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
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.
Wu Ching-hsiung, also known as John C. H. Wu, was an author,Wu Ching-hsiung, also known as John C. H. Wu, was an author, lawyer, juristic philosopher, educator, and prominent Catho lawyer, juristic philosopher, educator, and prominent Catholic layman. He was president of the Special High Court at Shlic layman. He was president of the Special High Court at Shanghai, vice chairman of the Legislative Yuan's constitutionanghai, vice chairman of the Legislative Yuan's constitution drafting committee, founder of the T'ien Hsia Monthly, tran drafting committee, founder of the T'ien Hsia Monthly, translator of the Psalms and the New Testament into Chinese, andslator of the Psalms and the New Testament into Chinese, and served as Chinese minister to the Holy See (1947-48). Wu au served as Chinese minister to the Holy See (1947-48). Wu authored and translated numerous books and articles on many suthored and translated numerous books and articles on many subjects including Religion, Philosophy and Law. bjects including Religion, Philosophy and Law.
"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