Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching

4.0 73
by Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell

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The Wisest Book Ever Written...
Complete on Audio...The Entire 81 Chapters (and Introduction to) Stephen Mitchell's exquisite new tradition of Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way — the xalssic manual on the art of living revered as one of the wonders of the world.

Dating from the 6th century B.C., the Tao Te Ching look at the basic


The Wisest Book Ever Written...
Complete on Audio...The Entire 81 Chapters (and Introduction to) Stephen Mitchell's exquisite new tradition of Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way — the xalssic manual on the art of living revered as one of the wonders of the world.

Dating from the 6th century B.C., the Tao Te Ching look at the basic predicament of being alive, giving advice that imparts balance and perspective — serene and generous spirit.

The Tao is about wisdom in action. It teaches how to work for the good with the effortless skill that comes from being in accord with the Tao (the basic principle of the universe) and applies equally to good government and sexual love, to childbearing, business and ecology.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It would be hard to find a fresh approach to a text that ranks only behind the Bible as the most widely translated book in the world, but Star achieves that goal. . . . As fascinating to the casual scholar as it is for the serious student." -NAPRA ReView "Jonathan Star's Tao Te Ching achieves the essential: It clarifies the meaning of the text without in the slightest reducing its mystery." -Jacob Needleman

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, 2 Cassettes
Product dimensions:
4.56(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.81(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Tao Te Ching

The Way of Virtue
By Lao Tzu

Square One Publishers

Copyright © 2003 Lao Tzu
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0757000290

Chapter One


A way that can be walked
is not The Way
A name that can be named
is not The Name

Tao is both Named and Nameless
As Nameless, it is the origin of all things
As Named, it is the mother of all things
A mind free of thought,
merged within itself,
beholds the essence of Tao

A mind filled with thought,
identified with its own perceptions,
beholds the mere forms of this world

Tao and this world seem different
but in truth they are one and the same
The only difference is in what we call them

How deep and mysterious this unity is
How profound, how great!
It is the truth beyond the truth,
the hidden within the hidden
It is the path to all wonder,
the gate to the essence of everything!


Everyone recognizes beauty
only because of ugliness
Everyone recognizes virtue
only because of sin

Life and death are born together
Difficult and easy
Long and short
High and low--
all these exist together
Sound and silence blend together
Before and after

* * *

The Sage acts without action
and teaches without talking
All things flourish around him
and he does not refuse any one of them
He gives but not to receive
He works but not for reward
He completes but not for results
He does nothing for himself in this passing world
so nothing he does ever passes


Putting a value on status
will cause people to compete
Hoarding treasure
will turn them into thieves
Showing off possessions
will disturb their daily lives

Thus the Sage rules
by stilling minds and opening hearts
by filling bellies and strengthening bones
He shows people how to be simple
and live without desires
To be content
and not look for other ways
With the people so pure
Who could trick them?
What clever ideas could lead them astray?

When action is pure and selfless
everything settles into its own perfect place


Tao is empty
yet it fills every vessel with endless supply
Tao is hidden
yet it shines in every corner of the universe

With it, the sharp edges become smooth
the twisted knots loosen
the sun is softened by a cloud
the dust settles into place

So deep, so pure, so still
It has been this way forever
You may ask, "Whose child is it?"--
but I cannot say
This child was here before the Great Ancestor


Heaven and Earth have no preference

A man may choose one over another
but to Heaven and Earth all are the same
The high, the low, the great, the small--
all are given light
all get a place to rest

The Sage is like Heaven and Earth
To him none are especially dear
nor is there anyone he disfavors
He gives and gives without condition
offering his treasure to everyone

* * *

The universe is like a bellows
It stays empty yet is never exhausted
It gives out yet always brings forth more

Man is not like this
When he blows out air like a bellows
he becomes exhausted
Man was not made to blow out air
He was made to sit quietly and find the truth within


Excerpted from Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Copyright © 2003 by Lao Tzu. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Stephen Mitchell's many books include the bestselling Tao Te Ching, Gilgamesh, and The Second Book of the Tao, as well as The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, The Gospel According to Jesus, Bhagavad Gita, The Book of Job, and Meetings with the Archangel.

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Tao Te Ching 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
PorscheWarrior More than 1 year ago
Translation is great, love the use of both 'he' and 'she' throughout. As the author points out, the original Chinese is gender-neutral - so the use of both he and she makes it appealing to myself as a woman because I find the use of 'he' all the time in other texts to be annoying. It is nice that this translation uses both. Thought-provoking yet relaxing. Easy read, but to really grasp it, it should be read slowly or read through multiple times. Very refreshing read that I keep near me always now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read many versions and translations of The Tao Te Ching. This one flows like the water of a stream. It is the true embodiement of the Tao. I highly recommend this and most other of Stephen Mitchell's books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As other reviewers have already pointed out, this book is not really a translation at all. It's basically a mish-mash of some of the original material and the author's own politically correct new age philosophy. For instance, Mitchell always uses the female pronoun in refering to sages, but that is incorrect. The original Chinese is gender-neutral. There are also many omissions in this translation. Some of the best passages from the original Tao Te Ching are nowhere to be found in this book. The reason this book has become so popular is that, well, people are fairly gullible. Most do not know Chinese -- I on the other hand am a native speaker despite being Caucasian -- so they trust the opinion of academics and scholars. Unfortunately, in this case these learned folks have really dropped the ball. They don't have to be critical, but at least they should refrain from calling this book authentic or authoritative. The truth is that it is neither. Barnes & Noble has many other translations available. I advise people to look at the other choices.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is nothing like the true Tao Te Ching. In fact, it shouldn't even be called by that name. It is loosely based on the original, but is full of Mitchell's own New Age ideas. If you want true literal translations that also have commentaries, Ellen M. Chen, Derek Lin, and Rodney A. Cooper are excellent choices. Mitchell's version is completely different than the original. Its a real shame that it has gained such popularity.
CWood More than 1 year ago
A great book. Insightful, intellectual, and impossible to put down. A spiritual must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not a translation of the Dao De Jing. This is an interpretation. Stephen Mitchell puts his personal spin on many passages and teachers of Asian Religion an Philosophy warn against his writing on this subject. When compared to the original text there is much that differs. This is a version that incorporates more new age western thinking than classic Daoist thought. If you're looking for comforting ideas this is the text for you, but if you're looking for Doaist text try the translation by Red Pine
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the book you need to condense the teachings of many other holy books into one. And you can carry it with you and keep it close to you for daily inspiration.
lunged More than 1 year ago
If you are only going to read one version, this should be it. A very easy to read translation. Ideally, you should read this along with a more traditional translation - you'll get the most out of the text that way. When you read more than one translation, you really start to form your own unique conclusions, and that is the most important part.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Clearly the best translation. Captures the meaning, humor and depth of Tao.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If I could only have 3 books - this would be top on my list
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite translation of the Tao Te Ching. It is easy to read and a joy to learn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I pick this book up I can't put it down. It was to me recommended by a friend. The author explains the text well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is a feel good, slap your forehead and go "duh, of course" listen....seriously, very calming and something I've been listening to daily and thoroughly enjoying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been given other versions of the Tao de Ching to read, but none have shone the quality and the essence of the original author as I believe this one by Stephen Mitchell does. It's one of those books you read very slowly, again and again, and let the beauty of it sink in to your being. It's truth has given me a peace like nothing else-- a sidewards glance and acceptance of the paradox of life. My version is a hard copy with a ribbon page saver, which I relish! Thank you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
On comparing the original and translation, this translation of the Chinese classic is quite unsatisfactory. The translator presents the basic ideas of Taoism, but deviates from the original Tao Te Ching. I am quite disappointed about the translator's work. Many important points found in the original work were cut in the translation. It is my advice for other purchasers not to buy this translation; it would be a waste.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a fun and happy presentation of the Tao Te Ching with good translations. I would definately recommend it as both a piece of literature and art. It's the kind of book that sparks conversation on a coffee table. Peace.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Changed my life
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im in a race for fnaf rp!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All books and life in the world summed up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&love &#love
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