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Walking the Way: 81 Zen Encounters with the Tao Te Ching

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Overview

Walking the Way affirms that, like yin and yang, the flowing spontaneity of Tao and the precise simplicity of Zen find perfect balance with one another. Robert Meikyo Rosenbaum brings the two traditions together in a unique presentation that elicits Zen insights from his fresh interpretation of verses from the Taoist classic, the Tao Te Ching. Personal anecdotes illustrate the dynamic potential of Rosenbaum's approach, skillfully revealing Zen within the Tao and the Tao of Zen. Not only does the author reveal the...

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Walking the Way: 81 Zen Encounters with the Tao Te Ching

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Overview

Walking the Way affirms that, like yin and yang, the flowing spontaneity of Tao and the precise simplicity of Zen find perfect balance with one another. Robert Meikyo Rosenbaum brings the two traditions together in a unique presentation that elicits Zen insights from his fresh interpretation of verses from the Taoist classic, the Tao Te Ching. Personal anecdotes illustrate the dynamic potential of Rosenbaum's approach, skillfully revealing Zen within the Tao and the Tao of Zen. Not only does the author reveal the elegance of each tradition, he shows how their interrelatedness does, in fact, have import on our meditative practices and on our day-to-day lives. Parenting, meditating, dealing with setbacks and illnesses—Walking the Way shows us how to live well in the midst of many complex demands, finding harmony and equilibrium between honing in and letting go, balance between being ourselves and selflessly serving others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Drawing on his experience as a Zen practitioner and qigong teacher, psychologist Rosenbaum reflects on the Tao Te Ching, written in the sixth century B.C.E. This founding text of Taoism, the author writes, “is not a ‘how to’ manual; it is an invitation for us to practice finding our Way.” The “original self” is a key theme as Rosenbaum explores each of the 81 verses, which he compiled from multiple translations; each section is followed by a brief, candid anecdote. Topics include silence, emptiness, effort, and empathy. Rosenbaum’s concept is ambitious; however, acute observations are mixed with rambling, clichéd, or dubious generalizations (“When you have no unfinished business, dying is not so big a deal”). Terms are sometimes used too vaguely, and the author addresses a “we” with pronouncements that not all readers may consider applicable (“We fear if we don’t have enough money, fame, and power, we’ll be vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life”). More “fragments of Zen” amid ruminations than “Zen encounters,” the book makes explicit at its conclusion the author’s attraction to the “effortless effort” of Taoism’s Way to balance the “striving” that can sometimes emerge in the practice of Buddhism. (May)
From the Publisher

"Deftly written essays, snapshot vignettes of daily life lived with emotion and depth, and a poetic version of the Tao Te Ching backed by a lifetime of spiritual practice—these are the elements of a text that will inspire and awaken you like the sound of water or the calm voice of a friend. This book is to be savored." —Norman Fischer, author of Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up

“Robert Rosenbaum manages to restore some of the bite to the Tao Te Ching. His humor, wisdom, personal struggles, and genuine aspirations combine to make it new and make it speak to us with live words.” —Barry Magid, author of Ordinary Mind

Walking the Way is deeply thoughtful and eminently practical.” —Elana Rosenbaum, author of Here for Now

“In a world already brim-full of translations of the Tao Te Ching, one would think that there isn't room for one more. Walking the Way, however, should immediately put such reservations at rest. To read these lovely and tender versions of this breathtaking text is in itself a process of questioning the 'givens' of one's life. Combined with the profound and provocative Zen-based commentary of Robert Rosenbaum, they fold seamlessly into a book that is indispensable to any true seeker's roadmap for the path.”—Chris Faatz, Powell's Books

“This charming book is an oasis of truth, compassion, laughter, and beauty. Welcome!”—Michael F. Hoyt, author of Brief Psychotherapies

“A book full of wisdom—a gentle breeze, pointing you in new directions.”—Arthur C. Bohart, author of How Clients Make Therapy Work

“A warm, thoughtful companion for life’s journey.”—Peter Levitt, poet and author of Fingerpainting on the Moon

“Fresh and poetic. A wonderful book that brings the Tao Te Ching up close. In sharing his open-hearted love of these verses, Rosenbaum gives them to us anew, as if Lao Tzu were speaking directly to us through him.”—Susan Moon, author of This Is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity

“A pearl of wisdom, filled with deep insights to the most fundamental issues we all encounter in our lives. You will find the truth in every paragraph, in every page of this book.”—Moshe Talmon, author of Single Session Therapy

Norman Fischer
"Deftly written essays, snapshot vignettes of daily life lived with emotion and depth, and a poetic version of the Tao Te Ching backed by a lifetime of spiritual practice—these are the elements of a text that will inspire and awaken you like the sound of water or the calm voice of a friend. This book is to be savored."
Barry Magid
"Robert Rosenbaum manages to restore some of the bite to the Tao Te Ching. His humor, wisdom, personal struggles, and genuine aspirations combine to make it new and make it speak to us with live words."
Elana Rosenbaum
"Walking the Way is deeply thoughtful and eminently practical."
Chris Faatz
"In a world already brim-full of translations of the Tao Te Ching, one would think that there isn't room for one more. Walking the Way, however, should immediately put such reservations at rest. To read these lovely and tender versions of this breathtaking text is in itself a process of questioning the 'givens' of one's life. Combined with the profound and provocative Zen-based commentary of Robert Rosenbaum, they fold seamlessly into a book that is indispensable to any true seeker's roadmap for the path."
Michael F. Hoyt
"This charming book is an oasis of truth, compassion, laughter, and beauty. Welcome!"
Arthur C. Bohart
"A book full of wisdom—a gentle breeze, pointing you in new directions."
Peter Levitt
"A warm, thoughtful companion for life's journey."
Susan Moon
"Fresh and poetic. A wonderful book that brings the Tao Te Ching up close. In sharing his open-hearted love of these verses, Rosenbaum gives them to us anew, as if Lao Tzu were speaking directly to us through him."
Moshe Talmon
"A pearl of wisdom, filled with deep insights to the most fundamental issues we all encounter in our lives. You will find the truth in every paragraph, in every page of this book."
Library Journal
There have been literally dozens of English translations and commentaries on the Tao Te Ching (The Book of the Virtuous Way), and many more in other languages. It's the basic text, after all, of the Taoist philosophy of life. But it also exerted a powerful influence on the development of Chinese Buddhism, particularly on the evolution of Chan (Zen) monasticism. This book sheds light on how Zen practitioners make use of this ancient classic. Rosenbaum (psychotherapist, Kaiser Permanente Medical Ctr.; Zen and the Heart of Psychotherapy) practices both Zen and qigong (a Chinese martial art and physical discipline), and uses his experience of both to help us appreciate the ancient text. The Tao Te Ching, written by Laotse, consists of 81 chapters—each a short poem on some aspect of the practice of virtue. Rosenbaum's translations of the poems are idiomatic and effective English free verse. His commentaries nicely clarify the meaning of each stanza. The added personal anecdotes illustrate how the verses apply in ordinary life. VERDICT Well worth reading, both by practitioners and those new to study of the Tao Te Ching, this book merits repeated study.—James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781614290254
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
  • Publication date: 5/21/2013
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 962,626
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Meikyo Rosenbaum, PhD, has been a Zen practitioner for forty years and received lay entrustment from Sojun Mel Weitsman of Berkeley Zen Center. Bob is also authorized as a senior teacher of the Taoist practice of Dayan (Wild Goose) qigong in the lineage of Yang Meijun by Master Hui Liu and teaches at the Wen Wu School and the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. For thirty years he practiced Zen and qigong while raising a family, trekking the mountains of the High Sierras and the Great Himalaya Trail, and working as a neuropsychologist, psychotherapist, and specialist in behavioral medicine and chronic pain for Kaiser Permanente. Bob is the author of Zen and the Heart of Psychotherapy. He has also been a Fulbright Professor at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India and director of the doctoral training program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Sojun Mel Weitsman is a Zen teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki and a former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center. He lives in San Francisco.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Walking the Way Just when it seemed as though no new translatio

    Walking the Way

    Just when it seemed as though no new translations of the Tao Te Ching would be necessary, Robert Rosenbaum provides a fresh perspective on these ancient poems. Walking the Way includes Rosenbaum’s translations, each accompanied by his reflections and anecdotal connections which showcase the existence of the poetry’s truths in everyday life. This juxtaposition captures the sublime balance between Zen Buddhism and Taoism, making this book a delightful and insightful read. Part of the beauty of the Tao Te Ching’s is its fluidity between translations and interpretations. Although countless academic and personal commentaries on the Tao Te Ching exist, Rosenbaum, writing as one who lives the Tao and has studied how others have interpreted it, has managed to create a valuable addition to these previous versions—certainly no easy task. If you enjoy this book, you will surely also like John Stevens's Extraordinary Zen Masters.

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