About Kathryn McNeill
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Name: Kathryn McNeill
[ book tip by Kathryn McNeill ] The Tao Te Ching is the defining book of Taoist beliefs. Taoism is a way of seeing the world and living your life in harmony with it. The Tao is the ultimate creative principle of the universe which connects and unifies everything, but it is not god and is not worshipped.
The Tao Te Ching was written in China in around the 6th century BC, although there is debate around exactly who wrote it and when. ‘Tao’ means way or path, ‘Te’ virtue, goodness or morality and ‘Ching’ scripture, book or classic. The book is written in 81 verses, starting by setting out the basic principles of the universe according to Taoism and going on to explore subjects including morality, politics and the nature of power.
There are numerous different translations, and as this is the only one I have read I can’t comment on how it compares to others, but I found the language to be clear yet poetic and beautiful, allowing it to be read on many different levels. As my understanding of Taoism has deepened I have come to understand parts of the book that baffled me on first reading it. Despite the clarity of the words themselves, the concepts can be very hard to understand – the nature of the universe for one. But there are also pointers for living your life that can be grasped immediately, if not put into practice – for example ‘When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.’
The Tao Te Ching is essential reading for anyone interested in philosophy, spirituality or the martial arts – Chinese martial arts, particularly Tai Chi, are based on Taoist concepts. If I was only allowed one book, this would without doubt be the one.
[ Favourite quote ] Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.
[ book info ] Lao-Tzu, : Tao Te Ching.
The Book of the Way.
(Book language: English (translated from Chinese)) Stephen Mitchell (trans.).
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