This version of the Tao Te Ching presents the classic in a unique light, through the eyes of a renowned master of the Rinzai Zen tradition. Takuan Soho, who lived from 1573 to 1645, was an acerbic, witty, free spirit who; a painter, poet, author, calligrapher, gardener, and a tea master. He was also a confidante and teacher to shoguns and many other powerful and famous figures, among them the the famed swordsman Yagyu Munenori, and (according to legend) Miyamoto Musashi.
True to the teachings of the Tao Te Ching itself, as well as to the tradition of Zen, Takuan draws from everyday experience and common sense, to reveal the basic sanity of nature and the inherent wholeness of life. Takuan reveals how the Tao Te Ching applies to a wide range of concerns, including health, personal relationships, and individual lifestyle. He interprets the text through a philosophical and psychological lens, and also elucidates its radical social and political concepts.
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.