The original Daoist sages claimed to follow a rational way based on the observation of nature. Thus the sun shines on all alike, so the sages treat everyone the same; they do not form a separate sect but live amongst the people. They shine with a tempered light so as not to eclipse the sun and the moon. They never have any problems because they deal with them in their earliest and weakest beginnings, before they can take hold. Everything in nature is born, grows, matures, declines and becomes brittle and senile. So it is with all civilisations, institutions and history, and the primordial wisdom of Dao is applicable to all times and places.
This main part of the book consists of a selection of texts of the pure Daoism of the ancient writings attributed to Lao Zi, (Lao-tzu), Lie Zi, Zhuang Zi (Chuang-tzu), Huai Nan Zi and Guan Yin Zi. Derek Bryce has provided a brief but meaningful introduction; his aim being to let the texts speak for themselves; and the readers to form their own opinions.
The translations are by Derek Bryce and Léon Wieger. The great orientalist Ananda Coomaraswamy, writing in the second half of the twentieth century, named Léon Wieger amongst a handful of western scholars whom he considered to have had a good understanding of the subject; two of them were French, the others German.
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