January 7, 2009

2009 BOOK REVIEW: The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, translated by Brian Browne Walker

BOOK #: 1
CHALLENGES: A to Z, Triple 999
RATING: 5/5 Stars

The Tao Te Ching, penned by Lao Tzu, is the foundational scripture of Taoism. The time it was written is debated to be anywhere from between the 6th century and 3rd century BC. The word Tao ( pronounced "dao") literally means "path" or "way" and is infinite and indescribable. I have been interested in Taoism since an old friend introduced it to me over a year ago.

There are, of course, many translations available of The Tao Te Ching. I looked through every version of the Tao Te Ching in 3 different bookstores when I went to purchase one and Walker's was the clearest version to the true writings of Lao Tzu that I could find.

The Tao Te Ching contains 81 brief chapters, or sections, although some people think that the numbers were added later for commentary purposes and the original was more fluid. However, it contains a great amount of wisdom on life- on loving, on leadership, on humility, on simplicity, on respect, on goodness, on moderation, on living a life full of oneness with Tao.

One of my favorite pieces of wisdom and sage advice from it falls under section 22 and reads as follows:

"Allow yourself to yield, and
you can stay centered.
Allow yourself to bend, and
you will stay straight.
Allow yourself to be empty, and
you'll get filled up.
Allow yourself to be exhausted, and
you'll be renewed."

I am very encouraged by this text and plan on reading 2 more books on Taoism. My mother, who is more of the Baptist persuasion, was hesitant about this book. But I might encourage her to read it. I told her that the idea of Tao was very similar to her personal idea of God. She might find that religions and philosophies around the world have more in common than she thinks they do. Or, at the very least, she may find wisdom that helps her and teaches her and helps her to live life more at peace with herself. And, if not even that, she will at least have more knowledge and understanding of others beliefs and philosophies, and that is always a plus.

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