Tao Te Ching - A New English Version
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Lao Tsu, an older contemporary of Confucius, was keeper of the imperial archives at Loyang in the province of Honan in the sixth century B.C. All his life he taught that "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao"; but, according to ancient legend, as he was riding off into the desert to die - sick at heart at the ways of men - he was persuaded by a gatekeeper in northwestern China to write down his teaching for posterity. The essence of Taoism is contained in the eighty-one chapters of the book - roughly 5000 words - which have for 2500 years provided one of the major underlying influences in Chinese thought and culture, emerging also in proverbs and folklore. Whereas Confucianism is concerned with day-to-day rules of conduct, Taoism is concern with a more spiritual level of being.
Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking. The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease, Creating, yet not possessing, Working, yet not taking credit. Work is done, then forgotten. Therefore it lasts forever.
Jane English, whose photograps form an integral part of this book, holds an BA from Mount Holyoke College and has received a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin for her work in high energy particle physics. She is at the moment teaching a course in Oriental thought and modern physics at Colorado College (with Gia-fu Feng as guest lecturer). She was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1942.