by Gia-Fu Feng
and Jane English
This twenty-eighth in a series of calendars uses selections from the best-selling translation of Tao Te Ching, by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, and from their edition of Chuang Tsu: Inner Chapters. Both books are illustrated with his calligraphy and her photographs.
The Tao in Color
For many years, Jane English and I have shared the same appreciation and wish to transmit the ineffable Tao through poetry, movement, and visual images. And I have admired her intuitive ways of revealing the Tao essence in so many of her inspiring photographs. Through the images, together with her uniquely personal understanding and perceptions, she helps us enter into the heart and soul of the living philosophy of Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tsu’s Inner Chapters, two of the most important Tao classics. Some may still prefer the Tao essence to remain plain and simple, austerely black and white, but I am delighted that Jane has ventured into another dimension of expression – the full color spectrum – with these marvelous images. This is just as nature has intended for our eyes to see, and it allows our spirits to soar. — Chungliang Al Huang
The Tao Te Ching, the esoteric but infinitely
practical book written most probably in the sixth century B.C.
by Lao Tsu, has been translated more frequently than any work
except the Bible. Lao Tsu, an older contemporary of Confucius,
was keeper of the imperial archives at Loyang in the province
of Honan. All his life he taught that "the Tao that can be
told is not the eternal Tao;" but, according to ancient legend,
as he was riding off into the desert to die sick at heart
at the ways of men he was persuaded by a gatekeeper in northwestern
China to write down his teaching for posterity.
The essence of Taoism is contained in the eighty-one chapters of the book roughly 5,000 words which have for 2,500 years provided one of the major underlying influences in Chinese thought and culture, emerging also in proverbs and folklore. Whereas Confucianism is concerned with day-to-day rules of conduct, Taoism is concerned with a more spiritual level of being.
Chuang Tsu: Inner Chapters is a companion volume
to the Tao Te Ching. Very little is known about Chuang
Tsu and that little is inextricably woven into legend. It is said
that he was a contemporary of Mencius, an official in the Lacquer
Garden of Meng in Honan Province around the fourth century B.C.
Chuang Tsu was to Lao Tsu as Saint Paul was to Jesus and Plato
While the other philosophers were busying themselves with the practical matters of government and rules of conduct, Chuang Tsu transcended the whang cheng, the illusory dust of the world-thus anticipating Zen Buddhism's emphasis on a state of emptiness or ego transcendence. With humor, imagery and fantasy, he captures the depth of Chinese thinking. The seven "Inner Chapters" presented in this translation are accepted by scholars as being definitely the work of Chuang Tsu. Another twenty-six chapters are of questionable origin; they are interpretations of his teaching and may have been added by later commentators.
24 color photos of nature,
12 with Chinese calligraphy
12" x 12" wall calendar (24" tall open)
Published by Amber Lotus
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