Living in harmony with the Tao, or “way,” is the central concern of this ancient Chinese philosophical system that has great appeal for people today. Our books on Taoism include the great classic texts, including numerous translations of the Tao Te Ching, along with works by modern masters.
David Hinton, author of Hunger Mountain: A Field Guide to Mind and Landscape
Come along with David Hinton on a series of walks through the wild beauty of Hunger Mountain, near his home in Vermont—excursions informed by the worldview he’s imbibed from his many years translating the classics of Chinese poetry and philosophy.
"A gorgeous book, a book of power, the very opposite of mystical. If you have a special mountain in your life, you'll read it with understanding; if you don't, it will make you want to get one!"—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
Legend has it that around the sixth century BCE, a wise and venerable philosopher found himself so distraught over the chaos and social upheaval of his time that he decided to flee across the western border of China. But before he could pass beyond the western gates, he was approached by a guard who had heard of his reputation as a person of great wisdom. The guard asked the philosopher to leave some record of his wisdom before passing beyond. And the philosopher retreated for a short time before returning with a simple yet amazingly profound book of his writing, which was passed on to later generations as the Tao Te Ching (or more phonetically in pinyin, Dao De Jing)—the book of the Way and its virtue. And then he journeyed forth across the Tibetan plateau, never to be seen in China again. This philosopher would eventually become known as Lao Tzu, “the Old Master,” and his little book would go on to become not only the foundational text for the Taoist tradition but one of the most widely studied and influential works of philosophy and spirituality to ever grace the cultures of our world.
We offer this as a guide to the many translations available from Shambhala Publications.
Laozi said the following: The valley spirit that does not die is the Mysterious Female. The gate of the Mysterious Female is the root of the sky and the earth.
Heshang Gong (202–157 b.c.e.), known as the Sage of the River, added the following: Valley means protection. If we are able to protect the spirit, we will live long and never die. The spirit guards the five viscera. Within the liver is the luminous spirit; within the lungs is the soul; within the kidneys is the generative essence; within the heart is the essence of intelligence; within the spleen is the spirit of feelings and intention. If any of these organs is injured, the guardian of that viscus will leave. As a result, life energy will be harmed, and health will deteriorate.