popular Lao Tzu: Tao new arrival Te Ching: A Book popular about the Way and the Power of the Way outlet sale

popular Lao Tzu: Tao new arrival Te Ching: A Book popular about the Way and the Power of the Way outlet sale

popular Lao Tzu: Tao new arrival Te Ching: A Book popular about the Way and the Power of the Way outlet sale

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A rich, poetic, and socially relevant version of the great spiritual and philosophical classic of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching—from one of America''s leading literary figures

In this landmark modern-day rendition of the ancient Taoist classic, Ursula K. Le Guin presents Lao Tzu’s time-honored and astonishingly powerful philosophy like never before. Drawing on a lifetime of contemplation and including extensive personal commentary throughout, she offers an unparalleled window into the text’s awe-inspiring, immediately relatable teachings and their inestimable value for our troubled world. Jargon-free but still faithful to the poetic beauty of the original work, Le Guin''s unique translation is sure to be welcomed by longtime readers of the  Tao Te Ching as well as those discovering the text for the first time.

Review

“Among the many translations of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, Ursula K. Le Guin’s new version is a special treasure—a delight. There is something startlingly fresh and creatively alive here, brought forth by Ms. Le Guin’s intuitive and personal ingenuity.”—Chuangliang Al Huang, founder of the Living Tao Foundation and coauthor (with Alan Watts) of Tao: The Watercourse Way
 
“A student of the Tao for several decades, Le Guin has created an English text that will speak to modern readers in a fresh and lively way, while conveying the humor, insight, and beauty of the original.”— Lion’s Roar magazine
 
“The type of work which the great Polish poet and Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska meant when she spoke of ‘that rare miracle when a translation stops being a translation and becomes . . . a second original.’ . . . The whole of Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching is well worth savoring—as much for the ancient substance as for Le Guin’s stylistic splendor.”—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

About the Author

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–2018) is an internationally celebrated author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, and essays, including The Left Hand of Darkness, Always Coming Home, and the Earthsea Cycle series. Her numerous literary awards include six Nebula Awards, seven Hugo Awards, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Award, and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

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Top reviews from the United States

Wally Jasper
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Profound, inspired version of the Tao Te Ching
Reviewed in the United States on April 12, 2016
I am now reading, concurrently, chapter by chapter, three versions of the Tao Te Ching: Feng/English''s, Stephen Mitchell''s, and Ursula Le Guin''s, which is my hands down favorite. I''ve owned the Gia-fu Feng/Jane English version for many years and I still love its clear and... See more
I am now reading, concurrently, chapter by chapter, three versions of the Tao Te Ching: Feng/English''s, Stephen Mitchell''s, and Ursula Le Guin''s, which is my hands down favorite. I''ve owned the Gia-fu Feng/Jane English version for many years and I still love its clear and concise language, it''s simple and direct style. Stephen Mitchell''s version, in my side by side comparison, is seen to be a more interpretative rendition based on his own understanding of Lao Tzu''s meaning. Rather than stay with Lao Tzu''s imagery and metaphor, he packages it all up into a kind of exposition of the meaning he derives from those images. This approach may appeal to those wishing for a more conceptual understanding of this great work, but for me, it diminishes so much of the subtlety and a deeper intuitive conveyance of meaning that is only possibly through poetry. This is where Le Guin''s version outshines and makes a quantum leap beyond the other two. She retains all the imagery, nuance and flavor of the poetry while capturing a feeling of playfulness and spontaneity. But beyond even that, I find that her ability to hold the paradox and enigma of Lao Tzu''s mystical realization allows for a deeper, more inspired reading than the other two.

To illustrate what I mean, please bear with me as I compare one stanza. This is Stanza 30 in the three versions:

Mitchell:
Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn''t try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence even well intentioned,
always rebounds upon oneself.

The Master does his job
and then stops.
He understands that the universe
is forever out of control,
and that trying to dominate events
goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself,
he doesn''t try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself
He doesn''t need others'' approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.

Feng/English:
Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe.
For this would only cause resistance.
Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
Just do what needs to be done.
Never take advantage of power.

Achieve results, but never glory in them.
Achieve results, but never boast.
Achieve results, but never be proud.
Achieve results, because this is the natural way.
Achieve results, but not through violence.

Force is followed by loss of strength.
This is not the way of Tao.
That which goes against the Tao comes to an early end.

Le Guin:
A Taoist wouldn''t advise a ruler
to use force of arms for conquest;
that tactic backfires.
Where the army marched
grow thorns and thistles.
After the war
come the bad harvests.

Good leaders prosper, that''s all,
not presuming on victory.
They prosper without boasting,
or domineering, or arrogance,
prosper because they can''t help it,
prosper without violence.

Things flourish then perish.
Not the Way.
What''s not the Way
soon ends.

Le Guin adds a note at the end of this stanza. She says, "The last verse is enigmatic: ''Things flourish then perish.''—How can this supremely natural sequence not be the Way?" She then directs the reader to another note under a later stanza where she picks up on Lao Tzu''s use of a "baby" metaphor to describe how one following the Way acts in the world. She writes: "What is eternal is forever young, never grows old. But we are not eternal. It is in this sense that I understand how the natural, inevitable cycle of youth, growth, mature vigor, age, and decay can be "not the Way." The Way is more than the cycle of any individual life. We rise, flourish, fail. The Way never fails. We are waves. It is the sea."

So, rather than change the actual words to make the meaning more intelligible to our conceptual understanding, as in Feng/English, or simply avoid the whole issue by presenting a loose rendition that doesn''t follow the original so closely, as in Mitchell, Le Guin presents the enigma as it is and then ponders and digs deeper to try to grasp what Lao Tzu was truly saying. She goes beyond a facile, generic understanding and comes up with something exquisitely profound. The Way isn''t about how we''re supposed to act in the world. It isn''t about us as individuals at all. The Way is beyond all the flourishings and perishings of the temporal world of form. To live in the Way is to live rooted in the timeless, unchanging essence of our Being which simply is, always. Feng/English''s and Mitchell''s versions don''t come close to penetrating into this realization. This is an example of why I consider Le Guin''s version to be superior to the others.

One minor quibble: Le Guin tells us that the Chinese word "Te" is usually translated as Virtue. She translates it as Power throughout the book because she feels that the word Virtue in contemporary usage has lost its previous sense of "inherent quality and strength of a thing or person." I myself still prefer Virtue, maybe because I''m old fashioned and still think of Virtue in the old way, like the way Plato used it. Another word choice that I believe would convey the same meaning would be the "All-Good." That has both a feeling of Power and Virtue in it. As I said, it''s a minor quibble.
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John N. Hinkle
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
U.L. butchered this translation.
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2021
This is a hideously bad translation of the Tao Te Ching. In trying to make it accessible to a common English reader, LeGuin has destroyed the duality of nature which the Tao Te Ching so famously expresses. In reading her translations of the poems, it becomes clear that... See more
This is a hideously bad translation of the Tao Te Ching. In trying to make it accessible to a common English reader, LeGuin has destroyed the duality of nature which the Tao Te Ching so famously expresses. In reading her translations of the poems, it becomes clear that while she enjoyed reading poems from her father''s translation (some more than others, a problem because it means picking the many instead of the one), it is clear she does not understand the original Chinese text.

My undergraduate degree was Linguistics, and Chinese was my non-western language. In particular, I studied historic and not current Chinese with a focus on translating Taoist poetry. Sanskrit was my archaic language - to read the rig veda. The point of stating my background is to give you a basis for deciding if you think my criticism of this book is well grounded.

Frankly, horrible is a kind description because while failing to convey the conceptual core of the Tao Te Ching, it also completely fails at being poetry. U. LeGuin should have stuck to fantasy, where I have found her work enjoyable.
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Dan'l Danehy-Oakes
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Highly recommended
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2015
This is a problematic book to review in many ways, of which I''ll name only three. First, it is not a translation, for Le Guin readily admits that she knows no Chinese. Rather, it is a synthesis from a number of translations, made to (1) emphasize the poetry and... See more
This is a problematic book to review in many ways, of which I''ll name only three.

First, it is not a translation, for Le Guin readily admits that she knows no Chinese. Rather, it is a synthesis from a number of translations, made to (1) emphasize the poetry and (2) to be consistent with Le Guin''s understanding of the Tao Te Ching. (Weirdly, I once, under the influence of general semantics, set out to do the same thing, but never got very far...) Thus, her choices are always open to question ... which might be a good thing, and certainly seems in keeping with the spirit of the Tao as best I understand it, which is very little.

Second, this is not the first or the second, but something like the seventh rendering of the Tao Te Ching that I have read, partly for the reason suggested above, partly because I hoped through such diversity to achieve something like an understanding. (Up to now, my favorite translation has been that of Crowley, which Le Guin does not use as a source.)

Third, and most telling, this is a book you don''t just read. You live with it, like a good Bible or Bhagavad-gita. Having read it once, though carefully and ruminatively, does not qualify me to say much about it.

Still.

My "up-to-now" above suggests that this is now my favorite English Tao Te Ching, and that would be an accurate suggestion. Le Guin''s language conveys the meaning (if that''s the correct word) of Lao Tzu (Laodze, Lao-tse, etc.) in a way I find particularly apt to that meaning.

I will not comment on what the "meaning" is, because that is something that you must discover for yourself if you are to get any value from it; and besides, I am not sufficiently expert to do other than make a fool of myself. But whether it is "meaning" or not, it is there, and Le Guin''s rendering brings it to us as well as any I''ve read.
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Gary Moreau, Author
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Making the Tao Te Ching accessible to all
Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2017
The Tao Te Ching is the ancient text at the heart of Taoism. The Chinese character for tao can be literally translated as “the way.” And therein lies the text’s great beauty and significance, but enduring elusion. The Tao Te Ching is not so much a book as it is... See more
The Tao Te Ching is the ancient text at the heart of Taoism. The Chinese character for tao can be literally translated as “the way.” And therein lies the text’s great beauty and significance, but enduring elusion.

The Tao Te Ching is not so much a book as it is an offering of poetic verse. And the writer, presumed to be Lao Tzu, openly strives for the simplicity and the paradoxical essence at the heart of the Tao world view. It could, in fact, be called The Book of Paradox.

This intentionally elusive intent, and the fact that the text was written 2500 years ago in an ancient language, gives modern readers almost no context within which to understand the work. There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of translations and even more interpretations.

This book is not a translation. The author, Ursula K. Le Guin, notes her inability to read Chinese. She describes it as a rendition; a rendition rendered after a lifetime of study and admiration. That insight and that perspective provide, I think, an outstanding introduction to the Tao Te Ching.

Le Guin notes that one of the most significant and informative paradoxes is the paradox of nothing. What is the most powerful and significant part of a bowl? What is the most powerful and important part of the window? In the case of the bowl, it is the central void that is not the bowl. In the case of the window, it is the section of wall that is not a wall. In the case of knowing, it is the not-knowing. “Do not do. Doing not-doing.”

Don’t grasp too hard and I think this is a simple way to understand the duality of Taoism and much of Eastern philosophy. The Chinese refer to it as yin and yang, the great polarity.

With this paradox in mind it is easy to understand the power of water, a central theme to the Taoist world view. Water always dives to the lowest level. It is soft and pliable, yet it, almost alone among the elements of nature, can cut through granite and rock. In its quest for calm and stillness it masters the movement of the wave and the ripple.

One element of Taoism that I particularly like is the great importance it places on the teacher and mother. The teacher, Le Guin notes, is uniquely human. Animals teach their young but their knowledge is largely instinctive. Only people seek to interpret reality and pass it along.

A Taoist defers both to nature and to death. The Taoist seeks calm and simplicity. Which, paradoxically enough, makes Taoism conceptually attractive to the anarchist, although the fundamental philosophies are polar opposites. The anarchist sees the individual as supreme; the Taoist accepts the superiority of the Way and is humbled by it.

I do not consider myself to be a Taoist, although that claim itself may be paradoxical in the Taoist world view. I do consider the Tao Te Ching, however, to be a delightful and informative text. And I think Le Guin has done us all a service by making it so accessible. I highly recommend it.
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Big
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not as advertised
Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2021
This is not the the Ursula K. Le Guin translation. It''s the Legge. I''m still trying to figure out how to contact amazon about this.
13 people found this helpful
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ConsiderThis
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Universal thoughts that help me stay centered
Reviewed in the United States on April 2, 2017
Reading these universal thoughts helps me stay centered. Wells Fargo is trying to take my home, after qualifying me for a loan mod, then reneging after I made the trial payments. So, I can fall into fear all too easily. Reading Lao Tzu helps me remember that Life is... See more
Reading these universal thoughts helps me stay centered. Wells Fargo is trying to take my home, after qualifying me for a loan mod, then reneging after I made the trial payments. So, I can fall into fear all too easily. Reading Lao Tzu helps me remember that Life is beautiful and Wells Fargo does not define life. :-)
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Lynn
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
intuitive and beautiful rendering of the Tao Te Ching
Reviewed in the United States on March 22, 2015
This is a sensitive, intuitive and beautiful rendering of the Tao Te Ching. It is written in Classical Chinese which is highly abbreviated -- four words might need 8 to 12 words in English, and then it is hard to tell how accurately the meaning is rendered. I have not... See more
This is a sensitive, intuitive and beautiful rendering of the Tao Te Ching. It is written in Classical Chinese which is highly abbreviated -- four words might need 8 to 12 words in English, and then it is hard to tell how accurately the meaning is rendered. I have not read the Tao Te Ching in decades. I have the bilingual version on my book shelf (bought it in NYC in my undergraduate days and I am now almost 72). What strikes me now is that the book seems to say the universal mystical message. I take a mystic to be someone who believes that nothing is necessary to have a connection with God (or whatever you want to call it -- Higher Power, Universal Principle, whatever) except one''s self. The mystics of the world rise above mere religion to the infinite. And tell us that it is simple but not easy. The Buddhist concept of non-attachment is here. And the Taoist wu-wei is central. No action needed.
This is a very poetical and beautiful book. I shall cherish henceforth. I wpuld love to have Ursula Le Guin as a neighbor. She is someone to cherish.
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PAN
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Surprisingly unsurprising
Reviewed in the United States on March 4, 2020
I bought this book after reading many great reviews about Tao te ching and its different translations so I had high expectations. I guess that was my fault. There is nothing mysterious about the teachings. Be kind, be in harmony with the nature and don''t dwell on little... See more
I bought this book after reading many great reviews about Tao te ching and its different translations so I had high expectations. I guess that was my fault. There is nothing mysterious about the teachings. Be kind, be in harmony with the nature and don''t dwell on little things - this has been repeated several times in this book (or ten thousand times - a favorite phrase used in this book). We all know this. So if you are looking for spiritual awakening or something of that sort you will be disappointed. The book is not even a good read. I understand this book like any other religious book has cultural context so it is not fair to judge based on a translated book which often loses the soul of original book.
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Top reviews from other countries

Joe Crow
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
not the translation i was expecting...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 14, 2021
this was billed as the kindle version of Ursula K Le Guin''s translation...but is actually James Legge''s work. i am slightly disappointed, as it looks like i will have to fork out a lot more for a physical copy of the Ursula K Le Guin''s translation. that said, this kindle...See more
this was billed as the kindle version of Ursula K Le Guin''s translation...but is actually James Legge''s work. i am slightly disappointed, as it looks like i will have to fork out a lot more for a physical copy of the Ursula K Le Guin''s translation. that said, this kindle version was only 49p...
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daisy47
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
a hotchpotch, but potched by a writer of genius
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 27, 2014
I have loved Ursula Le Guin since reading "A Wizard of Earthsea"" (because one of our children had ordered it from a school book club and then set it aside.) This doesn''t pretend to be a translation. A writer with a lovely feel for language had researched the Dao and read...See more
I have loved Ursula Le Guin since reading "A Wizard of Earthsea"" (because one of our children had ordered it from a school book club and then set it aside.) This doesn''t pretend to be a translation. A writer with a lovely feel for language had researched the Dao and read practically every English version of Lao Tzu''s book that she could get her hands on. Normally a person would be embarrassed to recommend something that''s ''only'' a paraphrase of other peoples'' work, but this is the most satisfying "Tao Te Ching" I ever opened. It doesn''t sacrifice beautiful language for the sake of some spurious "clarity". Other versions that force some personal interpretation on the reader of WHAT IT MEANS are nothing to do with the Dao. At the same time, versions by "purists" who don''t care if the words appear in any order that is sensible to a Western reader don''t help either. I was always a little bit disappointed in Le Guin''s own poetry - (her prose seemed much more naturally lyrical to me). In this case she captures the poetic spirit of a unique philosopher, and in doing so, as far as I am concerned, builds a bridge across huge gaps in time and culture.
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Raymond Dreyfuss
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Dramatically different and more readable translation
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 14, 2018
May she rest in peace. Ursula Le Guin''s translation is far more readable and gives much better context than all. The others and furthermore the explanation is very good too.
7 people found this helpful
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joe_the_drummer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautiful translation.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 22, 2018
This is a gorgeous translation, full of beautiful language. Ursula has included some very concise commentaries, which I find extremely useful in helping my understanding. Highly recommended.
6 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A really good thoughtful translation
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 12, 2019
I read this regularly and find it inspiring. Lao Tzu had a great way of expressing his ideas which are often mysterious to the Western mind.
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