Stephen Mitchell

Tao Te Ching

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Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, is the classic manual on the art of living and one of the wonders of the world. In eighty-one brief chapters, the Tao Te Ching llods at the basic predicatment of being alive and gives advice that imparts balance and perspective, a serene and generous spirit. This book is about wisdom in action. It teaches how wo work for the good with the efforless skill that comes from being in accord with the Tao (the basic principle of the universe) and applies equally to good government and sexual love, to childrearing, business, and ecology.
The Tao Te Ching is the most widely traslated book in world literature, after the Bible. Yet the gemlike lucidity of the original has eluded most previous translations, and they have obscured some of its central ideas. Now the Tao Te ching has been rendered into English by the eminent scholar and traslator Stephen Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell's Dropping Ashes on the Buddha is a modern Zen classic, and his translations of Rilke and of the Book of Job have already been called definitive for our time.

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  • dijana tatarshared an impression3 months ago
    👍Worth reading

  • Nikolai C.shared an impression5 years ago
    🔮Hidden Depths


  • Nikolai C.has quoted5 years ago
    The Huai Nan Tzu tells a story about this:

    A poor farmer’s horse ran off into the country of the barbarians. All his neighbors offered their condolences, but his father said, “How do you know that this isn’t good fortune?” After a few months the horse returned with a barbarian horse of excellent stock. All his neighbors offered their congratulations, but his father said, “How do you know that this isn’t a disaster?” The two horses bred, and the family became rich in fine horses. The farmer’s son spent much of his time riding them; one day he fell off and broke his hipbone. All his neighbors offered the farmer their condolences, but his father said, “How do you know that this isn’t good fortune?” Another year passed, and the barbarians invaded the frontier. All the able-bodied young men were conscripted, and nine-tenths of them died in the war. Thus good fortune can be disaster and vice versa. Who can tell how events will be transformed?
  • Nikolai C.has quoted5 years ago
    I have three treasures which I preserve and treasure. The first is compassion, the second is frugality, the third is daring not to be first in the world. Whoever has compassion can be brave. Whoever has frugality can be generous. Whoever dares not to be first in the world can become the leader of the world. But to be brave without compassion, generous without frugality, prominent without humility: this is fatal. Whoever shows compassion in battle will conquer. Whoever shows compassion in defense will stand firm. Heaven helps and protects those with compassion
  • Nikolai C.has quoted5 years ago
    Honoring the Tao means respecting the way things are. There is a wonderful Japanese story (adapted here from Zenkei Shibayama Roshi’s A Flower Does Not Talk) which portrays this attitude:

    A hundred and fifty years ago there lived a woman named Sono, whose devotion and purity of heart were respected far and wide. One day a fellow Buddhist, having made a long trip to see her, asked, “What can I do to put my heart at rest?” She said, “Every morning and every evening, and whenever anything happens to you, keep on saying, ‘Thanks for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.’” The man did as he was instructed, for a whole year, but his heart was still not at peace. He returned to Sono, crestfallen. “I’ve said your prayer over and over, and yet nothing in my life has changed; I’m still the same selfish person as before. What should I do now?” Sono immediately said, “‘Thanks for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.’” On hearing these words, the man was able to open his spiritual eye, and returned home with a great joy

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