The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese book of proverbs written circa 600 BCE – which is just long enough ago it isn’t possible to determine the author with certainty. In fact, it is debated whether it was written by a single person. The oldest copy of the work was discovered only twenty years ago in a tomb, written on bamboo tablets.
The form of the book familiar to the modern world dates from English translations made near the turn-of-the-century. However, the many versions discovered indicate the work may have at one time existed as a fluid work; that it was broken into verses and rearranged over time.
Because it is a small work, I was tempted to read it in a single sitting. I don’t think this is the best way to appreciate it. Better to digest it in bite-sized pieces and take time to consider different levels of meaning. I found some proverbs more meaningful than others.
I got a newly-minted audio version with commentary I plan to read next. But my favorite transmission takes place every Thursday morning – me kneeling on my cushion with eyes closed and right foot nestled in the sole of my left while one of my fellow Qigong practitioners reads aloud a selection of her choice.by