Tao Te Ching is one of the most famous books of Chinese history. The presupposition about this book is that it was written by Lao Tzu also known as “Old Master” in China approx twenty five hundred years ago. There are different opinions about the existence of the writer and time of the book. Some scholars deny the existence of Lao Tzu while a few say that when Buddha was talking about Dharma in India at the same time Lao Tzu was talking about Taoism in China. There are disputes among scholars regarding when the book was created. The literal meaning of this book is Tao means way, Te means the virtue and Ching means Classic or the great book.
The Tao Te Ching is considered the pedestal of Taoism which made a huge impact on China then and later. Though it talks about Taoism principally but has strongly influenced other school of thoughts simultaneously, existed then in china. The book has witnessed many kingdoms and after journey of centuries, it is available today in a poetic form, divided into 81 chapters. The Book is about philosophy, Taoism, country and talks about the practical things of common life. The book is concise but not very easy to understand for everybody. It talks about kings and people both but in a bit indistinct way. One suggestion is applicable for the various class of people but not always and it depends upon their interpretation, how they interpreter and use it for their purpose. Tao Te Ching is an Ocean and to understand the book one has to enter into it otherwise it is not possible to understand the hidden and mysterious lessons given by the book. Tao tries to pacify the mysteries and illusions regarding the book by saying that confusions are like a teacher not in respect of this book only but in common life also. One learns a lot when his confusions are mollified by a teacher, a book or by experience. Western scholars say that this book is a typical example of Eastern illusive, mysterious philosophy that is too firm to understand easily but Tao contradicts this by saying that confusions and problems are all over the same and they needs to be pacified by an adroit teacher. The book is easy to understand by the people who have a clear vision and a peaceful heart.
In the first chapter of this book it is said that the ascertained way one can go is not the eternal way and the name one can named is not the lasting name. The book is very philosophical, based on the interpretations and according to ones emotions and state of mind it provides the meanings. Many scholars have addressed the book as mystery of mysteries. It says about Tao that Tao has no name, no limitations, no restrictions about language, Tao is overwhelming.
The author, in the book has recognized the power and importance of female and had said that both should be complimentary to each other. In the book equal rights for both male and female have been suggested by the author of ancient times. The author has mentioned and recognized the importance of nature also in the book and praises her role in a thankful way.
In the book, beginning of the civilization, circumstances of that time has been imagined and talked about. The author has described the limitation of life and stiffness of death which is again against the common and conventional views. Such unusual things are very mysterious and unless read and understood with proper attention, it is not an easy task to understand them but once understood this is very amusing. The author has mentioned in the book weakness as the only quality while returning but not going forward is a motion.
At every step the author has used unusual and philosophical language and it is the mental aptitude and a peaceful mind of the readers which plays an important role in understanding the book. The author has mentioned about the existence of nothingness or emptiness in this book. To understand the power of emptiness one will have to understand the Chinese myths and their culture. The author has no heart of his own; he claims in the book and instead of his heart he uses people’s heart as his own. This approach is very helpful from a king’s perspective, he can feel the problems or pain by others using their heart, and probably the visionary author also hinted the king to follow this approach in their individual life so that the king could rule the country with the full cooperation of the people.
The author of the book encourage others to gain the knowledge, according to author self gained knowledge is the best, a person can get and it helps in attaining the ultimate goal of life and through this one can not only help himself but he can help others. The author in this book has said several times that knowledge and wisdom are the means to gain the objective .
Guin, Ursula K. Le. Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1997.
Star, Jonathan. "BUREAU OF PUBLIC SECRETS." bopsecrets. 5 October 2011