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Laozi Tao Te Ching on The Art of Harmony

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  74,616 Ratings  ·  2,781 Reviews
Argues that humankind is but a tiny part of the whole universe and that individuals can attain true fulfilment by striving to live in harmony - not only with others but with their natural environment.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published (first published -300)
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Flan I like this translation very much. I searched for years until I bought this translation. I like it more than Stephen Mitchell's, I am not familiar…moreI like this translation very much. I searched for years until I bought this translation. I like it more than Stephen Mitchell's, I am not familiar with Le Guin's translation. The photograph that accompanies each hexagram is also well done.(less)
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Community Reviews

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trivialchemy
The book that can be reviewed is not the constant book.

The review which reviews can be neither full of review nor lacking.

But as the river changes course over seasons must the reviewer neither review nor not review, but follow the constant review.
Gerry
Jun 28, 2007 Gerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm an unbeliever and have been since the first time I played hooky from Sunday services and the Eye in the Sky didn’t say boo. So it may seem strange that I’m reviewing the Tao Te Ching, the widely known and influential Taoist text, written by Lao-Tzu and poetically translated in this edition by Stephen Mitchell. For me, the Tao Te Ching is more folk wisdom than religious treatise and is more useful than a million sermons.

Where the Tao Te Ching parts company with religious attempts at morality
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Dolors
Oct 06, 2014 Dolors rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those wanting to hear the other version
Recommended to Dolors by: the voices
Shelves: read-in-2014
“The Tao is always nameless” (Chapter 71)

Trying to narrow down the philosophy of the Tao Te Ching with limiting words is to violate its primordial essence. How can one describe the Universe, the natural order of things, the incessant flowing from being to non-being, the circular unity of a reality traditionally mismatched in dualistic terms?

The Tao Te Ching doesn’t provide answers because there needn’t be questions, just the harmony of moulding to the landscape rather than trying to impose a p
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Monk
Mar 13, 2010 Monk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophers, Followers of Eastern Thought
This is, by far, my favorite translation of the Tao Te Ching. I own a few others and they're all well and good, but this one is the one I continually read from and refer to when people ask me about the Tao.

The translation is well done, it captures the nature of the text well, and it flows fairly evenly. It's not overly flowery or ornate, it gives you the basics of what you need to understand the various entries and assist in understanding what Tao is (i.e. the the Tao named Tao is not the great,
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Mahdi
آيين تائو
"تائو" مبدأ و جوهر نهانى جهان را نوعى ظلمت و بى شكلى مى داند كه توصيفش از آن به قدرى به "عدم" نزديك است كه سخت بتوان آن را منطبق بر مفهوم رايج "خدا" دانست.
بر اساس حكمت تائو سالك با رسيدن به اين ظلمت و عدم است كه به آرامش مى رسد: با رها كردن انديشيدن و همه ى دانش هايش، با واگذاشتن "ذهن" و رسيدن به "بى ذهنى" و يكسره متحد شدن با "عين". تائو مى گويد همه ى بلايا و رنج ها و تيره بختى هاى بشر، به خاطر همين "ذهنيت" و توهم "تشخص" است، و در صورتى كه بشر تشخصش را كنار بگذارد، آرامش طبيعت بر زندگى
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Eddie Watkins
There are many translations of the Taoteching, nearly every one of which is probably worth reading, but this is my favorite version. I can’t attest to the accuracy of the translation, but having read so many different translations of the same text I feel like in some strange way I have a grasp of the original; as if a blank space (the Chinese original) has been given shape and definition by all the English versions surrounding it. But anyway... while I like the spare sensitivity of the language ...more
Reham Mohssen
Dec 15, 2011 Reham Mohssen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

عاش معلم الزن ريوكان فى كوخ متواضع عند سفح الجبل ,فى إحدى الأمسيات دخل الكوخ لص فوجد المكان خاليا ً من أى شئ له قيمة, وبينما وهو خارج من الباب أمسك به ريوكان الذى وصل لتوه من الخارج وقال له :- لقد أتعبت نفسك فى الوصول غلى هذا المكان النائى لتجده فارغاً , وإنه ليعز على أن أتركك تذهب خالِ الوفاض , إليك ثوبى هدية , تسمر اللص مكانه ذاهلا بينما كان ريوكان يخلع ثوبه ويقدمه إليه , وفى غمرة إرتباكه أخذ الثوب وولى هارباً , جلس ريوكان عارياً تقريباً قبالة النافذة يرقب القمر الذى توسطها , ثم هز رأسه قائلاً
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Bruce
Apr 15, 2010 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm always reading this little book containing the essence of wisdom. For years I've read it again and again, one chapter every morning.
Heidi Parton
Nov 05, 2014 Heidi Parton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This version irritates me a lot, largely because of Stephen Mitchell's arrogance in writing it (I'll go into that in a bit). This is not a translation (which Mitchell was at least gracious enough to make clear in the back of the book); it's a translation of various translations. The problem with this is that a translation of a translation turns out the same way that a copy of a copy does: while some of the original words and phrases are identifiable, there's a lot that's lost or skewed.

For examp
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7jane
Mar 06, 2016 7jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion-other
(review after rereading:)
This book's contents and history have both a sense of vagueness, but not in a bad way, in my opinion. It's somewhat uncertain when it was written (circa 4th-3rd century BC), the author's life details are largely invented, and the existence of the author is not quite certain either (Lao Tzu is just his title, and also it's not known if the text is by one author, or a group of authors worked over some years). It was first translated in the late 1700s, and the oldes existin
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Jeremy
Aug 12, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This has got to be one of the most perennially beguiling, elliptical things ever written. And it seems all the more mysterious to me because so much of it is couched as this extremely practical, almost Machiavellian political advice. Having been schooled entirely in the western intellectual tradition, with its notions of hierarchy, dualism and progression (historical, socio/cultural or otherwise), this was a complete mind-fuck to me. It sort of reminds me of Heidegger, with those really crazy, c ...more
James
The Tao Te Ching is a book that cannot be read directly. Unfortunately, I have little experience reading books indirectly, so I found this a difficult book to read, end even more difficult to discern what was being said by the author.
A friend told me that he thought Heraclitus, the Greek pre-Socratic philosopher, was somewhat like Lao Tzu. Heraclitus said "you can't step in the same river twice". He believed that reality was a flux composed of a unity of opposites. I suppose it is possible to c
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Mimi
Interesting in that round-about way, the way ambiguous wordplay in poetry tend to be. Overall though it couldn't hold my attention for long. I had to stop and restart a page several times because my mind wandered. It had nothing to do with the content of the writing, but rather the soothing rhythmic "beat" that made it easy for me to not focus. Half the time I didn't even realized I was doing it until I reached a photo page.

This book might be better as an audio. That soothing rhythmic beat woul
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Rob
Feb 06, 2008 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aspiring sages
highlights:
3 - not collecting treasures prevents stealing.
13- accept disgrace willingly
23- he who does not trust will not be trusted
46- he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough
57- the more rules and regulations, the more thieves and robbers there will be

lowlights: eh, pretty much the whole translation. i guess this version is popular because it has nice calligraphy of the original chinese and BW photos of nature accompanying the english translation. but despite not having read
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Ahmad Sharabiani
این متن کهن را به «لائو تزو» یا «لائو دزو» نسبت است که 600 سال پیش از میلاد مسیح و همزمان با کنفوسیوس، زیسته است. «لائو تزو» همان مرشد، پیر یا استاد است. تاریخ نگار و کتابدار دربار امپراطوری «جو» بوده، و تنها همین کتاب از ایشان به یادگار است. راهنمای هنر زندگی ست و خرد ناب. گفته اند: لائو تزو زندگی ساده و هماهنگ با طبیعت داشته که همان پیام تائوست، عمری دراز زیسته گویا 160 تا 200 سال

خوب همانند آب است
بدون تلاش همه را سیراب میکند
جمع شدن در گودها را کوچک نمیشمارد

Vipassana
It is by being alive to difficulty that one can avoid it.
As much as I wished to write a review for Tao Te Ching, I'd abandoned the prospect of writing a review a couple of days ago. Too many changes over the past few days that I couldn't summon the will to write as I had intended to. To bring a little peace, I opened my journal to write and my eyes fell to the last line I'd written, the line I've quoted from Tao Te Ching, and it almost magically assuaged the tremors of my mind.

Whether Lao Tzu
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soheila
Jul 24, 2010 soheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
حواست را نادیده بگیر
زندگی ات را فراموش کن
گره هایت راباز کن
نگاهت را نرم و لطیف کن
و گرد و خاکت را بتکان
این هویت اصلی توست
چون تائو باش

فرزانه هنگام غم آرام باقی می ماند
بدی به دل او راهی ندارد
چون کمک کردن را ترک کرده
بزرگترین کمک کننده است

شکست یک فرصت است
اگر دیگری را مقصر بدانی
پایانی برای مقصر دانستن دیگران وجود نخواهد داشت
فرزانه به وظایفش عمل می کند
و اشتباهاتش را اصلاح می نماید
او آنچه ضروری است را به انجام می رساند
و از دیگران چیزی طلب نمی کند
Evan
Aug 29, 2007 Evan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The description of this book is wrong:

"Like Stephen Mitchell, acclaimed author and poet Ursula K. Le Guin has attempted a nonliteral, poetic rendition of the Tao Te Ching"

It's nothing like Mitchell's pretty but totally opaque translation. LeGuin gives you readable ideas, arguments in poetry, a philosophy to ponder. Of all the translations I have encountered, this is the only one that gives you a point of entry into the rich treasury of ideas in the Tao Te Ching.
James
Jun 21, 2016 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Thucydides, Machiavelli and Hobbes could have teamed up to write an Ancient Chinese manual on Statecraft and wise living in the form of gnomic verses, they might have produced something like the Tao Te Ching.

I think most of us post-moderns would love to live according to some Nietzschean ideal of life, affirming and self-transcending our way towards oblivion. But in truth one would probably have a better go of things, certainly when facing life’s interminable struggles, by following books lik
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Alex
Feb 13, 2010 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: achievers, lost souls, curious
To a Westerner, the Tao Te Ching presents another perspective for understanding meaning and effectiveness. For example, the Tao Te Ching shows how movement towards progress creates movement against progress, "Do not exalt the worthy, and the people will not compete... Do not display objects of desire, and the people's minds will not be disturbed. Therefore the ordering of the sage empties their minds, fills their bellies... and causes the wise ones not to dare to act. He does nothing, and there ...more
João Fernandes
An ode to apathy as a means of utopia. If people are simple and cannot think and the rulers are good then the empire will work. Except this would be the death of humanity's constant evolution and revolution. I could literally see this being handed out in Orwell's Oceania, that's how far off I find this philosophy.
Vimal Thiagarajan
Jul 03, 2016 Vimal Thiagarajan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Profound, Reflection-provoking piece of ancient text, studded with natural imagery and lyricism. The message has lots of similarities with the Gita. Some parts were obscure and contradicting though, so planning to read a guidance text soon.
Rupert Dreyfus
If I was allowed to only read one book for the rest of my life then it would be the Tao Te Ching by Laozi. I read it at the right time in my life courtesy of a good friend's timely recommendation. I find myself returning to it whenever I hit my deep and meaningful mode. It's the original anarchist text and is based on principles rather than dogma.

Everyone should study this simple yet complex philosophy at least once in their lifetime.
Poo1987 Roykaew
May 27, 2008 Poo1987 Roykaew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: imaginative patient book worms
Ancient poems contain numerous interesting things, pleasure of silent air; coolness of still water; beauty of trees; perfume of blossom; riches of emotion; and the most important thing, brightness of wisdom. What does appear to the readers depends on their ways of interpretation. It is, in my opinion, the law of philosophy.

Tao Te Ching is not good for ones impatient and unimaginative. Short and complex, but sound-like-mad poems might bore you easily. I don't advise you using it for studying in c
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W.M. Driscoll
I had actually forgotten that I had this translation of Lao Tzu's classic work on my shelf, serviceable as it is. Since this is the only one I could find to review, I'll talk about the text here. I was given a less scholarly and more poetic version of the Tao Te Ching as a young teen, entitled The Way of Life by Witter Bynner, and it damn near blew my head off my shoulders. The worldview was so profound and radically different from what I had been exposed to up to that point, it caught my fancy ...more
Tanvika
Jul 24, 2016 Tanvika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book cant be read only once
It will be read again and again.explored differently every time.
The jewels I would like to share:
1. Non-action: the incessant act of being busy and occupied is an interference in the natural way of doing things. Non action is the action that arises spontaneously as is visible when we observe nature.it can also be considered as a state of emptiness and tranquility
2. Duality: the generally accepted morality ( good vs bad) hinders understanding and creates conflict.
...more
Farhan Khalid
Sep 06, 2014 Farhan Khalid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When people see things as beautiful, ugliness is created

When people see things as good, evil is created

The master leads by emptying people's mind

The Tao is like an empty vessel

It can never be emptied and can never be filled

Master doesn’t take sides

The spirit of emptiness is immortal

The location makes the dwelling good

Depth of understanding makes the mind good

A kind heart makes the giving good

Integrity makes the government good

Accomplishment makes your labors good

Proper timing makes a decision go
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Lani M
Mar 29, 2014 Lani M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was born and raised in Chinese family who still upholds and practises their culture. Unfortunately, I was never really eager to explore about Eastern Philosophy, I took it for granted, because I have encountered Confucianism and Buddhism earlier in my life. I comprehended that my mom has a strong belief in Confucianism, and she taught me to apply the philosophy in daily life, especially about respecting our Ancestors as well as practising ancient rituals and ceremonies. I myself was a Buddhist ...more
Alex
Sep 20, 2007 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
First, a disclaimer. I do not read the Tao To Ching as a Taoist, a student of Chinese philosophy, or a secularist. I don't read it within its own proper social context. I read it as a Wiccan, and I look to it to inform my practice of my own, separate religion. But that being said, I think the Tao has principles which are applicable to everyone, and which provide a valuable counterweight to the baffling complexity of modern society.

As a Wiccan, I've found that the tao provides a necessary elemen
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Robin Clark
Jun 01, 2013 Robin Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book to read forever. Every time I read Tao Te Ching, the book feels new again, fresh, as if only just discovered. It feels natural to embrace the simplicity of the words and meanings. To deeply connected to them, and be carried along in a timeless experience.

Reading Lao Tzu is like looking into a mirror and seeing the reflection of the universe there. A state of peace and happiness is often felt as I read through the pages, and a deep inner connection is constantly renewed.

A primord
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writing versus viewing versus audio 2 12 Aug 23, 2014 02:53PM  
Lão Tử - Đạo đức kinh 1 3 Feb 27, 2014 04:24AM  
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Lao Tzu (Chinese: 老子; pinyin: Lǎozǐ; Wade-Giles: Laosi; also Laozi, Lao Tse, Lao Tu, Lao-Tsu, Laotze, Laosi, Lao Zi, Laocius, Lao Ce, and other variations) was a mystic philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching (often simply referred to as Laozi). His association with the Tao Te Ching has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of Taoism (pronounced as " ...more
More about Lao Tzu...

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“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
4265 likes
“Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.”
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