'Daodejing' by Laozi

Perhaps less recognisable using the Pinyin spelling (you may know it as the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu), this may be a strange choice of book for a review. Nonetheless, I read it again recently with a better understanding of its meaning than the first time I read it, because of certain lectures and other events at my kung fu club.

This is one of the quotes that always made sense to me, and makes even more sense now, as I learn a new pattern bit by bit:

Plan what is difficult while it is yet easy; Undertake what is great while it is yet small / Tasks that are difficult in the world are sure to begin from what is easy; Tasks that are great in the world are sure to begin from what is small.

This also brings to mind the well-known saying, 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.' Indeed, this is in the following chapter as:

An ascent of 100 paces begins beneath your foot.

At first reading, the Daodejing appears to go against the grain of everything we in the West have come to understand, but when you realise that the Chinese civilisation has been unbroken for several thousand years and that this civilisation has been based on an understanding of the world which is laid out in the Daodejing, it all begins to fall into place, and certainly much of what is involved in learning kung fu becomes clearer.

This edition, from Oxford World's Classics, is not only accessible but it is also beautiful. It's not very long and, if you can indeed understand even a little of its message, life may become slightly less blurred than it was before.

Tags: