Everyday Tao : Living With Balance and Harmony
by Deng Ming-Dao
A insightful and practical discussion of Taoist themes.
Published by Harper San Francisco 1996, ISBN 0062513958 [Book PB]
Everday Tao provides an interesting exploration of Taoist themes that can be applied to everyday life. The book can be used as a companion to 365 Tao: Daily Meditations, or used on its own for contemplation and application to practical life.
Here is a sample page:
Dao. Tao, way, road, path, course, head, principle, doctrine, to speak. The character to the left means "to run." It is formed by combining the sign for "movement" (the diagonal lines) with the sign for "leg." The character on the right is a picture of a face—the vertical lines at the top represent tufts of hair, and the rectangle below represents the face.
Tao is a person running down a path.
The ancients who taught of Tao were simple, rustic people. They formed their view by walking in granite-bladed mountains, digging in grainy soil, and sailing down wide rivers. As they worked and traveled, they slowly discerned a grand order to life. They noticed the regular phases of the sun, moon, earth, and tides. They followed the seasons. The watched the births, lives, and deaths of people, as well as the rise and fall of kingdoms.
In the nights, the ancients sat beside open fires and spoke to those who wanted to learn. As illustrations of their ideas, and to aid their students' memories, they drew pictographs in the dirt. They taught their lessons from what they had experienced: life was a movement supreme—greater than the humans, greater than heaven and earth. Nothing was fixed, for everything—from the cycles of the sun and moonto the making and destroying of empires—showed endless, cyclical transformation. All this they summed up by drawing a picture of Tao: a person running along a path.
Those who want to study Tao can gain much from that simple image. It represents the organic movement of the cosmos as a great, balanced, and dynamic body in motion, just as it represents the path each of us follows through life. Sometimes intellectual definitions of Tao can be challenging. Returning to the image of Ta centers our contemplations.
Book PB reviewed by
Sunday, November 11, 2001
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