Apr 20, 2010

The middle way

The Way of Life by Lao Tzu changed my life.

I only read it once, as part of college studies in the history of religion, around 1970. I will have to re-read it to see if the breadcrumb trail is there at all, but as I recall the book was the foundation of a philosophy called "the middle way." To avoid excess or zealotry, to embrace the path rather than yearn for the goal, to seek moderation and not the extreme...these are the things I remember, and I wonder how far I am from what is actually there.

Mine is an English translation by Wittner Bynner, copyright 1944, a Capricorn Books paperback from 1962. Only 81 stanzas, just 75 pages even with Bynner's intruduction, and many lovely black-and-white illustrations.

Less can truly be more.

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