Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way (Paperback)
No other English translation of this greatest of the Chinese classics can match Ursula Le Guin's striking new version. Le Guin, best known for thought-provoking science fiction novels that have helped to transform the genre, has studied the "Tao Te Ching " for more than forty years. She has consulted the literal translations and worked with Chinese scholars to develop a version that lets the ancient text speak in a fresh way to modern people, while remaining faithful to the poetic beauty of the work. Avoiding scholarly interpretations and esoteric Taoist insights, she has revealed the "Tao Te Ching "'s immediate relevance and power, its depth and refreshing humor, in a way that shows better than ever before why it has been so much loved for more than 2,500 years. Included are Le Guin's own personal commentary and notes on the text. This new version is sure to be welcomed by the many readers of the "Tao Te Ching " as well as those coming to the text for the first time.
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.
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin was born in 1929 in Berkeley, and lives in Portland, Oregon. As of 2014, she has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry, and four of translation, and has received many honors and awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, and PEN/Malamud. Her most recent publications are Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems and The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories.
"Reading [Le Guin's] translations is like taking a shared walk down a familiar trail where we discover rocks and water that we somehow missed before. . . . undeniably refreshing, capturing a language that is casual and clear, reflective and pointed, full of the wise humor of the Way."—Parabola
"A student of the Tao for several decades, Le Guin has created an English text that will speak to modern readers in a fresh and lively way, while conveying the humor, insight and beauty of the original."—Shambhala Sun
"Ursula K. Le Guin's translation of the Tao Te Ching is a personal and poetic meditation. Through her own careful study of these ancient teachings, she brings the Way into contemporary life. Each day, I open this book at random and receive a contemplative gift. These words are akin to water in the desert."—Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge
"Among the many translations of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching , Ursula K. Le Guin's new version is a special treasure—a delight. There is something startlingly fresh and creatively alive here, brought forth by Ms. Le Guin's intuitive and personal ingenuity. Her rendering has moved me to return to the original Chinese text with rejuvenated fervor, rejoicing in the ineffable sageness that lies in and between Lao Tzu's lines."—Chuangliang Al Huang, founder of the Living Tao Foundation, coauthor (with Alan Watts) of Tao: The Watercourse Way