Tao = way/path/route Te = virtue/morality/strength Ch’ing = text/writings/book
The Tao Te Ch’ing or Daodejing is believed to have been compiled or composed by the cleric-sage Lao Tse over 2600 years ago. Although scholars continue to debate translations of the text from the traditional classical Chinese in which the Tao Te Ch’ing was written, and even the very existence of its author, few can disclaim its powerful legacy. In 81 short chapters the Tao Te Ch’ing distills the essence of all nature — stillness, balance, mystery — and reminds us to return to our own true nature. It will take an hour to read and perhaps a lifetime to put into practice.
My first encounter with Taoist thought occured in the Hundred Acre Wood. Benjamin Hoff’s now-classic “The Tao of Pooh” gently introduces the reader to the fundamentals of Taoism in the person (or Bear) of Winnie-the-Pooh. I must confess that I was drawn to the book 15 years ago more for the Bear than the underlying philosophy. While reading, I remember thinking, “This is a great philosophy, I wonder how those Taoists do it.” It was a nice break from studying for law exams, but it had nothing to do with my life. I kept the book, carrying it with me through six trans-oceanic moves until last year when I began to read about Taoism in earnest and found this tiny tome still on my library shelves.