knottiest matters understandable.
One of the more noteworthy things about the book is Watts' inclusion of a chapter on 'The Chinese Written Language.' In my more cynical moods I'm sometimes inclined to think that there is a conspiracy in the West to pretend that Chinese doesn't exist. Here we have one of the most fascinating and important languages in the world, and yet so few seem to be interested in it. So profound is this neglect that most English books on Chinese subjects don't even bother to give the Chinese characters for names and book titles, presumably because they don't realize how useless the romanized forms are.
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Format: Paperback
"Tao: The Watercourse Way" is the last book written by Alan Watts. It was one of his best. Though it is specifically about Contemplative Taoism it contains a distillation of wisdom garnered from a lifetime of learning about the nature of reality from many different traditions. Wisdom has no boundaries. This book deserves a place in the smallest of personal libraries. The Tao is the fundamental first-cause behind all of the ways of the Chineese masters of old. The Way of ways, the pathless path, the watercourse way. The Tao is like a river, a river of nonduality. A great river banked by duality, yin and yang. Watts states that Taoism is neither a religion nor a philosophy though it has aspects of both. Taoism is about living a balanced life. Even Confucianism has an element of Taoism about it so fundamental is the way of the Tao to the Chineese. Taoism is a way of life that may appeal to you if you are tired of vacillating between such vexing polarites as absolute doubt and absolute certainty. The Watercourse Way is a way of moderation in all things. A way of life that goes with the flow of natural and supernatural forces. The Way of Wisdom. Watts was my kind of Taoist.

In the chapter on "Te-Virtuality" Watts offers us an overview of the contemplative way of life. A life of freedom from constraints and extremes. Watts had come a long way from the stuffy England of his youth. He had found an unforced way of living life that agreed with him. An artful way of being true to himself by living naturally; of being free to scream, or cry, or most especially to laugh, whatever is appropriate to the flow of the moment.

In the "Wu-wei" chapter Watts reminds us of the words of Lao-Tzu concerning wu-wei: "The Tao does nothing, and yet nothing is left undone".
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Format: Paperback
I have just purchased this book as a replacement for one I lent to someone several years ago and never got back. It is not an introductory book on Taoism; there are plenty of those on the market, by Alan Watts and others. This book is, I believe, for those who already know something about Taoism and the Tao. Like the Tao Te Ching itself and many other oriental books it cannot be understood as a factual account but requires a degree of intuitive understanding. If you want an introduction to Taoism, don't buy this book. If you already know the Tao, and want to take your understanding further, this book succeeds admirably.
Tony S
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By A Customer on December 7, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is Alan Watts' final work, left incomplete upon his death, "finished" by Al Chung-liang Huang. Many sections of the work seem sketchy and undeveloped, which is unsurprising.
That said, that which is there is as well-written as any of Watts' other prose. As an "introduction" to Taoism, it is somewhat lacking, but it's a good work to pick up after you're already familiar with the Tao Te Ching in common translations. The chapter on the method and beauty of the Chinese written language is a notable highlight.
In short, if you're looking for an introduction to Taoism, start with the Tao Te Ching; if you're looking for an introduction to Alan Watts, start with "The Way of Zen". But the fact that this book doesn't fulfill either of those purposes well doesn't detract from its good points.
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By A Customer on April 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Watercourse way is a most wonderful work on Taoism and mysticism/spirituality in general. I started to read the book with only a vague understanding of Taoism, but when I was done I was in love with the philosophy. Alan Watt's characteristic intelligent and compassionate way of writing shines through, and with his help one can really wrap their head around very complex ideas.
Although some parts dealing with chinese translation and calligraphy can be somewhat monotonous, the insight gained from a heightened understanding of Tao, Te and wu-wei more than make up for any shortcomings of the book. This book is definately an important stepping stone on my personal spiritual journey. I just wish he had put the 'fun stuff' in.
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