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Bob H

Please help me "round out" my library

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Since I am not able to find a teacher at this time, I'd like to fill in the chinks in my library. I'm interested in works by the old masters rather than modern books, as I'm trying to get a grip on Taoism 101 as a basis for further study and practice.


I have now:


Lao-tzu's Tao Te Jing (D.C. Lao)

Lao-tzu's Tao Te Jing (Victor Mair)

Lao-tzu's Tao Te Jing (Red Pine) my favorite of the three


Zhuang-zhi Vols 1 & 2 (Wang Rongpei)

Lieh-tzu (A.C. Graham)

Wen-tzu (Thomas Cleary)

Hua Hu Ching (Brian Walker)

I Ching (Wang Bi / Richard John Lynn) don't care for this version much


related books

Mo Tzu (Burton Watson)

Confucious, Analects (Arthur Waley)

Han Fei Tzu (Burton Watson)


and also

Road to Heaven (Bill Porter/Red Pine)

Songs of Cold Mountain (Red Pine)

Iron & Silk (Mark Salzman)


Can someone(s) fill me in with useful ediitions of those I am missing, or better versions of those I have? I'd have to consider myself at this point a "Contemplative Taoist" rather than a religious Taoist, and I'm most interested in accurate translations rather than "well, Lao-tze says keep your powder dry" type of texts. I'm most interested in a different/better I Ching, and the Yellow Emporer.


I also have a decent chunk of the Pali Cannon, several Mahayana Sutras, and some decent books on Zen; however I lose interest when the Buddhist texts get into dogma, which for me is just past the Three Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Beyond that point, the Tao just feels more natural for me.


I'd really appreciate any guidance offered.


PS - Sean, thanks for cluing me in on the Hua Hu, I've enjoyed it very much. It's the only one I like better than Zhuang Zi. And thanks to all here for their many fine posts, explanations and discussions.

Edited by Bob H

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I'd really appreciate any guidance offered.



I seem to remember Trunk's site has a nice page of recommended reading. Cleary's translation of Taoist Classics, that sort of thing.

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i have of only 3 books:


"The Essential Tao" Thomas Cleary


"Haiku Seasons" (a compilation for poets) and "Essays on Zen Bhuddism" D.T. Suzuki


your welcome to any or all of them.




Edited by fatherpaul

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Thank you! Trunk's site will keep me busy for quite a while.




Father Paul,


I'm sorry, I didn't express myself very well in the original post. I meant that I was looking for names of books, not donations of books. Thank you, though, for your kind offer.





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Victor Mair translation of Chuang Tzu is the one I prefer(Title: wandering on the way).


You probably should invest in a good translation of Journay to the West. As in a complete translation, That is 3 books. Not the micro versions. I got one here of the Foreign Language Press Beijing, edition. It is beautiful because side by side to the story you find some times poems that has been added to describe particular pieces that seems (and probably are) taoist formulas by themselves.


I got a lot of fun reading: Laughing at the tao. Which is a book from the middle ages of a scholar tearing down taoist believes. (F* hell, only one is available from amazon for 370$!!! I should consider selling mine :P)


You MUST have some good translation of the secret of the golden flower. Although I am not sure how the cleary translation is. And here the expert of this book is Ron Jeremy (signs at Paolino Moon Luna on the HT discussion board), if you can stand the stink.


I would add a good history of taoism. The Shambhala Guide to Taoism is not bad. I don't know about the others.


Cultivating Stillness (Eva Wong), is considered a classic. I remember a taoist friend of mine, who after some years came to me and said he finally ended Cultivating Stillness. Considering that it is a tiny book, you realise the level of depth that each line posses.


Vitality, Energy, Spirit: A Taoist Sourcebook

I find it excellent as a source of some selected texts. Although Cleary has a very definite type of translation which many taoists thinks betrays to true spirit of some texts.


Now the The Taoist Experience: An Anthology

is very good. I would suggest that you keep it on the side, while you are reading The Shambhala guide to taoism. In this way when your read that in this and that period this kind of meditation were being used, you can find here the actual description.


The Complete I Ching: The Definitive Translation by the Taoist Master Alfred Huang

is considered a good one.



Thos are mostly taoist books.


Some very important are missing, for example I think there was a translation around of the triplex unit which is considered to be one of the most important texts in alchemical taoism. It might be inside The Jade Emperor's Mind Seal Classic: The Taoist Guide to Health, Longevity, and Immortality (Paperback)

by Stuart Alve Olson (Author) by I am not sure.


Also at home in Italy I have a small book about breathing, and it came out that it was the translation of an ancient taoist text, of about 1600 years ago. Well inside I could find a description of the 6 healing sounds, which I got very excited when I did.


Oh gosh, I was also forgetting all the Understanding Reality book, The Inner Teachings of Taoism, 7 Taoists masters.


Then you have books ABOUT taoism.

That is books from people who describe taoism.


And here I would just put a couple of books:


The Taoist Body, is quite a good book. I haven't yet read much of it, only a couple of chapters, but was fascinating.


Isabelle Robinet seem to be a very good scholar who had studied taoism, and wrote a certain number of books. There should be one about taoist meditation, although I don't know if it has been translated in English. (original was in French, and I read it in Italian)



And to conclude from a Taoist of our times I would also add

Thoureau: Walden

there is also the description of his meeting with a female immortal inside.


Nice stories:

opening the dragon gate,

The Magus of Java (although I never ended it)



About zen: The blue cliff record

Father Paul would love this, if he does not already know it by Heart.


About martial arts: The book of five rings, The art of war


What shall I say:

good reading :)

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Father Paul,


I'm sorry, I didn't express myself very well in the original post. I meant that I was looking for names of books, not donations of books. Thank you, though, for your kind offer.



your welcome

the offer stands, but i would suggest the thomas cleary translations, very well done, IMHO.




Edited by fatherpaul

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If you're after the older originals (good move!), here's some of the beginner's basics to include:


Sun Tzu

Yuan Dao

Wilhelm/Baynes I Ching (don't bother with other translations)

Ta Chuan



Sun Tzu, the Art of War, is available in a new translation that is based on the archeological discovery of the Linyi documents. The Linyi text predates the versions translated before by about a thousand years and is infinitely more accurate.


The Yuan Dao is older than Tao Te Ching and looks like one of the latter's sources.


Wilhelm had the advantage of a personal taoist teacher of a genuine lineage, something none of the other translators had.


Ta Chuan, The Great Treatise On The Changes, is an eye-opening guide not only to the I Ching but to taoism in general, and mustn't be overlooked by anyone trying to grasp the taoist basics.


Happy explorations!

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01 - Zhouyi


02 - I Ching: The Shamanic Oracle of Change


03 - The Original I Ching Oracle: The Pure and Complete Texts


04 - The Authentic I Ching: The Three Classic Methods of Prediction


05 - Original Tao: Inward Training And The Foundations Of Taoist Mysticism


06 - Guanzi: Political, Economic, And Philosophical Essays From Early China


Book Description


First published in 1985, W. Allyn Rickett`s authoritative translation of the first 33 essays of Guanzi (or Kuan

tzu) performs an inestimable service to the field of China studies. The product of nearly 40 years of careful,

committed scholarship, it includes generous annotations and is the standard English edition of this work. The

Guanzi, named for the famous minister of state Guan Zhong (d. 645 B.C.), was put together in its present

form circa 26 B.C. by the Han dynasty scholar Liu Xiang. The surviving text consists of some 70 essays

by anonymous writers dating from the fifth century B.C. to about the time of Liu Xiang himself in

the first century B.C. Most noted amongst these essays is material concerning ... early Chinese thought,

including Taoism, naturalistic theory, and the amalgam of Taoist and Legalist thought known as Huang-



07 - Yuan Dao: Tracing Dao to Its Source


From Library Journal


In this masterly and first-ever translation of the Taoist text from the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.)

known as Yuan Dao, we find a most welcome addition to the corpus in English of Taoist texts. As translated

by Lau, noted interpreter of Chinese philosophy, and Ames (Chinese philosophy, Univ. of Hawaii), also a

prolific and respected translator and author on Chinese thought, the language is straightforward yet elegant,

the rendition true to all the subtlety of the original. Written around 140 B.C.E., Yuan Dao is a direct

descendent of the better-known earlier Taoist texts, the Tao Te Ching and the Chuang-Tzu.


08 - Heaven and Earth in Early Han Thought: Chapters Three, Four and Five of the Huainanzi


09 - The Book of Leadership and Strategy: Lessons of the Chinese Masters


10 - Thunder in the Sky: Secrets on the Acquisition and Exercise of Power


11 - Alchemy, Medicine and Religion in the China of A.D. 320


12 - The Life & Teachings of Kou Hong

Edited by Yen Hui

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