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Practical Taoism [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Cleary

Print List Price: £11.19
Kindle Price: £10.50 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

This extraordinary collection of teachings and commentaries illuminates the many profound mysteries of inner alchemy, one of the most important dimensions of the Taoist tradition. The science of inner alchemy consists of meditation practices that enable the individual to have a more intimate, energizing, and inspiring relationship with life. Although these techniques are described in the sourcebooks of ancient Taoism, they are often couched in cryptic symbolic language, making it difficult for today's seekers t put these teachings into practice. Some classical Taoist writers, however, did adopt a more explicit manner of expression. Practical Taoism is a collection of writings from these more accessible commentators on the traditional alchemical texts, compiled by a seventh-generation master of the Northern Branch of the Complete Reality School of Taoism known as the Preserver of Truth.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 174 KB
  • Print Length: 81 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications; 1st edition (3 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #749,430 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars valuable but neither practical nor practicable - very advanced meditation text for the expert 7 Nov. 2010
By AlchemistGeorge - Published on
Like so many medieval Chinese manuscripts, this is written very tersely. Unless you already know virtually all this material you will not be able to make much sense out of the text. Having said that, this text is actually much easier than many others.

This is not a general book about Taoism, or Taoist philosophy, or even about putting Taoism into action. It is a reference book on a most difficult and demanding type of meditation & energy exercise called 'internal alchemy' whereby one achieves spiritual immortality. This information was considered very secret and the style of writing made sure that the wrong people got this book they couldn't learn the secrets without a teacher.

Here is one of the more easily understood passages from the text:

"Nowadays when Taoists speak of pumping the bellows, they do not mean pumping a bellows; they mean tuning true breathing. If you know the furnace and cauldron but not the bellows, then yin and yang are separated; even though furnace and cauldron be set up, they are useless. If you know how to pump a bellows but not how to tune true breathing, then you're missing the essential subtlety whereby the pumping is done. How will you snatch the wholesome energy of heaven and earth to crystallize the elixir?"

It may seem as if the above is taken out of context, but it is not. I'm assuming this is a lecture given to advanced students pointing out that while they have done all the necessary steps they are missing the key aspect of the technique.

If you know enough to understand this book, it would be incredibly valuable. And compared to many other ancient Chinese texts I find this one does explain a great deal, so far it is the most accessible of these cryptic books that I've found.
32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another classic rendered for our sake 18 Aug. 2000
By Chaz - Published on
I found this collection of translations to be very helpful. I read Cleary's books from a student's perspective and not from a Taoist scholar's perspective. The insights gleaned from this book are priceless. It is a great wonder how our present age and society has fallen into such a moral decline even though these scriptures have been around since man's early days. Read and apply. These teachings may seem cryptic but they turn into truths once they are applied to our lives.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Concise Illumination of The Tao 27 Aug. 2009
By ekniv snikta - Published on
I'll keep this short - like the book itself. Thomas Cleary is a master translator of eastern religious and philosophical texts. His academic skill is complemented by a deep understanding of the practices described in his translations. He gets to the original intent. Practical Taoism is worth reading for the introduction alone. Never have I found a more concise and practical description of observations, functions and practices regarding the Tao then I have here. If you want a solid introduction to Taoism and how it can benefit your life, this is a good place to start.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly "Practical" 11 Oct. 2010
By T. K. Macleod - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an ancient text. In a modern context the term "practical" is laughable. That said, it's a classic text, so there you go.
5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cant understan a word 20 Oct. 2009
By John T. Holmes - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is useless for the novice. The author's writing is so convoluted I was unable to understand any thing he is trying to say. I am amazed it received 5 star reviews - who are those reviewers?
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