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on August 25, 2010
The soul of Chinese literature is poetry: from oldest "Book of Odes" to TangShu (Tang poetry) to SongZu (Song dynasty poetry) to YungQu (Yung dynasty poetry) . Underneath this glorious landscape were Lao Tzu's (551 B.C.) influences running through gem-like poems by Wang Wei, Li Po, Mon Ho Jung(701-761) and reached the sea of Japanese Haiku poets, Basho, Buson and Issa(1763-1827). It is obviously the prerequisite read for anyone who wants to understand Chinese culture and philosophies of Zen. Lao Tzu's impact goes further beyond that: as the "most widely translated book in world literature, after the bible," TAO TE CHING finds religious and political leaders, business owners and enlightened masters, readers and writers alike worldwide, return to the source of his words and find its use inexhaustible.

In certain times of ancient Chinese history, TAO TE CHING was reserved for emperors and rulers, while commoners were instructed to study Confucius and Mencius. This is because Lao Tzu's spiritual scripture is liberating and best suited for people ready to unlearn what they learned, let go of their egos and emptied their minds from the world of experience for the being of higher innocence. Thus Lao Tzu teaches truth through words of paradox:

All streams flow to the sea
because it is lower than they are.
Humility gives it its power. (66)

In 81 brief chapters that contains a mere 5000 Chinese words, Tao Te Ching "looks at the basic predicament of being alive and gives advice that imparts balance and perspective, a serene and generous spirit (Book cover). Mr. Mitchell interprets Lao Tzu, the erudite librarian and eminent scholar in his own time correctly when he writes, "it's clear from his teachings that he deeply cared about society, if society means the welfare of one's fellow human beings; his book is, among other things, a treatise on the art of government, whether of a country or of a child." The reactions upon reading Lao Tzu's words range from "babbling" to "lofty" but actually his teaching couldn't be easier:

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures. (67)

TAO TE CHING in its original Chinese text is referred to as "one of the wonders of the world". Every word written by Lao Tzu is a microcosmic image of macrocosmic world, complete with sound, tone, shape, rhythm symmetry and metaphoric resonance. It is the Chinese written characters that makes TAO TE CHING (and Chinese Poetry) an Art of art's kind. Through translation, it is all lost. What can be saved is the philosophical wisdom of Lao Tzu and Mr. Stephen Mitchell, through his own genius had masterfully rendered Tao Te Ching into English poetry with brilliance. It takes a poet and a scholar to translate another. If Lao Tzu is the most-read Chinese philosopher in the West today, we have Mr. Mitchell's New English Version to thank for. While Mr. Mitchell's translation is the best place to start, other works such as Dr. Wu's translation that has original Chinese text in it are also recommended. They are puzzle pieces for a better glimpse of the continent of the Way. But as proverb goes, "don't look at the hand that points to the moon. Look at the moon." Ultimately, we should all be looking at the truth that Lao Tzu is pointing to within us, be it English or Chinese.
(This text refers to the Hardcover edition.)

Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching (Asian Institute Translations, No 1)
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on May 9, 2013
If your someone like myself your a skeptic when it comes to anything religious. I'm an ex-christian brought about by some very bad experiences in my youth which caused me to search for a different path. Many years later I got involved in Tai Chi, and talking with my Sifu we got onto the topic of this. I figured I would buy it and give it a read. It was something that showed to me that if only I had found this knowledge 20 years ago life would have been far easier. But even now it just gives you a way of looking at things that calms your mind and brings about ways of dealing with life's inconsistencies more easily. Coupled with my Tai Chi training I have found life to be much more easily dealt with and I am much harder to come to anger.

For any person from any religion this is a great read, not to try and steer a person from their path but to offer other options of looking at the world to better understand it and yourself. Because from what I have found the more options a person has to view the world from, the far easier it is get through it with less stress, and more success!
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on January 4, 2014
If you like Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Tao Te Ching, this is an excellent buy. I find Mitchell's translation to be simple and yet very eloquent. It does not feel like a 'westernized' translation, nor does it feel incomprehensible.

This book is really beautiful. Before buying it, I thought it might be too plain, or utilitarian when I saw the gray cover. Upon getting the book and opening it, I was very pleased. The pages are a creamy colour with beautiful numbering of the 'chapters' in red at the top of each page. The spacing of words and verses in the book make it very attractive and accessible for a short reading session or reading through the entire book in a single sitting.

Ultimately, my notes above are rather irrelevant to why you might enjoy this book. The Tao Te Ching is a wonderful work of wisdom. It's lessons are beautiful and resonate with one's inner nature. The Tao is one of many sources to draw spiritual instruction and refreshment from. I suggest reading it through many times and meditating on certain parts and see where that takes you.

The Tao is priceless, this copy of the Tao Te Ching is excellent value for the price.
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on January 6, 2010
Tao Te Ching: A New English Version I admire the translations of poetry by Stephen Mitchell, particularly his work with the poetry of Rilke, but I do find this translation just a little trendy and he is not an expert on the Tao -- it is cool these days to switch "he" and "she" but it does not guarantee a incisive reading of the work at hand. For a fine translation, and for a history and development of the Tao philosophy, and for explanations (Commentary and Footnotes) of major ideas as they arise and are developed, and debates about the meaning of the Chinese, look for something more profound, such as Wing-Tsit Chan's translation, "The Way of the Tao" by Lao Tzu. Way of Lao Tzu, TheAnd for an excellent examination of the meaning of Tao and how we live within it, check out "Tao: The Watercourse Way" by Alan Watts, who was/is a master of explaining Eastern thought to the Western mind.Tao: The Watercourse Way Both Chan and Watts will lead you on to Chuang-Tzu and a deepening understanding of Tao.
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on January 1, 2003
This is a beautiful, lyric translation of the Tao Te Ching. It's simple, clear prose makes it very approachable, especially for those who may be new to the material. I own both the full size paperback and the compact edition. Both are wonderful. The compact edition sacrifices none of the words, yet fits neatly in a shirt pocket. It's great for travel, although some readers may find the print a bit smallish.
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on July 13, 2013
...this should be required reading for all
so simple so 'true" a wonderful translation. i bought several and keep giving them away to others......just got myself another....
there arent too many books which are as alive as this one.....
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on June 27, 2013
a very good version I practice the teachinhs and share with inmates in two institutions - it is a very valuable asset for me in my volunteer work as well as in my personal lif I also ise Confuciou and tsun tsu (art of war) amd tai chi and qi gong
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on October 11, 2011
An excellent read - wonderfully concise, pure and 'simplistic'. Great interpretations of the ancient sayings, wonderfully written. A great daily meditation guide.
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on December 13, 2013
the cover is different on the edition i got and it is a prettier cover than the original. but the book inside is still full of the same insight and wisdom.
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on March 3, 2015
Product performed exactly as advertised. I strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a good translation.
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