This version of the Tao Te Ching presents the classic in a unique light, through the eyes of a renowned master of the Rinzai Zen tradition. Takuan Soho, who lived from 1573 to 1645, was an acerbic, witty, free spirit; a painter, poet, author, calligrapher, gardener, and a tea master. He was also a confidant and teacher to shoguns and many other powerful and famous figures, among them the famed swordsmen Yagyu Munenori and, according to legend, Miyamoto Musashi.
True to the teachings of the Tao Te Ching itself, as well as to the tradition of Zen, Takuan draws from everyday experience and common sense, to reveal the basic sanity of nature and the inherent wholeness of life. Takuan reveals how the Tao Te Ching applies to a wide range of concerns, including health, personal relationships, and individual lifestyle. He interprets the text through a philosophical and psychological lens, and also elucidates its radical social and political concepts.
About the Author
Takuah Soho (1573-1645) was a prelate of the Rinzai Sect of Zen, well remembered for his strength of character and acerbic wit; and he was also gardener, poet, tea master, prolific author and a pivotal figure in Zen painting and calligraphy. His religious training began at the age of ten. He entered the Rinzai sect at the age of fourteen and was appointed abbot of the Daitokuji, a major Zen temple in Kyoto, at the age of thirty-five. After a disagreement on ecclesiastical appointments with the second Tokugawa shogun, he was banished in 1629 to a far northern province. Coming under a general amnesty on the death of the shogun, he returned to society three years later to be, among other things, a confidant of the third Tokugawa shogun.
Thomas Cleary is the translator of "Opening the Dragon Gate" by Chen Kaiguo and Zhen Shunchao and "The Story of Chinese Zen" by Nan Huai-Chin, as well as "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu, "The Book of Five Rings" by Miyamoto Musashi, "The Japanese Art of War," and dozens of other titles on martial philosophy, Buddhism, Taoism, religion, and philosophy. He was born in 1949 and lives in Oakland, CA.