Chuang Tzu was to Lao Tzu, the author of Tao Tê Ching, as Hui-neng, the sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, was to Bodhidharma, and in some respects St.Paul to Jesus; he expanded the original teaching into a system and was thus the founder of Tao-ism. Whereas Lao Tzu was a contemporary of Confucius in the sixth century B.C, Chuang Tzu lived over two hundred years later. He was one of the greatest minds produced by China; philosopher, metaphysician, moralist and poet. It is impossible to understand the spiritual depth of the Tao Tê Ching without the aid of Chuang Tzu.
• Unite mind, body, and spirit
• Establish a better way of living
• Reverse destructive habits
• Enjoy a long and healthy life
A contemporary look at a timeless practice that has influenced everything from Feng Shui to acupuncture, The Tao is the essential guide to achieving balance and serenity and experiencing personal transformation.
Zhuangzi elucidates this mystical philosophy through humor, parable, and anecdote, deploying non sequitur and even nonsense to illuminate a truth beyond the boundaries of ordinary logic. Boldly imaginative and inventively worded, the Zhuangzi floats free of its historical period and society, addressing the spiritual nourishment of all people across time. One of the most justly celebrated texts of the Chinese tradition, the Zhuangzi is read by thousands of English-language scholars each year, yet only in the Wade-Giles romanization. Burton Watson's pinyin romanization brings the text in line with how Chinese scholars, and an increasing number of other scholars, read it.
But this is an ancient text that yields a surprisingly modern effect. In bold and startling prose, David Hinton's translation captures the "zany texture and philosophical abandon" of the original. The Inner Chapters' fantastical passages — in which even birds and trees teach us what they know — offer up a wild menagerie of characters, freewheeling play with language, and surreal humor. And interwoven with Chuang Tzu's sharp instruction on the Tao are short-short stories that are often rough and ribald, rich with satire and paradox.
On their deepest level, the Inner Chapters are a meditation on the mysteries of knowledge itself. "Chuang Tzu's propositions," the translator's introduction reminds us, "seem to be in constant transformation, for he deploys words and concepts only to free us of words and concepts." Hinton's vital new translation makes this ancient text from the golden age of Chinese philosophy come alive for contemporary readers.
The Tao Tê Ching, along with the Zhuangzi, is a fundamental text for both philosophical and religious Taoism, and strongly influenced other schools, such as Legalism, Confucianism, and Chinese Buddhism. Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and even gardeners, have used the Tao Tê Ching as a source of inspiration. Its influence has also spread widely outside East Asia, and is among the most translated works in world literature.
There have been many translations of this little classic, some of them excellent. Most translators have treated it as an isolated document. Many have taken it as religious literature. A few have related it to ancient Chinese philosophy. But none has viewed it in the light of the entire history of Chinese thought. Furthermore, no translator has consulted extensively the many commentaries regarding the text, much less the thought. Finally, no translator has written a complete commentary from the perspective of the total history of Chinese philosophy. Besides, a comprehensive and critical account of the recent debates on Lao Tzu the man and Lao Tzu the book is long overdue. The present work is a humble attempt to fill these gaps.
This 1963 work is organized as follows:
I. The Philosophy of Tao
1. Historical Background and the Taoist Reaction
2. The Meaning of Tao
3. The Emphasis on Man and Virtue
4. Weakness and Simplicity
5. Unorthodox Techniques
6. Lao Tzu and Confucius Compared
7. Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu Compared
8. Influences on Neo-Taoism, Buddhism, and Neo-Confucianism
9. The Taoist Religion
10. Taoism in Chinese Life
II. Lao Tzu, the Man
1. Traditional Accounts
2. Lao Tzu’s Birthplace and Names
3. Lao Tzu’s Occupation
4. Confucius’ visit to Lao Tzu
5. Lao Lai Tzu and Lao P’eng
6. The Grand Historian
7. Summary and Conclusion
III. Lao Tzu, the Book
1. Reactions Against Tradition
2. Arguments About Contemporary References
3. Arguments About Style
4. Arguments About Terminology
5. Arguments About Ideas
7. Titles and Structure
The Lao Tzu (Tao-te ching)
Formulated in the ruins of a society that had been founded on untenable spiritualistic concepts of governance, Confucius' philosophy postulated a humanistic social order that has survived as China's social ideal ever since. Beginning with the realization that society is a structure of human relationships, Confucius saw that in a healthy society this structure must be a selfless weave of caring relationships. Those caring relationships are a system of "ritual" that people enact in their daily lives, thus infusing the secular with scared dimensions.
Highly regarded for the poetic fluency he brings to his award-winning work, David Hinton is the first twentieth-century translator to render the four central masterworks of ancient Chinese thought: Chuang Tzu, Mencius, The Analects, and Tao te Ching (forthcoming). HIs new versions are not only inviting and immensely readable, but they also apply a much-needed consistency to key terms in these texts, lending structural links and philosophical rigor heretofore unavailable in English. Breathing new life into these originary classics, Hinton's translations will stand as the definitive series for our era.