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Tao Te Ching (Shambhala dragon editions) Paperback – 30 Jun 1991


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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc; Reprint edition (30 Jun. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877733880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877733881
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 1.4 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,197,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By M. littler on 16 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I might give copies of this away, but I will always keep a copy for myself, as it is a joy to own. This paperback eddition presents the work at a nice scale with Chinese text and English translation on facing pages. It feels very clean and tidy and un-fussy.

This was not my first book on the Tao Te Ching. My first book was the Richard Wilhelm translation. I was reading many books about mysticism and odd philosophies at the time, and found the Richard Wilhelm tranlation more poetic in a way that suited me at the time. Knowing how difficult it is to translate and to maintain any sense of the original meaning, I wanted another transation and preferably one that had the Chinese text to compare. I found this edition. I felt the translation quite different from the Richard Wilhelm one. It indicated how similar and yet how different a tranlation could be. I dont think it improved my understanding of the work a lot, but I love the presentation. I would like it in hardback on better paper, but the hardback edition is smaller and in my opinion suffers for that.

Inspired by this, I will buy another book (perhaps something like "Gate of All Marvelous Things : A Guide to Reading the Tao Te Ching' by Gregory C. Richter") to assist with my interest in the translation.

I think this book will remain my favourite presentation.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Mar. 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is a necessity for anyone who looks with distrust at the excessive organization and mechanization that our country and other countries have gone through, Lao Tze reminds us that enevitably "all things come back to their roots", and "to go far is to return". Also contains the essential teaching of the Tao or the "Way". Includes penetrating insight from this Great Master. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 15 reviews
69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
A stripped-down edition for beginners, with a bonus. 11 May 2001
By tepi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Anyone who may be looking for a stripped-down edition of the Tao Te Ching, one without Introduction, Commentaries, or Footnotes, so that one may immediately come to grips with this most fascinating and profound of texts without any distracting impedimenta at all, could hardly do better than get hold of a copy of this book.
A brief description of its translator, Dr John C. H. Wu, will be found in the Introduction to Red Pine's 'Lao-tzu's Taoteching.' From Red Pine, who attended a graduate course on the Tao Te Ching given by Dr Wu at the College of Chinese Culture in Taiwan many years ago, we learn that he was a person of considerable attainments.
Besides translating the Tao Te Ching, Dr Wu also translated the New Testament, drafted his country's constitution, and served as China's ambassador to the Vatican and it's chief representative to the Hague. Clearly we are dealing here, not with some sort of 'mystical' dreamer, but with an accomplished scholar, diplomat, and man of the world, and one who must have realized the world has never stood in greater need of Lao Tzu's religion of peace than it does in our present era of aggression.
After a brief Foreword, and a couple of pages of Editor's Notes, we are immediately confronted by the text. Here is an example of Dr Wu's style from the opening of Chapter 29, slightly adjusted since it should be set out as poetry:
"Does anyone want to take the world and do what he wants with it? / I do not see how he can succeed. // The world is a sacred vessel, which must not be tampered with or grabbed after. / To tamper with it is to spoil it, and to grasp it is to lose it" (page 59).
In the present age of manipulators both great and small, could there be any more apt words for us than these? And could they have been expressed more effectively? One doubts it.
But it gets better. Classical Chinese is an extremely rich language, a language of multiple meanings. No English translation, no matter how good - and Dr Wu's is very good indeed - could possibly hope to capture more than a fraction of the meaning inherent in the Chinese text. Given this, we see the hand of the diplomat at work in Dr Wu's next move, for facing each page of the English translation he has given us Wang Pi's edition of the original Chinese text.
Evidently Dr Wu went to some pains to present us with a truly striking version of this text, for we are told that it is reproduced from the Lao Chieh Lao edition compiled by Ts'ai T'ing Kan, and privately printed in 1922. It would seem we have been given a collector's item, and it is certainly one of the most beautifully printed Chinese texts of the Tao Te Ching that I have ever seen.
The traditional full-form Chinese characters are printed in a large, clear, bold font, and even a beginner, after a week's study of the Chinese radicals, would have no trouble at all making out the structure of even the more complex characters. Somehow I get the feeling that Dr Wu would like YOU to become that beginner...
There is of course enough to keep anyone busy pondering for years in any competent English translation of the Tao Te Ching. But for those who may find themselves stirred by the visual beauty of the Chinese characters, each of which is an exquisitely balanced and supreme work of art, and who may be curious to learn more about them and how they work and what they mean, there are a number of books that would help.
One of them is the 'Gate of All Marvelous Things : A Guide to Reading the Tao Te Ching' by Gregory C. Richter. This is an interlinear edition of the Tao Te Ching which gives the Chinese text in simplified characters, pinyin transliterations, a literal word-by-word gloss and a final translation. By means of this book you can learn to read the original, or some of your favorite passages, in Chinese.
I think that if one or two of you were so impelled, Dr Wu would be left feeling very happy indeed. He seems to be a man with a keen desire to share the most important and beautiful things he has found in life.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Great leittle travel book 9 Jun. 2007
By Sarah Nashold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I absoutely love this edition of the "Tao Te Ching"! I've bought multiple coppies as gifts. It's simple read, it provides some feedback from the translator to help you think about what you just read in perhaps a different way or wiht better insight, and it's tiny which is great for traveling-it takes no more room then a pack of cards. This is convienient becuse I personaly find the content perfect for traveling. Reflecting on days past and events past happens naturally while suspended between one place and the next which makes relating to the content even easier.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Insightful yet simple 30 April 2011
By Kilgore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I think this book gets to the essence of what the Tao Te Ching is. It is written simply, yet allows for many interpretations. The writing is insightful and the translator does not seem bent on adding his own feelings to the text.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The classic from the Great Master and founder of Taoism 10 Mar. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a necessity for anyone who looks with distrust at the excessive organization and mechanization that our country and other countries have gone through, Lao Tze reminds us that enevitably "all things come back to their roots", and "to go far is to return". Also contains the essential teaching of the Tao or the "Way". Includes penetrating insight from this Great Master. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Best translation I've found 15 Sept. 2013
By Nebai E Somarriba - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me for a course I was taking about East Asian philosophy and psychology. My professor recommended the text because it was the closest translation he'd found that maintained the depth of the original text. It's become a text that I return to and reflect on. I highly recommend it as a resource. Thank you!
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