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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  314 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Lao-tzu, the legendary sage of ancient China, is traditionally considered to be the author of the Tao Te Ching, one of the most popular classics of world literature. Now Lao-tzu's further teachings on the Tao, or Way, are presented here in the first English translation of the Chinese text known as the Wen-tzu. Although previously ignored by Western scholars, the Wen-tzu ha ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published September 29th 1992 by Shambhala (first published 1991)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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Apr 26, 2015 rated it liked it


The way of developed people is to cultivate the body by calmness and nurture life by frugality… To govern the body and nurture essence, sleep and rest moderately, eat and drink appropriately; harmonize emotions, simplify activities. Those who are inwardly attentive to the self attain this and are immune to perverse energies.

The essential nature of humanity likes peace, but habitual desires damage it.

Those who overcome the lesser by strength come to a standoff when they meet their equals.
Craig Werner
For anyone interested in Taoism, this is the place to go after the Tao Te Ching (preferably in Stephen Mitchell's translation, although the one by Thomas Cleary, who translated this book, is also solid). Most of the 180-odd sections in Wen-Tzu are attributed to Lao-Tzu, but the name was used to represent the wisdom flowing from a particular source, so it's really an anthology (which accounts for a certain amount of repetition).

More even than the Tao Te Ching or Chuang-tzu, Wen-Tzu reflects the b
Alex Lee
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, philosophy, mystical
For those of us who could not get enough of the Lao Tzu this is perhaps a more explicit read. The language seems more complete; less of the poetry, as Wen-Tzu was written at a later, more developed time in the Chinese vernacular. If we assume this is the same Taoism (which there is no guarantee), we should note the conflation between society and subjectivity, that the ruler stands in for the nation and vis versa. The flow between ruler and nation, subject and environment is one that is best left ...more
Sep 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: taoism, china
There are plenty of daoist lessons to be learnt from this volume, although its repetitiveness of certain lessons does tire if you're reading the book consistently. Towards the end it becomes somewhat easier reading.

I felt that the translator, Thomas Cleary, may have been a little misguided in enacting the daoist ideal of simplicity in his translation. however. Much of the translation seems unnecessarily wordy, and you may find yourself reaching for a dictionary a number of times.

The Tao Te Chin
Oct 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
This translation is not ideal. It's makes for dull, weighty reading, which kind of goes against the concepts. I have to recommend seeking out other volumes. ...more
Con obras tan antiguas como los textos clásicos del pensamiento chino es difícil decir algo categórico sobre lo que sean ya que han ido pasando por las manos de muchos durante siglos y no siempre estamos seguros de que fueron cuando se escribieron. Aquí me refiero a esta edición traducida por Thomas Cleary.

Me interesa el taoísmo llamado filosófico. ¿Debería leer este libro?

Probablemente no. Aquí se mezclan capítulos de tipo taoísta con otros de otras filosofías contrarias como si recogieses los
Faith Lowery
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don't have the exact read start and finish dates on many books I have read this year. The dates are approximated, as I have been in & out of the hospital, and on bed rest, and read 2-5 books a day depending on the book & length and my ability to focus. All dates are approximated, by month.

Re-reading this book proved insightful, and humbling.
Dana Kohut
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent translation of the writing of Lao Tzu.
Ryan Christensen
Nov 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
A nice inspirational read. It is also only 184 pages with 181 verses so its an easy read for someone who doesn't have much time to read or is looking for a book on the side. ...more
Apoorv Kulshrestha
Tao Te Ching is simplest and any attempt to simplify it further, only complicates. This has few attempts but I appreciate that it has few really good chapter in between.
Will Robinson
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Either the book is bad or the translation is garbage. I'm placing my bets on a garbage translation. ...more
Jake Maguire
Not known to be a big seller but this was an excellent read.
Duncan Beech
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is deep, the depth of understanding Lao had WOW mind blowing, awe inspiring. He talks about how an unjust leader harms his people, it was as though he was here now writing about some of the current world leaders.

Wisdom is forever timeless. GREAT READ but very slow going.
Extraordinario. De los libros que te cambian la vida.
Curiosamente yo ya había leído pasajes del Wen-Tzu hace años, aunque no sabía que pertenecían a este libro: son los pasajes que inspiraron el Be water, my friend de Bruce Lee.
Stacia Dinkens
Aug 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. The front of the text proper was harder to understand than the rest of the book.
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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

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