Written more than two thousand years ago, the Tao Teh Ching , or "The Classic of the Way and Its Virtue," has probably had a greater influence on Asian thought than any other single book. It is also one of the true classics of the world of spiritual literature.
Traditionally attributed to the near-legendary "Old Master," Lao Tzu, the Tao Teh Ching teaches that the qualities of the enlightened sage or ideal ruler are identical with those of the perfected individual. Today, Lao Tzu's words are as useful in mastering the arts of leadership in business and politics as they are in developing a sense of balance and harmony in everyday life. To follow the Tao or Way of all things and realize their true nature is to embdy humility, spontaneity, and generosity.
John C. H. Wu has done a remarkable job of rendering this subtle text into English while retaining the freshness and depth of the original. A jurist and scholar, Dr. Wu was a recognized authority on Taoism and the translator of several Taoist and Zen texts and of Chinese poetry.
About the Author
Not much is known about the legendary Lao Tzu, to whom authorship of the Tao Te Ching is popularly attributed. Some scholars believe the author was an elder contemporary of Confucius.
"No better choice of translator could have been made for the Tao Teh Ching than Dr. John C. H. Wu, whose rendering is superb. More than this, Dr. Wu is one who is able to translate Lao Tzu not only in his words but in his life. . . . Everyone knows in a vague way that the Tao Teh Ching is poetic, and indeed that it is great poetry. We all know that it usually impresses Westerners as more than a trifle quietistic. Hence we treat it with condescension as a quaint impractical document of an ancient day when no one bothered much about the progress. Perhaps we do not realize that some of the wisdom of the Tao Teh Ching , which so often reminds one of the Sermon on the Mount, is absolutely necessary for us not only to progress but even to survive."—Thomas Merton