Like the happy, peaceful murmur of a stream, the wisdom and truth found in Colin Mallard’s Reflections, cascade effortlessly and ever so gently in to your hearts, there to remain in silence of direct understanding. Articulating the Way with ease, poise serenity and complete assurance, Colin’s own profound understanding and creative quietism shine forth on every page. If you yearn for peace, this the book to read perhaps just a page at a time so as to savor the blessings served after verse.
Who was Lao Tzu?
According to legend Lao Tzu lived in China 500 years before Christ. He was a contemporary of the Buddha and the reformer, Confucius. The story goes that Lao Tzu became disenchanted with the rules and regulations promulgated by Confucius and decided to leave China and find a place to live peacefully. He followed a trail that led to a pass in the mountains. There he came to the cabin of “the keeper of the pass.” who invited him to stay and rest. Sometime during his stay the keeper of the pass must have recognized Lao Tzu for he asked the sage to write down his understanding of life. Lao Tzu agreed. V/hat resulted is now known as the “Tao Te Ching.” It is considered one of the great spiritual classics of all time.
The wise man hears of Advaita, and at once becomes its embodiment; the ordinary man hears of Advaita, and half believes and half doubts; a foolish man hears of Advaita, and bursts out laughing.
Thus it is that in daily living, the path home seems to lead away from home; the short*cut seems too long; real strength appears weak; the easy way appears difficult; real happiness seems empty; true clarity seems obscure; genuine beauty goes unnoticed; the greatest love seems indifferent, and the greatest wisdom appears foolish.
The ultimate understanding means acceptance of what IS, including what might appear as a mistake or something half finished. Being permanently connected to the Source, honour and dishonour have no meaning for the man of understanding.
Strange it is, but the fact of life is that one seeks the Source— God and That is all there IS, anywhere and everywhere.
Through Cohn has come forth with great ease, a beautiful version of an old favorite.
This is a book that will always be welcomed as a guide to peace and harmony in daily living.
Forty years ago I came across the “Tao Te Ching.” I felt an immediate affinity for it. What the sage had to say was simple, straightforward and self-evident—which to me is the hallmark of truth. Since then the teachings have been engraved in my heart, particularly over the years I was privileged to sit at the feet of the Advaita Master, Ramesh S. Balsekar. As the rising sun illuminates all it touches, so Ramesh’s teaching illuminated Lao Tzu’s words.
This is not a new translation from the Chinese as I’m not familiar with the language. It came about as follows. From time to time I found myself reading the words of Lao Tzu, sometimes months would pass between readings. Each time I paid a visit, however, I invariably read aloud. Listening to what Lao Tzu had to say was like being in his presence. The utter simplicity of his teaching touched me deeply and a sense of peacefulness always accompanied each visit.
Lao Tzu is known as the father of Taoism. Although it is peculiar to China, the same basic teaching is found in India and is known as Advaita Vedanta, in Japan it is known as Zen and in the West as the Perennial Philosophy.
Three primary sources were used, a translation by D.C. Lau; Robert C Henricks, of the Ma-wang-tui texts, and the translation of Cia Fu Feng. I also drew on the free flowing rendition of Stephen Mitchell and the translation of Witter Bynner.
The “Tao Te Ching,” was written some twenty five hundred years ago and from a context, with one important exception, of a culture quite different from our own. The exception? In Lao Tzu’s time, as in ours, there was an emphasis upon rules and regulations that governed just about every aspect of daily life and thus inhibited one’s freedom and the natural spontaneity of things.
With more literal translations the teachings can appear somewhat archaic and obscure to those unfamiliar with the basic concepts of Taoism. The teachings are, however, both timeless and universal, and when removed from the trappings of time and culture they point to a profound understanding of life, the utter simplicity of which enables one to live in effortless harmony.
In formulating this version of Lao Tzu’s great spiritual classic I used the aforementioned translations to highlight and corroborate key points the master was making. What follows are Lao Tzu’s gems as I have understood them. May you find them as illuminating as I have.
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