Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching

4.2 17
by Lao Tzu, Stephen Addiss, Stephen Addiss, Laozi

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The Tao Te Ching has served as a personal road map for millions of people. It is said that its words reveal the underlying principles that govern the world in which we live. Holding to the laws of nature--drawing from the essence of what all things are--it offers both a moral compass and an internal balance. A fundamental book of the Taoist, the Tao Te

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The Tao Te Ching has served as a personal road map for millions of people. It is said that its words reveal the underlying principles that govern the world in which we live. Holding to the laws of nature--drawing from the essence of what all things are--it offers both a moral compass and an internal balance. A fundamental book of the Taoist, the Tao Te Ching is regarded as a revelation in its own right. For those seeking a better understanding of themselves, it provides a wealth of wisdom and insights.

Through time--from one powerful dynasty to another--many changes have been made to the original Chinese text of the Tao Te Ching. Over the last century, translators have added to the mix by incorporating their interpretations. While jackhammering its original text, some have created beautiful versions of the Tao Te Ching in the name of poetic license. Others have relied on variant forms of the original, while still others have added their own philosophical spins to the material. For those readers who are looking for a purer interpretation of the Tao Te Ching, researcher Patrick Michael Byrne has produced a translation that is extremely accurate, while capturing the pattern and harmony of the original. Here is a Tao Te Ching that you can enjoy, understand, and value.

Patrick Michael Byrne, PhD, received his undergraduate degree in Asian studies and philosophy from Dartmouth College, a certification from Beijing Teachers University, his master’s degree from Cambridge University, and his doctorate in philosophy from Stanford University. He has served as a visiting lecturer at both Dartmouth and the Beijing Normal University. Dr. Byrne is currently Chief Executive Officer of Overstock.com, a successful internet site. He travels extensively throughout the world.

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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

Shambhala Publications, Inc.
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5.24(w) x 8.03(h) x 0.66(d)

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.

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Tao Te Ching 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
AlbertWang More than 1 year ago
I am a Chinese. I like Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching or Tao Te Sutra very much. I searched and read many English translations, but I was always not very satisfied with their translations comparing the original Chinese meanings. After I read this book, I think it is the most faithful and satisfying English version. The translator understood Lao Tzu completely and never gave excess transcendental meanings. I am wondering who is translator of this book, why there is no introduction and the biography of the translator'? I really appreciate if who can tell me the translator with his biography.
everyoneandeveryone More than 1 year ago
This book is mostly cultural. not so modern to think of. but its content are amazing. for example: "...he who knows himself is wise..." this is in fact a relevant sentence. the book contains many more principles of life, and tend to give encouragement to these who feel weak because of the way people's moral are in today's world. very educational. its just like a book of proverbs. Fiknd your way in life, but don't forget to think of others.
Wyzyrd More than 1 year ago
As one reads multiple English translations of Tao Te Ching, it becomes apparent how extremely difficult it must be to capture the essence of such a profound and yet beautiful Chinese linguistic treasure. Star has done a superb job of preserving literal accuracy in his text, as evidenced, if one were to doubt, by the copious translational notes. However, he has done more that simply translate literally, and he has also avoided the oft-adopted imposition a poetic imperative to this work. Star seems to understand and preserve the simple directness of the philosophic message, without paring away important context and thematic imagery at the most critical junctures. Without being tedious, the translation is thorough and poignant, and without being artsy, it is intellectually rhythmic and resonant. Most notably, Star emphasizes the universally accessible wisdom of the Tao Te Ching while skillfully diffusing the mystic and esoteric entanglements that often seem to arise in other translations. In short, he makes Tao most comprehensible to the reader without losing its essential depth and clarity. I would highly recommend this translation to anyone from the curious casual reader to the advanced intent scholar.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a standard late 19th century translation by James Legge. The text is easy to read but the Artwork sets it apart. The reproductions are of good quality with the frequent guttering of images being the only complaint; this is the one thing that always flaws an otherwise excellent book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think a lot more people should read this book because it helps people see clearer. Young people should really read this not as a required book but as a book that can help them into their journey into adulthood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good spiritual poetry and pleasing photography
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this book, it really makes you think!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was thought provoking to look for insight. a book to be read over and over and i still find new thoughts. a good book to tease others into deeping their thought process.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very good translation. Although there are several minor mistakes, all the basic concepts of Taoism philosophy are correctly translated. If you are interested in Taoism, this book is recommended. The problem of this book is, for general public it is a little too academic.