Sunday, December 7, 2014
I have become so fascinated by Tao wisdom that I have just published my third book based on Tao wisdom. First of all, Tao wisdom is the wisdom of Lao Tzu, an ancient sage from China, who was the author of the immortal Chinese classic “Tao Te Ching” on human wisdom.
I remember I had to memorize a short excerpt from “Tao Te Ching” when I was about eight or nine years old. Back in those days—when I was in Hong Kong before I came to the United States—students had to learn by memory some classical Chinese; it was difficult for most students because they were clueless about the meanings of the texts they had to memorize. Any excerpt from “Tao Te Ching” is especially difficult to memorize, not to mention understanding.
But it is the difficulty in understanding “Tao Te Ching” that has made this immortal Chinese classic become one of the most translated works in world literature, ranking with the Bible among of the top ten.
Let me explain why it is difficult to understand, and why it is the difficulty that has fascinated readers worldwide. The difficulty was "deliberate" on the part of Lao Tzu. First of all, he believed that “words” do not represent the “truths” or the “realities” in life because words simply “point” to the truths or realities, which are absolute and they had existed long before there were words. Another reason was that Lao Tzu was “forced” to put down his wisdom in words before he was allowed to leave China for Tibet. According to the legend, he was stopped at the city gate and was told that he would be allowed to leave the country only after he had put down his wisdom in words. Reluctantly and deliberately he put down his wisdom in exactly 5,000 words without any punctuation mark. Quite different from English, every Chinese word may have multiple meanings. As a result, what Lao Tzu put down in words could be interpreted in many different ways, especially without any punctuation mark to clarity the meaning. The text is therefore abstract and controversial, and this is the reason why it has fascinated many scholars worldwide.
Here is one of the many English translations of the First Chapter of the original text:
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
As nameless, it is the origin of all things;
As named, it is the mother of 10,000 things
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery of all things.
Ever desiring, one sees only their manifestations.
And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding.
(Chapter One, Tao Te Ching)
道 可 道 ， 非 常 道 。 名 可 名 ， 非 常 名 。
無 名 天 地 之 始 ﹔ 有 名 萬 物 之 母 。
故 常 無 ， 欲 以 觀 其 妙 ﹔ 常 有 ， 欲 以 觀 其 徼 。
此 兩 者 ， 同 出 而 異 名 ， 同 謂 之 玄 。
玄 之 又 玄 ， 眾 妙 之 門 。
(original Chinese text; the punctuation marks were subsequently added by scholars)
Here is my explanation and interpretation of the original text:
Tao (or the Way) is the pathway to wisdom, which is self-intuition through self-awakening. Once it is expressed in words, it is no longer the pathway. Anything with a name immediately assumes an identity and thus becomes pre-conditioning and self-limiting—obstacles to freedom in thinking, which is the source of human wisdom.
The book I have just published is entitled Be A Better and Happier You With Tao Wisdom. This 132-page book is based on the profound human wisdom expressed in “Tao Te Ching.” My book contains the translation in simple English of the complete text of “Tao Te Ching.” To illustrate, the language is simple and easy to understand, but the wisdom expressed may be difficult:
“Like water, soft and yielding,
Yet it overcomes the hard and the rigid
Stiffness and stubbornness cause much suffering.
We all intuitively know
that flexibility and tenderness
are the way to go.
Yet our conditioned minds
tell us to go the other way.”
(Chapter 78, Tao Te Ching)
My book shows you how to attain true human wisdom through asking self-intuitive questions, creating an empty mindset with reverse thinking to let go of the ego-self to become a better and happier you.
The wisdom of Tao begins with the power of intent in the mind to know and to learn more about the true “self”—after all, wisdom is about self, and about how it reacts with everyone and everything around. In the quest of wisdom, the revelation of having no ego-self is the turning point, where you may begin to embark on a different life journey with a different mission. Your “conditioned” mind thus begins the journey of “reverse thinking” which will ultimately change your life, making you a better and happier you.
Tao wisdom enables you to see the wisdom in the oneness of all life—that everything exists because of its “opposite” and that everything will ultimately become its opposite, just as youth becoming old age, and life becoming death. Spontaneity, which is following the natural laws of nature, holds the key to attaining true human wisdom to live your life as if everything is a miracle.
Part One of my book explains the prerequisites of human wisdom. Without true human wisdom, it is almost impossible to perceive the innate human goodness in self, as well as in others. Human goodness leads to the attributes of genuine human happiness.
Part Two is the complete translation of the 81 short chapters of Lao Tzu's "Tao Te Ching" in simple English for readers to understand the complex and controversial wisdom of “Tao Te Ching.”
Part Three highlights the essentials of Tao wisdom, and shows how it can be applied to contemporary living so that you may live as if everything is a miracle to be a better and happier you.
To be a better and happier you is both easy and difficult: Tao wisdom is easy to understand with an empty mind, but difficult to assimilate its depth and profoundness
My two other books on Tao wisdom are:
Copyright© by Stephen Lau