Written during the golden age of Chinese philosophy, and composed partly in prose and partly in verse, the Tao Te Ching is surely the most terse and economical of the world’s great religious texts. In a series of short, profound chapters it elucidates the idea of the Tao, or the Way–an idea that in its ethical, practical, and spiritual dimensions has become essential to the life of China’s enormously powerful civilization. In the process of this elucidation, Lao-tzu both clarifies and deepens those central religious mysteries around which our life on earth revolves.
Translation of the Ma Wang Tui Manuscripts by D. C. Lau
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
About the Author
A J Girling was introduced to Taoism, and initiated by a Taoist Master, in the 1980's. Since then Girling has dedicated extensive time to the contemplation and research that resulted in this edition of the Tao Te Ching being written.
In addition to two years of intensive academic research, Girling spent several contemplative years in an isolated woodland setting, without mains services or the usual luxuries of modern living. In this environment Girling became more intimately acquainted with nature, and with the true nature of being. It was a very useful experience, during which Girling began to appreciate that the ultimate aim of Taoism is not to detach from society as an ascetic, but to "unite with the dust of the world." When we have tasted the divine joy of being through meditation, we begin to practice mindful awareness in daily affairs. As Lao Tzu pointed out in chapter fifteen:
How can one attain stillness? By bringing it slowly to life.
Study of Taoist philosophy ultimately led Girling to the discovery that the hearts of even the most seemingly different religions hold the same core truths: irrespective of whether they are non-theist, poly-theist or mono-theist, all are ultimately founded on universal love and mindfulness. This was the driving force behind the creation of a work that illustrates, through Lao Tzu's teaching, the commonality and interconnectedness inherent in the whole of humanity.
The book was a work of love, written with the primary intention of illuminating, as clearly as possible, the profound wisdom of the text, and dispelling many of the misunderstandings surrounding Taoist philosophy. In the process, the Tao Te Ching gently guided the translator to include insights from global traditions, thereby according with Lao Tzu's teaching on the infinite oneness that unites the world.
Girling hopes that this new edition may contribute not only to a better understanding of Taoism, but also to the reunification of the global human family, and to the cultivation of greater happiness and well-being in individuals and society.
Professor D. C. Lau, a world renowned scholar on sinological studies, is professor emeritus of Chinese language and Lliterature at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is reknowned for his classic English translations of "Tao Te Ching," the "Mencius," and "The Analects of Confucius,"
“The power of the Lao-tzu’s imagery and, ultimately, the simplicity of its message seem to be able to overcome the problems of language and of distance in time and place, so that at the end of the twentieth century, this has become one of the most influential of texts, cherished by people in all walks of life throughout the world.” –from the Introduction by Sarah Allan