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Tao Te Ching: Annotated and Explained (Skylight Illuminations) [Paperback]

Translation and Annotation by Derek Lin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Tao Te Ching: Annotated and Explained (Skylight Illuminations) + Tao Of Success : The Five Ancient Rings of Destiny + Tao of Daily Life: The Mysteries of the Orient Revealed, the Joys of Inner Harmony Found, the Path to Enlightenment Illuminated
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: SkyLight Paths; Annotated edition (25 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594732043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594732041
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Reportedly written by a sage named Lao Tzu over 2,500 years ago, the "Tao Te Ching" is one of the most succinct - and yet among the most profound - spiritual texts ever written. Short enough to read in an afternoon, subtle enough to study for a lifetime, the "Tao Te Ching" distills into razor-sharp poetry centuries of spiritual inquiry into the Tao - the "Way" of the natural world around us that reveals the ultimate organising principle of the universe. Derek Lin's insightful commentary, along with his new translation from the original Chinese - a translation that sets a whole new standard for accuracy - will inspire your spiritual journey and enrich your everyday life. It highlights the "Tao Te Ching's" insights on simplicity, balance, and learning from the paradoxical truths you can see all around you: finding strength through flexibility (because bamboo bends, it is tough to break); achieving goals by transcending obstacles (water simply flows around rocks on its way to the sea); and, believing that small changes bring powerful results (a sapling, in time, grows into a towering tree).

Now you can experience the wisdom and power of Lao Tzu's words even if you have no previous knowledge of the "Tao Te Ching". "SkyLight Illuminations" provides insightful yet unobtrusive commentary that describes helpful historical background, explains the "Tao Te Ching's" poetic imagery, and elucidates the ancient Taoist wisdom that will speak to your life today and energize your spiritual quest.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tao Te Ching ~ a must translation 29 Aug 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We here in the west have differing cultural application of the Tao, it is refreshing to see a translation which not only is easily accessible to westerners but holds to and celebrates the ancient cultural ties Taoism still has to Chinese and specifically for I-Kuan-Tao Taiwan today.

A translation which does not hold poetry above meaning, but as many accurate translations (see Dr J Wu) has a poetry of its own which is more beneficial for being simple, pretty though poetical interpretatiosn are, they are like a glass of cola in the dessert, nice enough but not as beneficial as pure simple nourishing water.

Also useful in this translation is far more than being a simple translation from Chinese to English Derek Lin has provided insights and teachings to help understanding of the chapters of the Tao te ching. This is helpful for both begginers and those of us with a few years of Tao cultivation, reassessing the teachings and finding new meaning is art of what happenings on the Path of Tao.

A real labour of love, from someone i have counted as my friend for many years and has helped me to find my feet on the way, he has a good heart and this comes across in his work.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine commentary, natural translation 12 Jun 2013
By Dennis Littrell TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Lin's translation is natural, even lyrical, but the main strength of this book, at least for the serious student, is in his stanza by stanza commentary. The layout, with the commentary on the left (even numbered) pages and the text on the right (odd numbered) pages, makes for easy reading and study.

Lin's introduction gives a bit of the history of the Tao while exploring its accessibility and purpose. In "A Note on the Translation" he recounts some of the difficulties and presents his theory about how the "Lao Tzu" should be rendered into modern English. One of his methods was to

"Start from scratch and create an entirely original work. I could not use existing translations as references because they were not sufficiently accurate." (p. xxiii)

Lin adds "Existing translations tended to present interpretations as translations." (p. xxiv)

Of course any translation would be an interpretation to some extent. Lin calls our attention to this distinction:

"A literal translation (also known as formal equivalence) is the nearest linguistic equivalent between the source and the target language, while an interpretation (also known as dynamic equivalence) consists of amplifications and clarifications..." (p. xxiv)

He believes that he has kept his interpretations in the commentary. However whenever choices are made between ambiguous alternatives--and Lin and others all admit that the ancient Chinese they are translating from is full of them--that choice involves an interpretation. Furthermore because the Tao Te Ching is a treatise written in poetic language--actually it can be considered a long poem--interpretation is unavoidable.

We should keep in mind that a real poem is a non-linear extra-denotative expression.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Each chapter contains a thoughtful explanation of the thinking behind the words. This book makes more sense than other versions I have read which leave the reader to interpret some odd sounding phrases, possibly because the 'translator' is first having to interpret the Chinese symbols with the aid of a dictionary and no working knowledge of Chinese. I don't speak Chinese but I am aware of the possibility of things being lost in translation between the two languages.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A "must have" for all Tao cultivators... 18 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mr. Lin illuminates the Tao Te Ching so vividly with his explanations/interpretations. I recommend his book to everyone. If I found a hardback edition I would buy it again and carry it with me daily.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  82 reviews
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best translations 13 Oct 2006
By Rhonda J. Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In my opinion, this is one of the best translations of the Tao Te Ching. Derek Lin's explanations of the chapters are very clear and applicable to everyday life. The most helpful feature of this publication is having the explanations/commentaries right next to the book's chapters (on the facing pages)...easy access...instead of at the very back of the book (as end notes) which disrupts the even flow of the reading. I highly recommend this book!
53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Old Master's" words are resurrected 14 Dec 2006
By Michael Domzalski - Published on Amazon.com
I discovered the Tao about 15 years ago, however I did not understand it as well as I do now and Derek is the reason for this clarity. When I lived in Los Angeles, I attended Derek's classes at the temple where he the director of Tao studies. He would literally translate the ancient, dead text right before our eyes and bring it to back life. His book is the culmination of those weekly meetings. After translating a passage, he would explain it thoroughly and then we would discuss it. In his book he does the same thing. He offers probably the most accurate translation of this ageless oracle, then explains it in on an accompanying footnoted page, and is just waiting for the reader to discuss it with other Tao cultivators just like we would in his classes.

I have read several translations of the Tao Te Ching and was always confused by the passages because they did not seem very clear to me and this was because those books were translations of translations and were often modernized. Derek, who is fluent in both Chinese and English, provides the reader with an untainted translation which preserves the timeless words of the "Old Master", Lao Tzu. Included in this book is a brief history about Tao and the origin of the Tao Te Ching, a bonus feature that I have not found in other translations.

I highly recommend this version of the Tao Te Ching and would not be surprised if someone would attempt to write their own translation of the Tao Te Ching using Derek's book as a reference.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Way to Live Intelligently, Empowered and Wise 7 July 2007
By David A. Scotkin - Published on Amazon.com
I want to say a few things to those who are searching for a modern understanding that gives you an overall view of your humanity and the world. Derrick Lin's notes and explanations recognize personal uniqueness and offers expanded insights of human capabilities and potential that is inclusive of modern medicine, science and psychology from the East & West. It includes and encompasses your inner world, your relationships, work environments, your culture, your government, nature, and existence, whether you are a teenager, psychiatrist, scientist or CEO.

I have heard that every Fortune 1000 CEO has a copy of Sun Tzu's, "Art of War" on his desk. Derrick Lin's translation of the Tao Te Ching will have significance in this way. The distinction between the Art of War and the Tao Te Ching is that it is applicable for executives, managers and employees.

This specific translation of the Tao Te Ching is applicable to all management methods, models and theories in all corporate settings. These include, but not limited to: small enterprises, public (especially hospitals and senior care providers), not-for-profit organizations, all religious organizations, government institutions like HUD and large corporations.

I have lived a life of obscurity, yet I have provided lectures and training, from time to time, to Psychiatrists, Medical Doctors, scientists, trainers, and individuals, at hospitals, universities, corporate settings, conference venues, churches and counseling venues. I have appeared on television locally and nationally and on live radio throughout the United States in the field of Public Health.

I have traveled for many years, worldwide, searching for live teachers, when possible. I have meditated many hours each day for these 30 years. I bring my awareness to whatever I am doing, feeling and thinking, when it is practical and when I remember.

Somehow, I missed the Tao Te Ching until my 62nd birthday on June 16, 2007.

I could have saved a lifetime of searching.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To all readers and people new to the tao 24 Oct 2006
By PEY-JEN - Published on Amazon.com
I went to sunday english meeting, teach by Derek Lin, at the I-KUAN TAO temple in El monte.

I never really read any english version of TAO TE CHING before, because I just felt like I don't wanna get confused by the english translation, since I have so much to learn as it is from reading the chinese originals.

However, by attending his english meetings, I realised, I actually learn more and understood more from hearing him going over Tao Te Ching in english.

So, this is my first English translated book on Tao Te Ching.

I trust him completely with his translation, and I recommend this to all new readers. This book is not just a tranlation of Tao Te Ching, it explains all things you need to know and understand before you begin to read it.

DON'T skip right into reading the Tao Te Ching... read all the foreward, introduction and his note on translation first, and so Tao Te Ching will makes much more sense to you.

To people who already read Tao Te Ching many times before, maybe you can read many more ONE MORE time? :D

best wishes and luck

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True to Life 2 Oct 2006
By John R. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This translation of the Tao Te Ching, by Derek Lin, is distinctly true to life. If a reader wants to know, as exactly as possible, what the Tao Te Ching actually "says," then she or he can rely on this book. Lin has carefully, in the tradition of Tao, considered every conceivable alternative meaning and endeavored to choose the most original, concise, and faithful option for each word, phrase and idiom.

This book is also a true to life commentary on the original text. Lin has drawn from his vast experience as a cultivator of Taoism, as host of a Taoist on-line forum, and as an associate of venerable Taoist leaders to provide the reader with valuable insight into how the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching can be applied to the modern world. Lin's book is not only true to the original Chinese characters, but it is also true to life in the sense that it provides practical, useful principles for living in the 21st century.

As a lifelong student of Theology, Religion, and Metaphysics, I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the Tao Te Ching, Taoism, or Comparative Religions. Moreover, I recommend it as a source of enlightenment for one's personal spiritual journey. There may be more than one way to get from the forest to the mountain, but it certainly helps to follow in another's footsteps. Follow Derek Lin through this book and you may discover a Tao Te Ching that is as true to life today as it ever was.
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