These two volumes contain the complete James Legge translation of the sacred writings of the great mystical religion that for millennia has counterbalanced the official Confucianism of the Chinese state. Together with the Confucian canon, these writings have been avidly studied by generations of Chinese scholars and literary men and their place in the formation of Chinese civilization is central.
First published as volume xxxix and xl of Max Müller's Sacred Books of the East series, these volumes contain the complete texts of the Tao Te Ching attributed to Lao Tzü; the writings of Chuang Tzü; and several shorter works; the T'ai Shang or Tractate of Actions and Their Retributions, the Ch'ing Chang Ching or Classic of Purity, the Yin Fu Ching of Classic of the Harmony of the Seen and Unseen, the Yü Shu Ching or Classic of the Pivot of jade, and the Hsia Yung Ching or Classic of the Directory for a Day. Many of these lesser documents are to be found in translation only in this collection.
Professor Legge, who held the chair in Chinese language and literature at Oxford for 20 years, introduces the collection with a discussion of differences among Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, the authorship of the Tao Te Ching, the real meaning of Tao in Chinese thought, and other backgrounds.
Orientalists and students of religion have long recognized this collection as indispensable. But laymen will find that the Tao Te Ching is not only profound but provocative and stimulating and that the parables and tales in the work of Chuang Tzü are delightful reading.
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