Victor H. Mair is a translator of Chinese texts including Lao Tzu's
Tao Te Ching- The Classic Book of Integrity and the Way. He is also
the editor of the Cambria Sinophone World series and the co-author
of The True History of Tea. Mair is Professor of Chinese Language
and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been
teaching since 1979.
The way of life defined in the Tao Te Ching was developed by ancient sages who lived in China some two thousand years ago. Lao Tzu, known as the Old One, was one such sage who practiced "the way," although there were almost certainly other religious thinkers who contributed further ideas and wisdom to it.
It is not often that books of merit in the field of spiritual writing also appeal to the eye and the hand. This version of the well-known Tao Te Ching is indubitably a coffee-table book, but it is as gratifying to the intellect as to the sense of aesthetics. In the principal section of the book, each verse chapter, in Chinese and in Dale's translation, is accompanied by a beautifully subtle black-and-white photograph. At the rear of the book, Dale, a longtime scholar of acupuncture and other fields, repeats each verse chapter and adds his own commentary. There is something unintentionally comic about Dale's Western, reasoned, and multisyllabic commentaries on Lao Tzu's studied simplicity, apparent even in translation; still, most readers will find Dale's insights helpful. For libraries with significant holdings in Taoism. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Dale, a teacher of alternative medicine and author of Acupuncture with Your Fingers, offers a new translation of the ancient Chinese text credited by legend to the sixth-century sage Lao Tzu. Relying on several earlier translations from Chinese, Dale lovingly renders the 81 sections into verse rather than prose. Accompanied by Cleare's evocative black-and-white nature photographs, each poem is titled and stands alone. Included are Dale's informed commentaries for each verse that present the meaning of Lao Tzu's words for life today. For example Verse 30, "Defense and Aggression," is interpreted as permitting defense against violence, but never taking revenge or attempting to conquer others through the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. One meaning of Verse 49, "Wisdom," is that each human, no matter how compromised and corrupted, has an innate humanity in his or her core. Dale uses the last verse, "The Paradoxes of Life," to summarize the meanings in the first 80. He contends that despite the evil uses that technology has been put to, such as the development of weapons of mass destruction, it is possible to transform this technological knowledge into a mutually dependent system of economy and communications that may be used to meet the needs of people worldwide. This transformation is a way for the modern world to live within Lao Tzu's Great Integrity, a life of harmony with one another. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.