Our Top-10 lists aim to represent a particular topic through the selected outstanding books, balancing classic texts and latest titles, popular books and less known must-reads. Here’s a selection on Taoism from Watkins Books shelves, suggested by Mike, member of Watkins staff:
Tao Te Ching, translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo
Deftly introduced and enriched by the remarkable ink paintings of Stephen Addiss, this new translation of Tao Te Ching captures the terse and enigmatic beauty of the ancient original while resisting the tendency toward interpretive paraphrase found in many other editions. Along with the translation of the complete work, Lombardo and Addiss provide the reader with a measure of interaction with the Chinese text found in no other edition, by furnishing one or more key lines from the original Chinese for each of the eighty-one sections, together with a transliteration of the Chinese characters. The appearance and sounds of the Chinese character displayed, enhance the reader’s appreciation of how the Chinese text works and feels and the many different ways it can be translated into English.
Eva Wong, Taoism: An Essential Guide
For the first time, the great depth and diversity of Taoist spirituality is introduced in a single, accessible manual.
Taoism, known widely today through the teachings of the classic Tao Te Ching and the practices of t’ai chi and feng-shui, is less known for its unique traditions of meditation, physical training, magical practice, and internal alchemy. Covering all of the most important texts, figures, and events, this essential guide illuminates Taoism’s extraordinarily rich history and remarkable variety of practice. A comprehensive bibliography for further study completes this valuable reference work.
Translated by Thomas Cleary, Secret of the Golden Flower
This ancient Chinese manual of spiritual alchemy was brought to the West in translation by missionary and theologian Richard Wilhelm. According to Carl Jung, he had reached an impasse in his work on the psychology of the unconscious when Wilhelm introduced him to “The Secret of the Golden Flower”. This proved to be a monumental event in Jung’s career and he credits this text with having provided him with a key to the resolution of this impasse. In view of the influence of Jung’s work in the subsequent development of psychology, religious studies and New Age culture in general, the importance of this work in the introduction of traditional oriental psychology into modern Western mental culture has been great indeed. Written over 200 years ago as a revival of an ancient teaching, the work is a popular guide to Buddhist and Taoist techniques, for clarifying the mind and awakening its latent potential.
Chen Kaiguo, Opening the Dragon Gate
This authorized biography of the contemporary Taoist expert Wang Liping (1949 -) tells the true story of his apprenticeship in Taoist wizardry, as well as Taoist principles and secrets of inner transformation. The 18th-generation transmitter of Dragon Gate Taoism, Wang Liping is heir to a tradition of esoteric knowledge and practice accumulated and refined over eleven centuries.
Alan Watts, Tao: The Watercourse Way
The ancient and timeless Chinese wisdom is medicine for the ills of the West but it cannot be taken as medicine but intellectually swallowed to joyously infuse our being, transforming our individual lives and through them our society. Drawing on ancient and modern sources, Watts treats the Chinese philosophy of Tao in much the same way as he did Zen Buddhism in his classic The Way of Zen.
Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings , translated by Burton Watson
The basic writings of Chuang Tzu have been savored by Chinese readers for over two thousand years. And Burton Watson’s lucid and beautiful translation has been loved by generations of readers.
Deng Ming-Dao, Everyday Tao
The Taoist spirit comes to life, made vibrant and contemporary through the Chinese ideograms whose images and stories speak of living in harmony with the Tao. Everyday Tao revives an ancient approach to meditation and reflection by using these stories as sources of insight for spiritual growth.
Chung-Yuan Chang, Creativity and Taoism
Thomas Cleary, Vitality, Energy, Spirit
The “three treasures” of human life—vitality, energy, and spirit—are envisioned in Taoist thought as the source of creativity, capability, and intelligence. This comprehensive anthology traces the teachings on these three treasures through the long history of Taoism, highlighting the quintessential works on their practical application for mental and physical well-being. Along with brief selections from the classic sources of Taoism by Lao Tzu and Chang-tzu, the book presents a rich selection of tales and sayings from Taoist literature, as well as a broad range of writings from the Complete Reality school, including essays and commentary from such figures as Lü Yen, Chang Po-tuan, and Liu I-ming.
Thomas Cleary, Awakening of the Tao
The Tao is the ancient Chinese “Way” that has inspired numerous books, from The Tao of Physics to The Tao of Sex . This book might be called “The Tao of Tao.” In 142 brief meditative essays, the author uses simple language and natural imagery to express the essence of the wisdom that holds the key to success in every human endeavor.