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1. The Inner Teachings of Taoism
2. The Complete Idiot's Guide to
3. Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living
4. Practical Taoism
5. The Shambhala Guide to Taoism
6. Taoism: Growth of a Religion
7. Taoism: The Enduring Tradition
8. Do Nothing and Do Everything:
9. Taoism: The Road to Immortality
10. Harmony: Radical Taoism Gently
11. Taoism
12. The Tao of Teaching: The Ageless
13. Eastern Religions: Hinduism, Buddism,
14. Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face:
15. Taoism: The Parting of the Way
16. Historical Dictionary of Taoism
17. Taoism and the Arts of China
18. Creativity and Taoism: A Study
19. Taoism Way Beyond Seeking (Alan
20. Encyclopedia of Taoism (2 Volume

1. The Inner Teachings of Taoism
by Chang Po-tuan
Paperback: 144 Pages (2001-01-09)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$10.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 157062710X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Taoist inner alchemy is a collection of theories and practices for transforming the mind and refining the self. The Inner Teachings of Taoism includes a classic of Chinese alchemy known asFour Hundred Words on the Gold Elixir. Written in the eleventh century by a founder of the Complete Reality School, this text is accompanied by the lucid commentary of the nineteenth-century adept Lui I-ming. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

2-0 out of 5 stars A Cleary text become more Confusian and Buddhist than Taoist
What is wisdom, what is Tao, is not [easily] named.The fundamental challenge with this book is the very intellectual orientation provided in this translation by Thomas Cleary.

The inner alchemy of the Tao is reached through mystical realization.My concerns with this book is that it is overly wordy and abstract thought-oriented.Abstraction being something that prevents you from experiencing reality.If you are into wordy books then you might like this but it is not beginner material.

Chang Po-Tuan was a Confusian who was also exposed to Chan (Zen) Buddhism.He sought out the esoteric side of Eastern thought after being unable to pass the civil servant examinations.He supposedly was taught by Li Ts'ao who was trained by Chung-li Ch'uan and Lu Tung-Pin.So Chang's thought is influenced very much by the Southern School of Taoism.Chang's presentation seems to be a blending of Confusian, Chan Buddhist, and Taoist thought.At it's core the text by Chang Po-Taun makes up very little of this book.

The futher explanation of Changs text is by Liu I-Ming.But keeping everything straight is difficult as the words of Clearly comprise the core of this book.It's almost false advertising to claim this is a book conveying the teaching of Chang.

The majority of the verbose rub of this book is coming from Thomas Cleary, who is not always known for his clarity, and certainly not for brevity.(In fact, the beginner to Eastern thought would do well to stay clear of Cleary.)It is Part 2 of this book, perhaps entirely of Cleary's authorship where the book digresses into diagrams and becomes unhinged from Chang Po-Tauns original works.

Taoism is about mystical, neo-shamanic alchemical experience.There is no feeling of integration with the Tao in this book.There is lots of detail about relationships of this or that theoretical concept.In other words there is not the clarity or the freedom that you usually encounter with being in relationship with the Tao.The totality of this book presents a view of walking the path of the Tao that is unforgiving and fraught with danger.The need for constant vigilance to be kept from danger (hence the need to memorize the arcane processes).This is not the Tao that Lao Tzu is talking about.

For the beginner the better places to start are Eva Wong (Tao of Health).There are also a number of QiGong works that are woven with Taoism such as Spiritual Qi Gong by David Twicken.There are also a number of good selections from Mantak Chia.

If you are looking for good QiGong to get started with then see Chunyi Linn and Spring Forest QiGong.

Keep it real.There is no mirror on which to collect dust.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for any who read books on the tao and are left confused
I am fairly new to the Tao, or after reading this book i think it would be more appropriate to say that i have long forgot this thing they are forced to label as the "Tao".As i was reading this book i felt as if it was written for me.Before i randomly purchased this book i had read books on Taoism,i was left feeling very murky.Never knowing if i took away anything of benefit.My mind was centered on material elements of alchemy.Reading about all these wonderful elixirs of immortality and the elements of refinement wondering how i would find water and fire within myself to purify the lead and mercury that were "hiding" somewhere in my body.

If you had any feelings like i did, questions about how to find these "magical" items to become and immortal, or if you ever thought of immortality in a physical sense then this book is definitely for you.It is not something that will make you a Taoist master overnight and possibly not ever.But it will allow you to start focusing on what Lead and mercury truly are and how to refine you own vitality energy and spirit.I view this book as an arrow to help you find your way back to the correct path of nature.I cannot say that i have shed the perceptions of our physical world, but at least now i can eliminate one more false path which would have ended in a life long search for something that doesn't exist anywhere other than inside of myself.

This book has taught me a very important lesson.I need to stop lying to myself and accept what is as it comes.I hold the key buried somewhere deep inside of my conditioned mind just waiting for a chance reveal itself to me if i would only let it.Thank you.

5-0 out of 5 stars alchemy review
One of the best books written on taoist alchemy you will ever find. If you are a serious practitioner i think this book is a must have. Genuinely puts to rest the age old ideas people have that there is some mystical pill for immortality. Very well written and translated. Great read for anyone interested in the deeper meanings of taoist alchemy or willing to give the tao a try.

5-0 out of 5 stars a wonderful book.
it is difficult to get lost along the way when you have a book like this in your possession. i've given away a couple copies as gifts. i've recommended this book to several people. this book is sold in taoist temples throughout china. buy this book! a great handbook for taoists everywhere, and people everywhere.

5-0 out of 5 stars Taoist Alchemy
This is a great taoist alchemy treatise. The root text by Chang Po Tuan is presented along with enlightening commentaries. It has helped me understanding the "Secret of the Golden Flower" translated by Richard Wilhelm and introduced by C.G. Jung and revealed the meaning of so many symbols of taoist alchemy.
Not a very easy reading but it's worth the effort. ... Read more

2. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Taoism
by Brandon Toropov, Chad Hansen
Paperback: 336 Pages (2002-03-05)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$5.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0028642627
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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You-re no idiot, of course. You know Taoism is one of the world-s oldest religions, based on simplicity and balance. However, you may not know it has important parallels with modern Western life: health, ecology, even in such pop culture icons as Luke Skywalker and The Beatles.But you don-t have to sit at the feet of a Taoist master to learn how the Taoist tradition has enlightened seekers throughout the centuries! The Complete Idiot-s Guide- to Taoism will show you exactly why Taoist principles appeal to people from every walk of life! In this Complete Idiot-s Guide-, you get:--The history of the Daode Jing, the world-s shortest core religious text, and Laozi, its mysterious author.--The teachings of Zhuangzi, the often-overlooked master sage of Taoism.--An explanation of ying-yang and what it represents.--Taoism-s relationship to Zen Buddhism. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

1-0 out of 5 stars Confusing even if you are not an idiot
This book is poorly organized and confusing. The authors used way too many quotations from other sources, i.e. books, websites. In the end, I have to wonder what the authors' own take is on the subject. It doesn't have a backbone of its own, period.

3-0 out of 5 stars vague
I just felt that after reading this book, I still knew next to nothing about taoism. the search continues...

3-0 out of 5 stars Unduly vague
Lots of info presented here but the authors have made it too esoteric and vague.You should not have to reach and re-read to comprehend the Tao.

You are sitting in the forest against a large, old tree.A graceful yet timid deer approaches you cautiously.If you ignore it, the deer draws nearer.If you acknowledge it's presence, it moves away from you. The deer is the Tao.

I recommend "The Tao of Pooh" by B. Hoff.

4-0 out of 5 stars not bad at all
I was expecting a complete wishy-washy new-agey mosaic of pseudo-science, pseudo-history, pseudo-scholarship; but actually the scholarship and historical information in this book were pretty darn good.

It's a good introduction to ancient Chinese philosophy, the context of Zhuangzi and Laozi. The philosophy isn't watered down too much, and fortunately (thanks no doubt to Chad Hansen's contribution) it's not mixed in with unrelated stuff from the Upanishads or anything like that.

There is a misprint on the back, "ying-yang" which must be slang for the padding surrounding one's gluteus maximus; inside the book the spelling is correct. The explanation of yin-yang is also correct and simple.

I would've wanted a lot more information on religious Taoism: information about modern movements and so on. Which deities are most commonly worshipped in Taiwan, which in Hong Kong, which in Beijing? And, how are they worshipped? I'd like information about Taoist pilgrimages, Taoist sacred places, and so on. The book doesn't touch any of that: minus one star.

Also, the bit on quantum physics could be greatly, greatly improved. Maybe they could've asked a few grad students at a physics dep't for commentary? It would have greatly helped: minus one star.

However, I just couldn't give the book 3 stars; the chapters on politics and ecology were surprisingly good, the internet links are too helpful, and as I said earlier the explanation of ancient Chinese philosophy was too good. So, maybe there's a little grade inflation here.

In sum, it's a good introduction to Taoism, and it'll prepare you to move on to deeper stuff, and help you find it.

If, like, you're already a Taoist immortal or something, this book isn't for you, and you can't really criticize it for that. I'd expect you to realize that already.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not recommended
I have been studying taoism for about 2 1/2 years now, and while I'm no expert, there was plenty I disagreed with in this book.I felt that the authors were incorrect (at least in their explanations) about some of the key points of taoist philosophy, and one of the authors gives his own translation of the first verse of the Tao Te Ching which I also found to be off-base.The back cover also promises "in-depth" information on tai chi and the I Ching, yet the book actually only gives brief information on these subjects -- in fact, INSIDE the book it says "Here's a brief overview" -- no in-depth information.To make matters worse, the section on the I Ching contrasts the methods of eastern divination versus western divination, but the example it gives of a question in eastern divination is INCOMPATIBLE with the I Ching, suggesting an infamiliarity with it.

While the back cover was probably written by the publisher and not the authors (it even mentions "ying-yang" instead of the correct "yin-yang"), the material inside the book is what counts.But because of the faults I mentioned with the material inside, I found myself taking everything else I read in the book with a grain of salt because I was unsure of its accuracy.And while it does provide some information on the history of taoism, chinese dynasties, and taoist religion, I'm concerned that this book would mislead those new to taoism.

If you are new to taoism and would like to learn more, I recommend picking up a good translation of the Tao Te Ching and starting there."Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Translation" by Jonathan Star is my personal favorite translation because it includes a verbatim, word-for-word translation of the text.Also recommended is the translation by Brian Browne Walker. ... Read more

3. Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance
by C. Alexander Simpkins, Annellen Simpkins
Paperback: 192 Pages (1999-05-15)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$5.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804831734
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Simple Taoism is designed to help the reader understand what Taoism is about and to help apply its best aspects to everyday living. Divided into three parts, the book outlines the background and development of the philosophy, illustrated with stories to bring history to life. It explains key concepts and shows ways to incorporate the insights fo Taoism into one's life through such activities as meditation, breathing exercises, and exploring the natural world.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple Taoism
The book came in perfect condition in a timely manner.Exactly what the sender described.Well done

2-0 out of 5 stars Missing the point
Once you start telling people how to live, the whole idea of Tao is gone.The whole point of Tao is to live, in the constant stream of life, in the way that lets you blend with the environment.You can't tell someone how to do that.There is no guide to how each person should live their life.Tao is finding the way that works for you, and the rest of the world, in harmony on your own path, no guides.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction!
This is a very useful book.It provides some very important knowledge of the topic of Taoism that is not always easy to find elsewhere.It reads very well and has some excellent exercises in it.The only reason that the book does not receive 5 stars is that it is sometimes hard to follow and a little bit difficult to understand.If you can get past that, this is a great companion for anyone interested in Taoism.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good book
Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance is a simple book with simple ideas

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to Taoism

The book is organized into three parts: 1. History of Taoism, 2. Definition of Taoist Concepts, and 3. Taoism in Practice.

The second section is easily the best, most objective and least analytic.The authors define Tao, Te, wu-wei, ying and yang, p'u and chi. Taoism *is* "simple"; it isn't easy to practice, but far too many authors tend to analyze and over-analyze while defining, which is the precise antithesis of Tao.The second section of this book takes a solid Taoist approach by simply defining the terms; you use them your Way.

The third section, Taoist Practice, represents the authors' mindset. It is how they practice Taoism -- they write about some Taoist arts but not others and don't mention that this was their writing approach. Likewise for The first section, Taoist History. It reads as well-researched but speaks only of certain elements.

The problematic part is that book is written as though all concepts presented are in equal measure the essence of--and necessary to--Taoism,with no mention of elements left out. I bought this for a friend who was interested in the basics of Taoism, and I picked it up to see what I'd be giving him. I ended up reading it; it's very short and fast and I liked it a lot.I thought highly of it.Then when I gave it to him I found that I wanted to explain which elements could be appropriate or not for him, or what he doesn't need to take as "fact" of Taoism as it's presented here.

I've considered Taoism indespensible in my life for over a decade and while this book is quite a good introduction, it has a somewhat one-sided view that's presented as universal, which makes this a good primer course but requires supplemental information. It's unfortunate because the material is good -- if only they would have written that the third chapter, for example, is about the ways *they* practice: e.g., martial art is one of the Toaist arts, much detail is given to it while other Taoist arts go unmentioned. As a first book about Taoism it might be difficult to differentiate between their thoughts and others'.

Overall: Good book. The 2nd section section is worth the price of admission, easily, for its simple definitions of typically over-described concepts. But parts one and three should be taken as the less objective of the three sections. ... Read more

4. Practical Taoism
by Thomas Cleary
Paperback: 92 Pages (1996-05-28)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570622000
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Compiled by a seventh-generation master of the Northern Branch of the Complete Reality School of Taoism known as the Preserver of Truth, this extraordinary collection of teachings and commentaries illuminates the many profound mysteries of inner alchemy in the Taoist tradition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not exactly "Practical"
This is an ancient text. In a modern context the term "practical" is laughable. That said, it's a classic text, so there you go.

1-0 out of 5 stars Cant understan a word
This book is useless for the novice.The author's writing is so convoluted I was unable to understand any thing he is trying to say.I am amazed it received 5 star reviews - who are those reviewers?

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Concise Illumination of The Tao
I'll keep this short - like the book itself.Thomas Cleary is a master translator of eastern religious and philosophical texts.His academic skill is complemented by a deep understanding of the practices described in his translations.He gets to the original intent.Practical Taoism is worth reading for the introduction alone.Never have I found a more concise and practical description of observations, functions and practices regarding the Tao then I have here.If you want a solid introduction to Taoism and how it can benefit your life, this is a good place to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Search
I found my search for meaning not in the dogma of organized religion but in the pursuit of truth as revealed by nature itself.

5-0 out of 5 stars another classic rendered for our sake
I found this collection of translations to be very helpful.I read Cleary's books from a student's perspective and not from a Taoist scholar'sperspective.The insights gleaned from this book are priceless.It is agreat wonder how our present age and society has fallen into such a moraldecline even though these scriptures have been around since man's earlydays.Read and apply.These teachings may seem cryptic but they turn intotruths once they are applied to our lives. ... Read more

5. The Shambhala Guide to Taoism (Shambhala Guides)
by Eva Wong
Paperback: 268 Pages (1996-12-17)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$6.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570621691
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This guide to the spiritual landscape of Taoism not only introduces the important events in the history of Taoism, the sages who wrote the Taoist texts, and the various schools of Taoist thinking, but also gives the reader a feel for what it means to practice Taoism today.

The book is divided into three parts:

   1.  "The History of Taoism" traces the development of the tradition from the shamans of prehistoric China through the classical period (including the teachings of the famous sage Lao-tzu), the beginnings of Taoism as a religion, the rise of mystical and alchemical Taoism, and the synthesis of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
   2.  "Systems of Taoism" explores magical sects, divination practices, devotional ceremonies, internal alchemy, and the way of right action.
   3.  "Taoist Practices" discusses meditation, techniques of cultivating the body, and rites of purification, ceremony, and talismanic magic.

A comprehensive bibliography for further study completes this valuable reference work. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

2-0 out of 5 stars Sloppy and dated
For a while, Shambhala filled a role by offering accessible works on Taoism (and other topics) to a general audience. But this role has been compromised by the disdain it shows for the ideas underlying serious academic work. Yes, academic studies can be boring and footnote are a drag, but the idea behind them is to empower the reader to make his or her own decisions by showing them clearly the source material--i.e. I made statement X and then tell you on the basis of what information I've just made that statement by listing it in a footnote. This is the fundament of the modern scientific method and it underlies all serious approaches to describing the world. There are clever, creative ways of getting around this (endnotes, or by writing the source into the material) but the overall principle is the same: readers can judge for themselves.

Eva Wong's book largely disregards this. She rarely tells her readers where her material came from or acknowledge the fact that her views conflict with other scholars' views. She writes on topics like Inner Alchemy (Neidan) as if she had been conferred the Truth and that other reputatble people's differing takes are not worth considering. It's basically a very simple and simplistic version of Taoism.

Another, more basic issue is the book is dated because it doesn't reflect huge advances we have in understanding the great body of Taoist teachings, the Taoist Canon, which Kristofer Schipper and Franciscus Verellen have described. She also seems completely unaware of the huge growth of Taoist studies in mainland China.

For those interested in learning about Taoism, I'd suggest James Miller's Daoism: A Beginner's Guide. It's not perfect but has many fewer flaws. Another book that describes Taoism from a practitioner's point of view is Kristofer Schipper's "The Taoist Body". Schipper is one of the deans of Taoism studies but also an ordained Taoist priest and he describes how Taoist priests operate in one Taiwanese community. For a short one-volume history, Isabelle Robinet's "Taoism: Growth of a Religion" is excellent and easy to read. It only goes to the year 1500 but covers most of the main movements.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Overview of Taoism
I've casually studied Taoist philosophy and arts for years now.Eva Wong is amongst the best authors on the subject I have encountered.I would recomend any of her books (given interest in the particular subject).This overview is both detailed and entertaining.It reviews Taoist history back into prehistory, and up unto today.Wong covers Taoist practices of the past and the present with the sincerity of an active practitioner, yet with a level headed, down-to-earth approach that can be appreciated by modern day, western cultured people.The book deals lucidly with very mystical, magickal & mythical subjects, but unlike many other authors, Wong neither gets overly esoteric nor scholastic, but rather remains well balanced, presenting such in a very straight forward way.I would highly recomend this book for anyone who is interested in learning about Taoism in any of its many diverse aspects.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Historical Reference
This book is a valuable historical reference for Taoism. You are presented with historical figures of Taoism and their influence on the system as a shamanic practice, a philosophy, and a religion. The information is greatly detailed, and further sources of reference are provided by the author. This for me, is a big plus, since I tend to cross reference what I read quite a bit.

If you are interested in researching Taoism, it's rich, vast history, it's various forms and traditions, you will find this text a great source of knowlege.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book put the pieces together for me
I was looking for a book that would make sense of the long history of practices and teachings of Taoism.Eva Wong's book was just what I needed. It's exactly what the title states, its a "Guide". Those reviewers who are looking for more complete teachings from this book I think missed the point.Wong has translated many other books that give the inner and outer teachings, as have many other authors (Cleary, Kohn, Wiles, etc). The purpose of Guide to Taoism is to put in perspective all the different paths and practices that would fall under Taoism.Beginning from pre-historic history to the present, Wong takes you through a basic history of China's Taoist traditions, which has so many twists and turns, it's not easy to grasp in just one reading.I appreciate the effort Wong has made to make things as clear as possible.I enjoyed her matter of fact, no non-sense writing.I didn't think it was dry at all.I enjoyed reading it cover to cover and took many notes. At the end of each chapter she gives lists of authors to read, so I have ended up with quite a libray of Taoist literature, thanks to her great suggestions.For someone who is just starting out on the Taoist path, a book like this is a helpful place to begin.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!
This is a fun and very enducational book! Well warth the money, and fun to read. It teaches a lot of the history and different sect of Taoism From the time of pre-man to present China. ... Read more

6. Taoism: Growth of a Religion
by Isabelle Robinet
Paperback: 320 Pages (1997-05-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$17.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804728399
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This is a survey of the history of Taoism from approximately the third century b.c. to the fourteenth century a.d. For many years, it was customary to divide Taoism into "philosophical Taoism" and "religious Taoism." The author has long argued that this is a false division and that "religious” Taoism is simply the practice of "philosophical" Taoism. She sees Taoism as foremost a religion, and the present work traces the development of Taoism up to the point it reached its mature form (which remains intact today, albeit with modern innovations).

The main aim of this history of Taoism is to trace the major lines of its doctrinal evolution, showing the coherence of its development, the wide varieties of factors that came into play over a long period of disconnected eras, the constant absorptions of outside contributions, and the progress that integrates them. The author shows how certain recurrent themes are treated in different ways in different eras and different sects. Among these themes are the Ultimate Truth, immortality, the Sage, the genesis and the end of the world, retribution for good and evil acts, representations of heavens and hells, and the connections between life and the spirit, between life and death, between man and society, and between mystical experience and the social form of religion.

The plan of the book is chronological, but the chronology is somewhat fluid given the way Taoism evolved; as it assimilated new features in the course of its growth, it never ceased to continue to develop the old ones. Thus the Celestial Masters sect, which is chronologically the first to attain a structure, is treated at the outset of the book though it exists down to our day, and the Shangqing tradition took shape in the fourth century though its glory years were under the Tang (618-907).

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Does not investigate Taoism's growth or Philosophical vs. Religious Taoism
The first thing to understand is that the book was originally written in French and most of Robinet's works are not available in English. I am not sure whether the translator caused problems in the layout of the text, or just Robinet's organization/thesis was poor to begin with, though I'd like to believe it was a poor translation.

This work lacks a cohesive purpose and never really gets into what Taoism is all about and certainly says nothing about its growth as a religion. If you knew nothing about Taoism going into this reading, you would be absolutely lost. The writing assumes you have substantial knowledge and explains very little along the lines of its references.

As it stands, it's useful to a person extremely well versed in this religion, Chinese tradition/medicine in general and also someone who knows the five-agent theory along with the I Ching. If you do not have this knowledge, steer clear of this rambling and sophomoric listing of other references (there are reference notes on almost half the pages).

Robinet's book here is touted on the back cover as investigating what the difference is between Philosophical and Religious Taoism, something it never truly does - that was the most glaringdefect I found in this work. I purchased it to get into that division, which I have always been interested in. This work simply lists out most Taoist texts, the time they were written and by whom.

It also spends the majority of the text going into shamanistic ritual in useless detail. Meaning, it does not clearly explain what was practiced, but lists out a rough procedure that was followed by adherents of Taoist related beliefs. It's also obvious that Robinet holds some disdain for both the religious aspect and its past followers, as there is a general negative overtone to the book regarding most older Taoist practices.

If this book had contained timelines and charts to clarify the inordinate amount of dates and works, I may have given it two stars. It also references diagrams that were not included in the translation and makes the almost unforgivable mistake twice in the text of mixing Yin and Yang concepts up (probably bad translation issues, but still questionable). It does have a great explanation of Yin and Yang in the beginning and also of the concept of Hun and Po soul division.

Here's who would benefit from this book: a serious scholar who owns many works on Taoism and lacks a general knowledge of when texts were written and an overall high level understanding of older Taoist rituals. Others will find much more value in almost any other work on Taoism, for founding history and a good background of Taoism's early development go with Elements of Taoism (Martin Palmer).

5-0 out of 5 stars A key text on Taoism
A highly recommendable scholarly discussion of the origin and development of Taoism up to the 14th century CE. I have long been frustrated by the popular distinction between 'philosophical' and 'religious' Taoism, sincesuch a distinction could in principle be made of any religion. The dangeris that what westerners like they call 'philosophical' and what they don'tlike they label 'religious'and then dispense with. The idea that somemetaphysical 'essence' of Taoism deserves to be taken seriously, while therituals and practice of Taoism do not is fundamentally bad scholarship.Fortunately then, Robinet challenges the popular view head on by claimingand showing that 'religious' Taoism is simply the practice of'philosophical' Taoism. One without the other is senseless. This is animportant work, but for a general introduction to Taoism for the interestedbeginner I would also recommend Martin Palmer's 'The Elements of Taoism'.Palmer sems to be aware of and in sympathy with Robinet's position.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for serious students of Chinese religious history
This is simply an excellent volume, a solid overview of one thousand years of Daoism from THE expert on the Shangqing school of southern Daoism (4th-5th c.AD).The bibliography alone makes this book worth it, bothextensive and broken down by period. I'm just finishing up a master'sconcerning Ge Hong's "Baopuzi" and I'm about to start a Ph.D.project on the "Huainanzi," and I must say that even though I'veread many excellent texts on Daoism, Robinet's provides some excellentdefining concepts as well as a good introduction to many of the strengthsof French scholarship in my field. ... Read more

7. Taoism: The Enduring Tradition
by Russell Kirkland
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2004-07-06)
list price: US$120.00 -- used & new: US$96.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0415263212
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This concise and reliable introduction to Taoism brings a fresh dimension to a tradition that has found a natural place in Western societies.Combining Taoist sacred texts with current scholarship, it surveys Taoism's ancient roots, contemporary heritage and role in daily life.
From Taoism's spiritual philosophy to its practical perspectives on life and death, self-cultivation, morality, society, leadership and gender, Russell Kirkland's essential guide reveals the real contexts behind concepts such as Feng Shui and Tai Chi. Written for those seeking a genuine introduction to an often misrepresented tradition, it highlights Taoism's key elements and explains its early origins and modern transformations. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Treasure and tool
In modern world only few learners of Taoism are blessed with a real teacher.The rest of us have to get by books, articles and similar sources. Unfortunately we quickly learn that there is a huge, stinky sewage of books by "experts" among which we are to seek for rare pearls.

This book is not only one of such pearls, it also teaches to deal with the sewage, to distinguish real scholarship from New Age "interpretations".

Yes, it is not an easy read because it is written more like research article, but if you are interested in essence of Taoist beliefs and philosophy this book absolutely worth the time you'll spend to read it.

But if you really believe that LeGuin is a Taoist then do not bother with this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Criticism of Taoist Scholarship
I bought this book because it had great reviews and it's hard to find good material on the practices and texts of Taoism beyond the level of Tao of Pooh and Taoism for Dummies. But upon reading this torture of a text I found the other reviewers must have had different interests than mine, for what I've found in the book is a state-of-the-union address on Taoist scholarship (mainly how 19th and 20th century translators have not taken into consideration this or that text or aspect of Chinese history) but as to a rigorous explanation of the different practices and beliefs of Taoists there is not much to go on in this book. The author seems more interested in showing off his scholarship of Chinese thought and presenting what Taoism IS NOT than of telling us what those texts he so profusely cites say about what Taoism IS.

5-0 out of 5 stars Real Taoism
I have been trying for awhile to find accurate treatments of Taoism from actual scholars (not hacks who know nothing of Chinese history, religion, culture, or language - but have no problem filling the shelves at Barnes and Noble with fatuous fluff).This is an excellent book that not only covers the origins and development of Taoism from the perspective of the "Taoists" themselves (not from the perspective of Westerners who received most of their knowledge from often adversarial Confucians), but it even has an excellent section on "Cultivating the Tao" for those who are interested in putting Taoist traditions into practice.

Great exerpt:

"In the 20th Century West, Taoist practice was deeply misunderstood my narcissistic pseudo-Taoists, who falsely imagined that 'following the Tao' requires no more than 'going with the flow' or 'just being spontaneous.'To the contrary, Taoist practice traditionally rested upon self-discipline as 'the foundation that sets up the basic framework of mind and body in which alone the hard work of the path can be accomplished."(p. 202)

Check the references for other excellent sources on Taoism.

(Please remember that this is an academic source, so don't think you are going to read the "Tao of Poo" and then give the book a bad review when you see the big words.If you want something dumbed down, look elsewhere.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Taoism - a fresh viewpoint
Prof Kirkland wrote this highly readable research work on Taoism.He traced the history of this tradition in the ancient land how it influenced to and impacted by Confucianism and Buddhism.He offered a fresh perspective, quite different from the Western orthodox viewpoint

Without missionary selling and promoting, Taoism offered more than philosophy in the land of Western Civilization - wealth but in discontentment, strong but insecure.As a Taoist, Prof Kirkland gave this book to the general public on the understanding of the mystery of Tao in the way to spiritual happiness and freedom.
... Read more

8. Do Nothing and Do Everything: An Illustrated New Taoism
by Qiguang Zhao
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2010-04-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.89
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Asin: 1557788898
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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An introduction to ancient Taoism conveyed in a light-hearted and amusing manner. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Definitely recommend!
Zhao deftly demonstrates how the ancient Chinese philosophy of Daoism can be applied to the modern American lives of students, teachers, retirees, and anybody pursuing the best way to spend their time on this planet. Wonderously whimsical yet down to earth, this book feels almost like a picture book for adults! Profound thoughts in an entertaining format.

5-0 out of 5 stars Effortless Efforts
Martha Stewart Living Magazine

Martha Stewart Living Magazine

August 2010

The importance of Doing Nothing

Text by Mary Duenwald

... "There is no absolute way of doing nothing," says Qiguang Zhao, the chair of the Asian languages and literature department at Carleton College, in Minnesota, and the author of Do Nothing & Do Everything: An Illustrated New Taoism (Paragon House; 2010). For some 2,500 years, Taoists have observed the benefits of doing nothing--an art they call wu wei. In modern times, Zhao says, we easily sacrifice too much of our well-being pursuing the familiar ideal of "faster, higher, stronger." A healthy counter-ideal, he says, is "slower, lower, and weaker."

And one good way to pursue this is to simply do nothing. When people are "caught in the worries of the future and the regrets of the past, they cannot appreciate the beauty of the present," Zhao says. "Wu wei is to break this chain."...

... Read more

9. Taoism: The Road to Immortality
by John Blofeld
Paperback: 212 Pages (2000-08-08)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$13.50
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Asin: 1570625891
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A religion with roots stretching back nearly five thousand years, Taoism combines elements of folklore, occult sciences, cosmology, yoga, meditation, poetry, and exalted mysticism. Mysterious and charmingly poetic, it is a living remnant of a way of life which has almost vanished from the world.

In this comprehensive study, John Blofeld explains the fundamental concepts of Taoism, tells many stories of ancient masters, and provides incisive reflections on Taoist verse. He writes in a colorful and unique way about his visits to Taoist hermitages in China and his interchanges with contemporary masters. Taoist yoga, a little known aspect of Taoist practice, is also discussed in detail. This book captures the spirit of the Tao, communicating the serenity and timeless wisdom of this tradition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars To die and not to perish - Immortality!
While I must agree with Lao-tzu that the Tao in words is not the real Tao, I hardly believe one could find a better introduction to Taoism, in all, than we have here.This book is a treasure, a gift, meant to be savored, and read with the care and sensitivity which thankfully produced it. As noted, Blofeld is a wonderful writer, a sedulous scholar, a first-hand observer, and a gifted story-teller.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dogmatising a No-Dogma Perspective of Taoism
Obviously written in 1976, this book had been published originally in 1978. I have read the print of 2000. If you have ordered this version, make sure you haven't got a misprint: In my book, the last chapter is missing, instead the end of another book was included. Accordingly, this review is based on the first 9 chapters only.

I do not know the next best thing about Taoism. I am interested in mysticism in all branches of religion, as mysticism is virtually identical, no matter where you look. The title suggested mystic content, and indeed, it gets included. Yet, not as extensively as I had hoped. Of course, there are other reasons to read this book. Obviously, the author himself wasn't that much interested in mysticism or intended his book to be more general about Taoism, i.e. for a broader readership. Besides somewhat more blunt words of mysticism in the beginning and the end, in between, you have to know mysticism already to catch some hints. I am not even sure, the author meant these as hints or wether he wrote them "accidentally", while describing Taoism. (Occasionally, he writes that he isn't sure himself wether he interpreted everything as intended by the Tao masters.) These "mystic hints" include indirect references to the non-existence of the separation of genders, no dualism, butoneness, no individual existence and no death.

Yet, when he writes about immortality, he takes that issue rather "literally", in the sense of longevity, with some Tao masters supposedly having lived some 130-160 years. Mystics know, of course that this is NOT meant with immortality. Additionally, on first glance such a life as advertized appears to be rather dull. Imagine 160 years of no sex, no spices in your food, no emotions, no tear running laughter, etc. In 2006, the Scandinavians made a film sounding similar to this: "The Bothersome Man". Paradise to some, it appears like hell to the protagonist. I say: As death does not exist to mystics, it is irrelevant, how long the individual body functions, i.e. it isn't necessary to deprive oneself from all the joy of living in a body in order to live "longer". I catch, what the author and the Taoist teachings are getting at. Yet, these guidelines aren't necessarily meant to be under-taken by all levels of believers/mystics. And as European mystic Master Eckhart once said, we aren't meant to be in a state of completely lived oneness with God 100% of the individual's lifetime. Just don't forget that automatic state while you are living.

There's a special point in this book about not having sex, especially spilling a certain male fluid. Though the author is rather describing some Tao approaches to that, it seems that he is agreeing. Spilling the seed isn't viewed as evil, but life-shortening. (Which again should be irrelevant to a mystic.) "When the oil is used up, the light goes out!" Nice adage, though it doesn't work: A lamp isn't reproducing it's oil by itself and the oil doesn't go dead/unusable in some 5 days, when not used and isn't reabsorbed by the lamp after that, if not used. This is rather another meme pool of misguided religious sex hostility (all religions are linked). Proof of that is the author's notion that all of the abstinence talk would apply to women as sick. He doesn't know from any Taoist text, but naturally assumes as much. So it isn't about some loss of life fluid after all, but dusty morals "explained" via superstitions/lacking knowledge.

The author's personal quest about a branch of Buddhism, the Bodhisattva of Compassion: The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin (Shambhala Dragon Editions) was more lively and accessibly written, yet, if you are interested in Taoism in a general way, this is probably a good start.

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful view
This book presents a beautiful view of the Taoist landscape.There is more original writing than translation of other sources in this book and Blofeld writes very well.It is almost as though he were of the very tradition of Taoist alchemy to which he alludes - culling, refining and transmuting materials of the Tao to produce a pill or an elixir it may do us well to sample.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Road Less Traveled
This was one of the first books I read on Taoism which described the Taoist life as it actually was lived. Although a scholarly work at heart, like all of Blofeld'd books, it never ceases to delight with wonderfulanecdotes and descriptions. Blofeld has a gift for taking what seems attimes to be dry, esoteric stuff, breathing life into it and making itshine. ... Read more

10. Harmony: Radical Taoism Gently Applied
by Eulalio Paul Cane
Paperback: 420 Pages (2002-08-07)
list price: US$31.50 -- used & new: US$331.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1553695496
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This book is for everyone who yearns for well-being. It will take you on a journey to the heart of the ancient Taoist five element theory in order to reclaim the concept of naturalness as a valid reference point for human life, even in the modern world. You will learn that when Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal are in balance, when none of them is in a state of excess or deficiency within you, then harmony with the flow of the universe, the Tao, is achieved.

HARMONY offers the reader a complete course on the first significant developments in five element theory since the Neijing (Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine). Eulalio Paul Cane dove deeply into traditional Chinese medicine to find answers to his own enigmatic health troubles—and indeed he found the personal answers he sought. But his strong interest and philosophical background enabled him as well to recognize novel universal connections lying hidden within Taoist thought, connections that linked the previously separate systems describing the five elements, yin and yang, and the notion of the Tao itself. When the dust had settled, what emerged at the core of these discoveries was something wholly original: a rigorous model for translating directly between what goes on in the mind and what takes place in the body.

HARMONY presents its ideas with remarkable clarity. The reader will come away fully appreciating and understanding Taoism both in terms of the book's radical new conclusions about the universal and in its gentle applicability to the personal struggles with harmony and naturalness in which we all engage. This latter task will be explored by means of a detailed "five element profile" which the reader will construct based on his or her own unique symptoms, quirks, feelings, and experiences. Learning to interpret the messages inherent in the states of the mind and the body empowers one both with self-knowledge and with a personal map that can be used to chart a course back toward harmony, using a tailored approach of Taoist yoga, beneficial diet, meditation, and self-massage of acupressure points. ... Read more

11. Taoism
by Ken Cohen
Audio CD: Pages (2004-11)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$18.39
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Asin: 1591792940
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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One of the West's few ordained Taoist priests introduces you to this ancient philosophy for effortless living on Taoism: Essential Teachings of the Way and Its Power. In easy-to-follow language, Ken Cohen reveals Lao Tzu's vast spiritual legacy, including: origins, philosophy, and religion; keys to ethical living, inner silence, and simplicity; Taoist meditations, prayers, and rituals, plus teachings on diet, poetry, feng shui, dream yoga; and much more. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Taoism
Great product even for those that are not beginners in Taoism.Ken gives a great and inspiring course.Strongly recommended and remeber that patience in learning is a must.This is something that I listen to often and enjoyed while commuting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Overview Of Taoism!!!
I have found the CD Program "Toaisim" by Ken Cohen to be a very good overview, of Toaism, it was easy to understand the fundamental's, and it provides a great look into Taoisim.
I also own Ken Cohen's "The Way of Giqong Training Program", the "Taosim" course is a great compliment to it also.

Wayne Thiltgen, Tulsa, Ok

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful introduction to many aspects of Taoism
This is a great overview of Taoism, wonderfully illustrating its origins, history, and modern practice. It is focused very much on encouraging an experience of the Tao rather than dry academic material. The academic material presented is done so as to enhance the experience of the Tao. He does a great job of presenting the seemingly arcane and complicated topics in digestible, bite-size chunks - even divination! It seems the author's specialities are feng shui and qi-gong. While other topics get a little bit of time, these two get a lot. I appreciated the author's inclusion of meditation exercises, but these things don't translate well to what I consider is the most common use of the audio CD: listening while driving. That said, I was impressed at his emphasis on cultivating tao and fostering an understanding of qi as relevant to all of the subtopics presented. I would recommend this CD/book to any friend interested in learning the basics of Taoism.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intelligible, Practical Presentation of Non-Western Thought
Ken Cohen, like his friend and mentor Alan Watts, is not only a clear, strong writer; but also an inspiring lecturer/teacher.

Taoism is a 4 1/2 hr. course covering Taoism as religion, as philosophy, its influence on thearts and science of China, and how it connects and contrasts with othersystems of thought, both Chinese and Western.

This course is presented ona practical basis with the goal of improving the quality of one's life andhealth.This is demonstrated right from the start with Ken Cohen's carefulenunciation of Chinese words.Because of the relational nature of Taoistthinking, some areas could be difficult or even strange, except for theexcellence of the presentation.

An unusual section is given on Chinese(Taoist) poetry.This type of poetry strives to express directly anexperience from Nature, the experience being more important than clevernesswith words.The principles are illustrated using Ken Cohen's owntranslations of classical poerty.Then he invites the listener to"cap" a poem by adding a line to one he provides.Finally thelistener is encouraged to try alternating lines with friends, the poemsfinishing themselves.

Feng Shui (geomancy) is presented through therelational "5 element" scheme.But it is also pointed out thatthe Earth can be considered to have "meridians" and by usingstanding meditation, one can relate the body's meridians to those of theEarth.

Not only for Feng Shui, but also for the other areas of Taoistthought, Ken Cohen emphasizes the bottom line is harmony, balance andsense.Anecotes drawn from a lifetime of study are included to helpdemonstate important ideas.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Taoism
These tapes cover Taoist philosophy perfectly. Ken Cohen is the best at explaining Taoism in an interesting way. If you want to learn Taoist meditations and Feng Shuei you will like it alot. ... Read more

12. The Tao of Teaching: The Ageless Wisdom of Taoism and the Art of Teaching
by Greta K. Nagel
Paperback: 240 Pages (1998-11-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$1.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452280958
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Tao of Teaching is for teachers, parents, and any others who are looking for a book of wisdom on how to deal with people, especially children, in a learning environment. The Tao of Teaching is written in the same style as the Tao Te Ching, and gives examples from the classrooms of three present-day teachers whom the author feels embody Taoist wisdom and "student-centered" educational methods. The Tao of Teaching is a labor of love, containing many important insights by a talented and respected professional whose emphasis is on the students' contribution in a learning environment, whatever the context. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars A philosophical look at teaching
This book is very philosophical and shows practical ways others have applied the ideas within.I found it to be a very easy read and each chapter stirred the brain juices.Have a notebook handy to jot down ideas.

While I do not agree with everything, and at times it felt like I was reading "How to be a Jedi and a teacher!" the book is a joy and worth the read.

Two warnings:First: This book is not based on any empirical evidence from researchers.It is solely based on the observations of the author in the classrooms of three teachers and how they unknowingly(?) have implemented the Tao in their teaching and how the Tao can influence your teaching.Second:If you do not believe the best learning comes from the student and not from the teacher, then you will gain very little from reading this book.You will think it hogwash that students could actually have ideas and take true responsibility for their education.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple Pleasures!
"The Tao of Teaching" is an excellent book for both new and old educators alike. Not only does Ms. Nagel provide beautiful interpretationsand wonderful explinations of the 81 principles of "Taoism" shedoes so through the every-day practices of teachers like ourselves. I foundthe book to be an excellent form of encouragement, helping me to searchdeep within myself to find those qualities that make me an efficientteacher. The book also provides practical examples of teaching in a waythat not only brings joy to the children, but also to ourselves. I highlyrecommend this book to all teachers and educators, of all religiousdenominations!

5-0 out of 5 stars TAO for us and our next generations
Lao Tzé, himself beeing a teacher. Greta Nagel, herself beeing a supervisor of lecturers, this book helps teachers to refind time, enthousiasm and inspiration for teaching children and learning themselvesabout the easy way of living without stress. ... Read more

13. Eastern Religions: Hinduism, Buddism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto
Paperback: 552 Pages (2005-05-06)
list price: US$24.99 -- used & new: US$10.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195221915
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This fascinating volume provides a concise, illustrated introduction to five of the great religious traditions of the world--Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. Buddhism, one of the world's great religious traditions, attracts millions of modern-day followers. Hinduism, one of the most ancient of all belief systems, is increasingly well known in the West through expatriate Indian communities. Taoism has been an important influence on Western thinking, especially through the impact of the Tao Te Ching. Confucianism, less metaphysical in its principles, emphasizes family values and the role of the individual within the state. And Shinto, distinctively Japanese in character, is the most animistic of the great religions, based on a belief in numerous individual spirits. The contributors explore a great variety of topics within these religions, including: the life of the Buddha; karma and rebirth; inspiring teachers and gurus; the life of Confucius; sacred Taoist texts; the epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharata; holy landscapes, shrines, and festivals; enlightenment; and--for all the faiths--the spiritual and ethical teachings, art and architecture, sacred writings, ritual and ceremony, and death and the afterlife. Also included are extracts from or summaries of historical texts, with author commentaries that explain the significance of each piece and place in its full context. Authoritative and accessible, Eastern Religions provides a gateway for all those in the West who wish to move one step closer to the spirit of the East. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Global Religions - lack of essence
The book gives for each of the religions; Hinduism, Buddism, Taoism, Confucianism and Shinto a good structure into main sections; Origins and history, aspects of the divine, sacred texts, ethical priciples, sacred space, death and afterlife and Society and religion. However within each section there is numereous detailed references to names, places, dates and texts.I miss an overview of each section of what is of importance and what has less significanse. Inserting for each section a missing link- an overview pinpoininting esseentials would make the book an recommendable textbook.

4-0 out of 5 stars great
I was extremely happy they expeditited this item for a low fee. Book was in good condition

5-0 out of 5 stars nice :3
Concise information, nice (and lots of) pictures, and NEVER boring! I really enjoyed using this book for my Eastern Humanities class. It was not at all what I had expected: it was not hard to understand, it was not boring, and it did assume that I already knew everything there was to know about Eastern religions.

So, all-in-all, I would recommend this book... even if you're not taking an Eastern religion class! It really clarifies a lot of myths and misconceptions about Eastern religions.

4-0 out of 5 stars an unusual introductory text
This Oxford publication seems best suited for a comparative world religion course.I found it in search of material for a unit on comparative world religion in my Sociology of Religion course, and I have used it several times now.I wish there was something comparable on Western Religions!EASTERN RELIGIONS is unorthodox in that it has the glossy pages and color photos typically found in a large-format textbook, but instead is in a 5" X 7.5" handbook format.It is 550 pages long, but with plenty of great photos, including reproductions of artwork, the actual text is nowhere near that long.

The organization of the sections is both the strength and the weakness.Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Shinto are covered, and for each there is a section on 1) Origins and Historical Development, 2) Aspects of the Divine, 3) Sacred Texts, 4) Sacred Persons, 5) Ethical Principles, 6) Sacred Space, 7) Sacred Time, 8) Death and the Afterlife, and 9) Society and Religion.

The strength of this approach, from a sociological standpoint, is that religious practices receive as much attention as religious doctrines and beliefs.For instance, Dipavali, the Necklace (or Festival) of Lights, which was recently celebrated, is covered in the Sacred Time sub-section of the Hinduism section.For instance Laozi, fabled author of the Tao te Ching, is worshipped as a god by Taoists in China, which I'm sure is news to many in the West who read the Tao te Ching as philosophy and are informed that Laozi may never have existed as a singular historical person at all.The reader learns of the Three Teachings tradition of China, which combines Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.Here's where the strength becomes a weakness, though -- the China expert has to write the Taoism and Confucianism sections separately, and so while some of the material overlaps (for instance qi, yin and yang), it remains unclear exactly how they are (or were) combined in the everyday life of the Chinese people, let alone how they combine with Buddhism which has a separate author altogether.And the Chinese "popular religion" is mentioned as well, but never explained at all, because it doesn't fit the framework.

Credit where credit is due:the Hinduism section is written by Vasudha Narayanan, Professor of Religion at the University of Florida, the Buddhism section is written by Malcolm David Eckel, Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University, the Shinto section is written by C. Scott Littleton, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and the sections on Taoism and Confucianism are written by Jennifer Oldstone-Moore, Assistant Professor (of what the book jacket does not say) at Wittenberg University in Ohio. ... Read more

14. Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face: Scripture, Ritual, and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China
by Christine Mollier
Paperback: 241 Pages (2009-06)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$21.31
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Asin: 0824834119
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Christine Mollier reveals in this volume previously unexplored dimensions of the interaction between Buddhism and Taoism in medieval China. While scholars of Chinese religions have long recognized the mutual influences linking the two traditions, Mollier here brings to light their intense contest for hegemony in the domains of scripture and ritual. Drawing on a far-reaching investigation of canonical texts, together with manuscript sources from Dunhuang and the monastic libraries of Japan - many of them studied here for the first time - she demonstrates the competition and complementarity of the two great Chinese religions in their quest to address personal and collective fears of diverse ills, including sorcery, famine, and untimely death. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Useful for Laypersons as well as the religious or scholarly
Mollier surveys a few of the 40,000-odd manuscripts found in a sealed chamber at Dunhuang, with a particular eye to the relations between Taoism and Buddhism.

Against a background of interfaith rivalry (in which Taoists could depict Lao-tzu reincarnating as Buddha to convert the foreigners, whilst Buddhists had Lao-tzu as Buddha's disciple) she unpicks some interesting stuff about similar doctrines appearing in the texts of the two different faiths. Buddhist longevity sutras turn out to have stolen their texts wholesale from Taoist originals; Taoism in return modelled an entire deity upon a Buddhist bodhisattva.

There is much local colour for anyone who has an interest in this kind of thing -- descriptions of witchcraft practices (watch out for 'gu'!) and use of the Big Dipper, etc., revealing morsels of practice and belief. Whole texts are translated; the scholarship is very able and at times wry.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good scholarly work
Very good scholarly work on the re-examination of ancient traditions

One comment: Some scriptures, e.g. Sutra for Pacifying Houses and Sutra of Incantations of the Eight Yang, probably have earlier Taoist versions. It's more likely the Buddhist versions were adapted from lost Taoist versions, since concepts like "Pacifying Houses" and "Yang" (as in "Yin-Yang") have much longer history in Taoist traditions. ... Read more

15. Taoism: The Parting of the Way
by Holmes Welch
Paperback: 208 Pages (1971-06-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$11.92
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Asin: 0807059730
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Called "a first rate piece of work" by T.S. Eliot, this book offers a comprehensive discussion of Taoism, one of the world's major religions, as well as a study of the Tao te ching, the best known Taoist text and Lao-tzu as a Taoist prototype."Clarifies a large area of literature and history that has been a mystery to the West and makes fascinating reading even for those whose interest is casual."-The New Yorker ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good book
Excellent older book on the Tao Te Ching and Taoism. Considering it's age and current scholarship it still definitely bears reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Overview
Holmes Welch has done what many authors have failed to do. He provided a clear frame for Taoism in its entirety. His broad scope covers the philosophical, religious, and "hygienic"(Qi Gong) elements of Taoism through China's long history, and explains how they came about, intertwined, and progressed into various sects well into modern times. Anyone new to Taoism would do well to start with this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro to Taoism
I have not found any book that discusses philosophical taoism and the Tao Te Ching as effectively as Mr. Welche's book.

The section on the development of Taoism as a religion can be taken as a cautionary tale on how a philosophical system can be (and often is) changed beyond recognition (and ruined) by turning it something that will be accepted by the masses.

The last page of the section on the Tao Te Ching that describes why philosphical taoism didn't succeed as a religion because of its ambiguity, darkness and uncertainty hit the nail on the head!Philosophical Taoism doesn't offer easy answers--or immortality.

As for the previous reviewer who said this was the worst book he had ever read, I would love to see his reading list.That kind of extreme statement presents for me an mindset totally incapable of comprehending what Mr. Welch was presenting--especially in the first two sections.

Yes, the book was written in the 50's--nothing better has been written as an introduction to the subject since.

4-0 out of 5 stars A valuable introduction
That Holmes Welch set himself a formidable task in offering a brief general introduction to Taoism is testified to by the lack of any other serviceable attempts on the part of Western writers to codify the vague, mystical, and powerful formulations of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching.

Welch's short book contains 4 parts. In the first part, he explains that the ambiguous nature of the ancient Chinese characters, compounded by the oftent inscrutable and paradoxical writing style of Lao Tzu himself, makes definitive translation and interpretation of the text impossible.

In the second part, he offers his own informed and wise interpretation of the the Tao Te Ching, explicating three inter-related central concepts: (1)the doctrine of 'wu-wei' (spontaneity and non-interference in action), (2)the concept of 'pu' (original human nature (literally 'the uncarved block'), the way of the newborn child as an ideal counterposed to the adult corruption introduced by society), and (3)the mystical experience of the 'tao', or 'way' of the universe through meditation.

In the third part, Welch lays out the bizarre history of the development of Taoism since Lao Tzu, its intersections with other religions, and its devolution into arcane practices of asceticism, alchemy, hygiene, and geomancy.

In the final section, Welch offers a reading of the relevance of Lao Tzu's teachings to the present day (c. 1950s) that now seems pretty dated and hackneyed.

I recommend the first 2 parts as a valuable and illuminating companion text for anyone reading the Tao Te Ching.

1-0 out of 5 stars Possibly the worst book I've ever read
When I first encountered this book nearly 30 years ago there were very few English language books about Taoism available for the non-specialist, general interest reader. Fortunately, there are now far more and far better choices available.

It doesn't take long for the reader to realize that Welch regards Taoism and the Tao Te Ching with condescension and contempt. Aside from many factual errors, nearly every page yields some interpretation that is patently absurd.

Throughout the book Welch disdainfully references the fruits of Taoist meditation and self-cultivation as mere "trance". I noted at least one instance where Welch left out the last lines of a translation from the Tao Te Ching to make his point stronger, but in so doing he totally distorted the meaning of the passage.

Welch's grasp of the most fundamental of Taoist terms and concepts is laughably childish and shallow. For instance, Part II, chapter 1 of this book is entitled "Inaction"--his translation of "Wu Wei". Therein Welch constantly accuses Lao Tzu of passivity and pacifism. As a scholar, you'd think Welch would know that Taoist temples are filled with images of warrior dieties and that they display swords and other marital implements and regalia as symbols of the conflict inherent in society and nature. Some of China's greatest military strategists were, of course, Taoists and Taoist philosophy is the foundation of many of the Chinese martial arts. Wu Wei would be far more accurately translated as "non-interference". Taoists are certainly aware that perhaps only in death is there "inaction".

Curiously, for a general book about Taoism, Welch devotes almost all of hisattention to (mis)interpreting Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching. There is little discussion of other essential figures such as Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu. Welch fails to acknowledge the extent to which Taoist philopshy and sensibilities have influenced and permeated every aspect of Chinese life and culture.

Welch's most astonishing statements are to be found in Part Four, in the latter part of this book:

"We [Americans]believe...that it is good to be vigorous, progressive, and forward looking, Lao Tzu believes it is good to be weak and to look inwards andbackwards. We believe that what America needs is dynamic, aggressive leadership. He prefers leadership that is listless and passive. We believe in keen competition. He believess in dull indifference. We believe in education. He considers it dangerous."

Welch therefore perfectly reflects the triumphalism, materialism, reductionism and positivism that permeated the zeitgeist of the 1950's. The world is a very different place now. Whatever the reason, Welch was unable to understand Taoism. It is unfortuante that he chose to write about a topic of which he had no useful understanding or insight and to thereby pass his ignoranceand bias on to his readers. It is unfortunate that his book is still in print to contribute further misunderstanding and distortion of Taoism and the Tao Te Ching.

Unfortunately, I have not encountered any book that provides a really good introdcutory overviewof Taoism.Eva Wong's: The Shambhala Guide to Taoism has a good deal useful information. It unfortunately lacks a discussion of basicTaoist concepts.

The Tao Te Ching continues to be publishedin an astonishing number oftranslations. Many of them are very poor translations. I've noted that many newer translations have a new age, politically correct flavor that may be stylish but is very inaccurate. A good and venerable translation is that of Lin Yutang and should be readily available inexpensively from used book dealers. The scholarly translation by Ellen Chen is useful but may be too daunting for the casaul reader.

Though not exhibiting any depth of scholarly knowledge, the books by John Blofeld are worthwhile as they contain a good deal of charming anecdotal material from his experiences visiting Taoist monasteries before the communist revolution in China. Blofeld provides a delightful glimpse of a world that is tragically gone forever.

A brief monograph by Julius Evola entitled, Taoism-The Magic, The Mysticism, is worth acquiring. Evola is a metaphyscian and esotericist rather than an academic sinologist. His insights into Taoism in this very short work are excellent. ... Read more

16. Historical Dictionary of Taoism
by Julian F. Pas
Hardcover: 480 Pages (1998-06-04)
list price: US$85.25 -- used & new: US$65.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810833697
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This reference book on Taoism, one of the major spiritual traditions of China, includes in its coverage both Taoist philosophy and Taoist religion. An introduction provides overall insight into Taoist development through the ages, while the dictionary itself is comprised of 275 entries that define Taoist concepts, scriptures, deities, practices, and personalities. Includes an extensive bibliography. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A very timely and valuable book
The book is unparalleled in a Western language. As it is intended for the serious researcher i do regret it does not carry one single Chinese character. It also could have included more on Chinese TraditionalMedicine, as there is a growing interest in the West, and as the knowledgeabout Chinese medicine is still extremely limited, mainly due to the factthat most practitioners do not know Chinese, neither the spoken language,nor the classical Writings. If anybody reading this can inform me about apractioner knowledgeable in Chinese language it would be very kind if youcould let me know. The author seems to have very extensive practical andacademic knowledge of Taoism. Greetings in de Dao,

Fang YuQing

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential English-language reference book.
The Historical Dictionary series published by Scarecrow Press includes some very fine works.Perhaps the best two are W. H. (Hew) McLeod's volume on Sikhism and this one by Julian F. Pas in cooperation with Man Kam Leungon Taoism. As a single volume desk-top quick reference it is unsurpassed. Pas utilizes his well-honed skills as a bibliographer to guide the readerthrough basic terms, concepts, and eras toward the works in which they arepresented or treated in more detail.Illustrations, charts, and bits ofcalligraphy are few but well selected.A user-friendly and reliable guide. ... Read more

17. Taoism and the Arts of China
by Stephen Little
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2000-11-30)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$294.00
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Asin: 0520227840
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Taoism and the Arts of China brings together a remarkable collection of art from one of China's most ancient and influential traditions. Produced to accompany the first major exhibition ever organized on the Taoist philosophy and religion, this opulent book includes more than 150 works of art from as early as the late Zhou dynasty (fifth-third century b.c.) to the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Many of these works are paintings that show the breathtaking range of style and subject that makes the Taoist heritage so rich. Sculpture, calligraphy, rare books, textiles, and ritual objects are also represented. Like the exhibition, the book is organized thematically. It begins with the sage Laozi (to whom the Daode Jing is attributed), and moves on to explore the birth of religious Taoism and the interaction between Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. A wealth of subjects are covered: the gods of the Taoist pantheon, ritual, the boundaries and intersections between Taoism and popular religion, Taoist Immortals and Realized Beings, the role of alchemy, sacred landscape and its significance, and Taoist temples and their architecture.Taoism and the Arts of China includes an engaging series of introductory essays by scholars with a deep understanding of their subjects. Among the topics discussed are a historical introduction to Taoism, archaeological evidence for early Taoist art, and a general introduction to the functions of art in religious Taoism. Lavishly illustrated with over 150 color images, this volume affords a sweeping view of an artistic terrain that until now has received too little exposure in the West. Its publication constitutes a major advance in Western understanding of this important tradition. Amazon.com Review
Taoism and the Arts of China, the catalog for a blockbuster show in Chicago, represents an explosion of recent research into Taoism, China's most important indigenous religion and one of the world's oldest mystical traditions. Western scholars and Chinese intellectuals have tended to regard Taoism as folk religion, colored by magic and superstition, yet it is based on a sophisticated philosophy dating back 2,500 years to the teachings of Laozi. Taoism has no supreme being, though gods and goddesses were invented to put a recognizable face on the infinite Void of the Tao ("the Way"). Matter and energy are regarded as interchangeable (as in modern physics).

To represent the art inspired by Taoism over the millennia, the Art Institute of Chicago brought together 151 ritual implements, paintings, sculptures, and documents from 50 national museums, temples, and private collections worldwide. These objects are divided into three sections in the catalog and used to illustrate Taoism's philosophical origins; its organization and ceremonies; and its development into popular religion. Lively captions explain the significance of each item; for example, a 2,000-year-old stone panel showing the supposedly historical meeting of Confucius and Laozi, after which an awed Confucius described Laozi as a dragon (a symbol of the Tao). Essays by five leading scholars place religious Taoism in the context of Chinese art and history--a complex task, lucidly handled. This is a landmark study. With popular Taoism rebounding in modern China, Taoism and the Arts of China presents truly pioneering scholarship, expanding our appreciation of a once unfashionable area of research. --John Stevenson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A scholarly and informative historical artwork survey
Enhanced with 190 color illustrations and 50 b/w photographs, Asian art expert Stephen Little's Taoism And The Arts Of China is an impressive, erudite compendium of art from one of China's most ancient and influential philosophical and religious traditions. This scholarly and informative historical artwork survey begins with the Zhou dynasty (fifth to third century B.C.E.) down to the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). With insightful essays by Kristofer Shipper, Wu Hung, Patricia Ebrey, and Nancy Steinhardt, Taoism And The Arts Of China is a core addition to any personal, academic, or community library art history, Asian Studies, or Taoism reference collection. This superbly presented art history is also available in hardcover (0-520-22784-0).

5-0 out of 5 stars The Magical Art of the Tao
The book Taoism and the Arts of China was compiled to accompany the first major exhibit of Taoist art, which I saw at the Art Institute of Chicago. These centuries-old works are astonishing. I couldn't get enough of the exhibit, and now I can't get enough of the book. Considerable scholarship went into both.

The curators begin with the sage Laozi and his cognition of an unmanifest source of creation, which is called the Tao, or "way." As the collection progresses, the viewer sees the universal principle of the Tao enter the weave of Chinese culture. The teaching becomes visibly more elaborate and eventually the Way becomes a religion, acquiring deities, priests, rituals, and magic elixirs. Like an alchemist in reverse, the cycle of time takes a transcendent reality and turns it into the denser element of doctrine, right before our very eyes.

Some say the artists that served Taoism mixed potent elixirs into the paints they used. Whether or not this is true, I couldn't stop looking at their work. I wish the printed page could capture the exquisite detail, color and charisma of the originals. Still, Taoism and the Arts of China achieves its purpose. I showed the book to friends at a dinner party. They huddled over it a while, then resolved to drive off that very night to reach Chicago by morning, the last day of the exhibit. It was the right idea. This art should not be missed. ... Read more

18. Creativity and Taoism: A Study of Chinese Philosophy, Art and Poetry
by Chung-Yuan Chang
 Paperback: 272 Pages (2011-02-15)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1848190506
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19. Taoism Way Beyond Seeking (Alan Watts Love of Wisdom)
by Alan Watts, Mark Watts
Paperback: 128 Pages (2001-10-01)
list price: US$10.00 -- used & new: US$8.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804832641
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars the dualism exposed
This is the best book on Taoism that i've read. Illuminates beautifully that seemingly murky yet wonderfully simple philosophy; full of wit, great examples and metaphors, inspiring and original ideas, and above all theslippery glint of truth, like catching sight of a fast fish moving in astream. (hmm...) His appropriately 'flowing' style is all the more flowingdue to the fact that these are talks that he gave, recorded by Mark Watts. ... Read more

20. Encyclopedia of Taoism (2 Volume Set)
Hardcover: 1551 Pages (2008-01-10)
list price: US$305.00 -- used & new: US$245.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0700712003
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Taoist studies have progressed beyond any expectation during the past decades. A number of important studies in different languages have investigated topics virtually unknown only a few years earlier, while others have surveyed for the first time textual, doctrinal and ritual corpora. These works have greatly increased our knowledge of Taoism, and have opened new paths to research. This volume builds on these works.
Both the content and format of this reference make it an extremely useful tool for scholars and students, who will be able easily to access historical, terminological and bibliographical information on a great number of subjects related to Taoism. The book reflects the current state of Taoist scholarship and contributes to further progress in this and related fields. It provides an accurate overview of Taoist history, thought, and religion through a wide selection of topics. Entries are cross-referenced and provided with bibliographical data. No work of this kind is available in a western language. 1750 entries arranged in alphabetical order will cover schools, texts, historical characters, divinities, practices, techniques, places, temples and important terms. The entries and the bibliography include Chinese and Japanese characters. The book includes a chronology of Taoism. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars I did not have the same problem
I did not have the same problem as the other reviewer.The item information clearly says "2 Volume Set" on this page, and when it arrived today, it came as two shrink-wrapped volumes.

The entries are lucid and authoritative, written by some of the best scholars in Taoist studies today, but I find that occasionally the contributors are unaware of developments outside their field.The entry on Guangcheng zi, for example, should have discussed the Warring-States manuscript "Rongcheng zi" (now housed in the Shanghai Museum) and its possible relevance.

1-0 out of 5 stars Amazon stupidly thinks that selling only volume one is good enough.
BEWARE GETTING RIPPED OFF when you buy this title. I had to go thru enormous hassle and return this book. Amazon advertises it misleadingly. The book title on the webpage has no words about "vol. 1" or "2 vols."The picture supplied by a customer (it seems) shows a "Vol. One" but hell, that is just a picture of one of the books. It doesn't mean "You ain't gonna get volume two." For the approx. $250 price, one should be supplied BOTH VOLS., not just vol. 1, which I rec'd and which has only 700 pp.The publisher lists the exact same title, but declares it as a 2-vol. set.Amazon later told me that they do not carry a vol. 2. Without vol. 2, the title is worthless. Better to buy it for $300 from the publisher. ... Read more

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