So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Hua Hu Ching: The Teachings of Lao Tzu

Hua Hu Ching: The Teachings of Lao Tzu by Lao Tzu and Brian Walker


Most people who have heard of Lao Tzu know him through his book the Tao Te Ching, a fundamental Taoist text. The authorship and history of the Tao Te Ching is still being debated. And so it is also the case for the Hua Hu Ching which is also often attributed to Lao Tzu. The text has come down to us largely through oral tradition although fragments, although a partial manuscript was discovered in a cave in China.< In 1979 the first English translation by Hua-Ching Ni of the Hua Hu Ching was published by Shambhala Press under the title Hua Hu Ching : The Later Teachings of Lao Tzu.
This 1992 translation of the Hua Hu Ching by Brian Walker, who is famous for his highly accessible translation of the Chinese text The I Ching or Book of Changes: A Guide to Life's Turning Points, is equally accessible to Western readers. Having not read Hua-Ching Ni's translation, I cannot compare the two. However, I have read various translations of the I Ching, and I can agree that Walker's translation makes a very good starting point for a Western reader to the concepts outlined in the text. I found it inspiring and only slightly unclear in certain spots where I felt a Glossary with fuller descriptions of certain terms would have been helpful. E.g. he seems to translate "Tao" as "The Integral Way" without ever sitting the reader down and explaining either term. It is a wonderful companion to the Tao Te Ching and I recommend it to anyone who, after reading the Tao Te Ching, wants to find something else to read to get more information.

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