EACH JOUR­NEY BE­GINS WITH A SIN­GLE STEP

The Taoist Book of Life

Foreword Reviews - - Foresight Body/mind/spirit -

Deng Ming-dao, Hamp­ton Roads Pub­lish­ing (SEPTEM­BER) Soft­cover $16.95 (208pp), 978-1-57174-838-6

Sixth cen­tury BCE Chi­nese im­pe­rial ar­chiv­ist, philoso­pher, and teacher Laozi (Old Mas­ter), a man wise enough to dis­cuss phi­los­o­phy with Con­fu­cius, ad­vo­cated for the “Tao,” or the “Way”—a nat­u­ral, un­com­pli­cated way of life, re­moved from the de­mands of so­ci­ety. Con­fu­cius, how­ever, be­lieved in rites, rit­u­als, and rigid so­cial re­la­tion­ships.

With their coun­try in de­cline and on the cusp of 254 years of in­ter­state war, Con­fu­cius looked for a ruler who would put his ideas for so­cial or­der into prac­tice; Laozi, writ­ing “know when enough is enough,” sim­ply mounted a wa­ter buf­falo and rode off to the western bor­der, then thought to be the edge of the civ­i­lized world. Stopped at the gate by a guard, he was asked to record his wis­dom. His Daode­jing is a great gift to hu­mankind and a guide to our shared yet won­drously unique jour­ney.

Deng Ming-dao’s col­lec­tion re­lies on three ma­jor sources: the Daode­jing, given in its com­plete trans­la­tion; the Yiy­ing, said to have been writ­ten by Con­fu­cius; and ex­am­ples from the Chi­nese po­etic tra­di­tion. Set as a di­a­mond among other pre­cious stones, the Daode­jing presents a jour­ney to some­thing greater than can be named, il­lu­mi­nat­ing the re­al­ity of the hu­man con­di­tion and the forces that act upon each trav­eler.

Some ex­pe­ri­ences will bring sor­row and pain, yet even these are shown to be part of the Tao, the mys­te­ri­ous Way that is said to lead through heaven and earth and is open to all. Why did the an­cients prize Tao so much? Was it not be­cause It could be had by any who sought it, And that the guilty could find for­give­ness in it? That is why it is the trea­sure of the world. Daode­jing 62

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