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The Tao Te Ching (Element Classics of World Spirituality) [Hardcover]

Lao zi , Man-Ho Kwok , Martin Palmer , Jay Ramsay
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

3 April 1997 Element Classics of World Spirituality
Available for the first time in a handy, easy-to-use size, here is the most accessible and authoritative modern English translation of the ancient Chinese classic. This new Vintage edition includes an introduction and notes by the well-known writer and scholar of philosophy and comparative religion, Jacob Needleman.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 133 pages
  • Publisher: Thorsons / Element Books; New edition edition (3 April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852309164
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852309169
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,261,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is beatifully illustrated. There is a long introduction. This leaves you itching to get to the sacred writings but persevere, the intro. contains a wealth of background and sets the context for the writings.Incredible to think that Taoism spread throughout the Old World thousands of years ago. The books intro focuses on the development of Buddhism, Taoism etc. as religions. Paradoxically it is not a book promoting religion but rather a better way to live life. It appears Lao Tzu may not have compiled the Tao Te Chine at all but the wise sayings and insights somehow became associated with him. What the book offers the reader is a tool for better understanding of onesself, a place to reach into one`s own nature which is to love life and lastly it gives a sense of how we over burden ourselves in our daily live. It sets one on a path of reflection and calmness. One for the bookshelf to be thumbed through often.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Translation 4 Dec 2000
By Tom Basgen - Published on
This is a beautiful translation of the Tao Te Ching. It is not mechanistic, as is so common among English translations of this book, but attempts to flow with the beauty and prose of the original Chinese. I think the only other translation that compares to this is by Stephen Mitchell; side to side Stephen's is more scientifically accurate, but less poetic. What is commonly missed in translating this work is that the free flowing and beautiful prose plays a great deal to accuracy, but contra wise it is true that English attempts to translate this work into prose inevitably at times narrow down what should be open ended. :) If you have an interest in the Tao Te Ching, reading more than one translation helps to firmly grasp what beauty the text is in the original Chinese, and how it can be understood in various ways.
For beginners, this was my first book on Taoism. Although I am a computer scientist who enjoys logic, the Tao Te Ching brought me to the other side (dialectics), and while I keep the Mitchell translation close at hand to resolve problems in this translation, this is the translation that I go back and read time and again, not Mitchell's.
This book offers a 40 page introduction explaining the history of the Tao Te Ching and offers details of the task of translating. About it's prose and construction I can really say no more than it is beautiful, but here are two balanced examples of comparison to help (from Ch. 11 and Ch. 5 respectively):
This translation: " Thirty spokes on a cartwheel / Go towards the hub that is the centre / -- but look, there is nothing at the centre /and that is precisely why it works!"
S. Mitchell: "We join spokes together in a wheel, / but it is the center hole / that makes the wagon move. [...] We work with being, / but non-being is what we use."
S. Mitchell: "The Tao doesn't take sides; / it gives birth to both good and evil. / The Master doesn't take sides; / she welcomes both saints and sinners."
This translation: "Heaven and earth / are not like humans. / The Tao does not act like a human. // They don't expect to be thanked / For making life, / So they view it without expectation."
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 7 July 2014
By brian c johnson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very pleased with book. Arrived very quickly.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 12 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought it for my mom, she loves the beauty of the book. The pictures, the easy to read format. A must buy for any fan of Lao Tzu.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best translation 13 May 2012
By Ziminy13 - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I think this is the most beautiful translation of this book. It is poetic without being cheesy. It really communicates the meaning of the original. So many translations feel stilted or forced. This flows so sweetly. It is one of my favorite books to give as a gift.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best translation I have seen 29 Nov 2001
By Weiqin Xie - Published on
I have read countless translations of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching. This is simply the best.
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