The most widely translated book in world literature after the Bible,
Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, is the classic manual on
the art of living. Following the phenomenal success of his own version
of the Tao Te Ching, renowned scholar and translator Stephen
Mitchell has composed the innovative The Second Book of the Tao. Drawn from the work of Lao-tzu’s disciple Chuang-tzu and Confucius’s grandson Tzussu, The Second Book of the Tao
offers Western readers a path into reality that has nothing to do with
Taoism or Buddhism or old or new alone, but everything to do with
truth. Mitchell has selected the freshest, clearest teachings from these
two great students of the Tao and adapted them into versions that
reveal the poetry, depth, and humor of the original texts with a
thrilling new power. Alongside each adaptation, Mitchell includes his
own commentary, at once explicating and complementing the text.
This book is a twenty-first-century form of ancient wisdom, bringing a
new, homemade sequel to the Tao Te Ching into the modern world.
Mitchell’s renditions are radiantly lucid; they dig out the vision
that’s hiding beneath the words; they grab the text by the scruff of the
neck—by its heart, really—and let its essential meanings fall out.
The book introduces us to a cast of vivid characters, most of them
humble artisans or servants, who show us what it means to be in
harmony with the way things are. Its wisdom provides a psychological
and moral acuity as deep as the Tao Te Ching itself.
The Second Book of the Tao
is a gift to contemporary readers, granting us access to our own
fundamental wisdom. Mitchell’s meditations and risky reimagining of
the original texts are brilliant and liberating, not least because they
keep catching us off-guard, opening up the heavens where before we saw
a roof. He makes the ancient teachings at once modern, relevant, and
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