Written during the golden age of Chinese philosophy, and composed partly in prose and partly in verse, the Tao Te Ching is surely the most terse and economical of the world’s great religious texts. In a series of short, profound chapters it elucidates the idea of the Tao, or the Way–an idea that in its ethical, practical, and spiritual dimensions has become essential to the life of China’s enormously powerful civilization. In the process of this elucidation, Lao-tzu both clarifies and deepens those central religious mysteries around which our life on earth revolves.
Translation of the Ma Wang Tui Manuscripts by D. C. Lau
“The power of the Lao-tzu’s imagery and, ultimately, the simplicity of its message seem to be able to overcome the problems of language and of distance in time and place, so that at the end of the twentieth century, this has become one of the most influential of texts, cherished by people in all walks of life throughout the world.” –from the Introduction by Sarah Allan