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
The first reliable reference to Laozi is his "biography" in Shiji (63, tr. Chan 1963:35-37), by Chinese historian Sima Qian (ca. 145-86 BC), which combines three stories. First, Laozi was a contemporary of Confucius (551-479 BC). His surname was Li, and his personal name was Er or Dan "long ear." He was an official in the imperial archives, and wrote a book in two parts before departing to the West. Second, Laozi was Lao Laizi "Old Come Master," also a contemporary of Confucius, who wrote a book in 15 parts. Third, Laozi was the Grand Historian and astrologer Lao Dan ("Old Long-ears"), who lived during the reign (384-362 BC) of Duke Xian (Qin). Generations of scholars have debated the historicity of Laozi and the dating of the Tao Te Ching. Linguistic studies of the text's vocabulary and rhyme scheme point to a date of composition after the Shi Jing yet before the Zhuangzi. Legends claim variously that Laozi was "born old"; that he lived for 996 years, with twelve previous incarnations starting around the time of the Three Sovereigns before the thirteenth as Laozi. Some Western scholars have expressed doubts over Laozi's historical existence, claiming that the Tao Te Ching is actually a collection of the work of various authors.
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