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Way Of Chuang Tzu, The

Product no.: 978-0811218511
Chuang Tzu is considered, along with Lao Tzu, to be one of the great figures of early Taoist thought.

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Publisher's Synopsis
He used parables and anecdotes, allegory and paradox, to illustrate that real happiness and freedom are found only in understanding the Tao or Way of nature, and dwelling in its unity. The respected Trappist monk Thomas Merton spent several years reading and reflecting upon four different translations of the Chinese classic that bears Chuang Tzu's name.

The result is this collection of poetic renderings of the great sage's work that conveys its spirit in a way maybe other translations don't, and this book was Merton's personal favourite. Both prose and verse are included here, as well as a short section from Merton discussing the most salient themes of Chuang Tzu's teachings.

"A most admirable introduction to this less known but important source book of Taoism."     ~Alan Watts, New York Times Book Review

"Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk, did not translate these tales, he transplanted them into his consciousness. Reading four major translations then relying on help from Dr. John Wu, Merton created a sort of impressionistic poetry and somehow caught much of Chuang Tzu’s lively joy and engaging humor. He does us one great service, that of honestly proclaiming…

'This book is not intended to prove anything or to convince anyone of anything that he does not want to hear about in the first place. In other words, it is not a new apologetic subtlety (or indeed a work of Jesuitical sleight of hand) in which Christian rabbits will suddenly appear by magic out of a Taoist hat.'

Because of Merton’s honesty in presenting his subject, we are allowed to sit in the shade with the sage himself, Chuang Tzu—the first Taoist figure we can confirm historically to have lived through a time of classic Chinese thought: 550 to 250 B.C. This bore an era, paralleling the west, of philosophical contention among Confucians, Moists, Hui Tzu’s logic and the pain/pleasure principles of the Legalists."     ~Plum Publications

"The mind remains undetermined in the great Void.
Here the highest knowledge is unbounded.
That which gives things their thusness cannot be delimited by things.
So when we speak of 'limits', we remain confined to limited things.
The limit of the unlimited is called 'fullness'.
The limitlessness of the limited is called 'emptiness'.
Tao is the source of both.
But it is itself neither fullness nor emptiness."

~Verse 22.6

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) entered the Cistercian Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, following his conversion to Catholicism and was ordained Father M. Louis in 1949. During the 1960s, he was increasingly drawn into a dialogue between Eastern and Western religions and domestic issues of war and racism. In 1968, the Dalai Lama praised Merton for having a more profound knowledge of Buddhism than any other Christian he had known.

Author Tzu, Chuang
Translator Merton, Thomas
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 160 pp.
Publisher New Directions 2010
Gold Medal

Gold Medal


  Gold Medal Essential Reading

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