Reddit mentions: The best eastern religions books

We found 511 Reddit comments discussing the best eastern religions books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 204 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

2. The Tao Is Silent

The Tao Is Silent
Sentiment score: 5
Number of mentions: 16
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16. Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching
Sentiment score: 3
Number of mentions: 10
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u/Catch11 · 1 pointr/NoFap

I'm glad you found some sense of solace in my story and advise. And i gladly read your rant. Which i dont see as a rant because it was well thought out and and informative. I also know what you mean about the codependency and your life being put on hold until she contacts youNow that being said where do i begin....I think i will first adress your priorities and goals, then the tao te ching, then i will bring it all together.

what i meant that in true love the one you love is more important than your goals but not more important than yourself. When i say you must love the other more than your goals what i mean by that is. Is the goals that dont make you, a better version of yourself, you can cast aside for your beloved. For example if training to win a gold medal is getting in the way of your relationship. Cast aside your attempt at glory, it will do you no good. If training to be a better healthier more loving calm version of yourself gets in the way of your relationship. Try and work the relationship around it. Because something you do which betters yourself should never get in the way of your relationship.

Regarding the tao te ching specifically. What i got from it was a sense of calmness and a philsophy which will allow me to better myself while bettering the world around me. that being said "the eternal tao is not the tao which can be spoken"...tao translates somewhat as "the way". One can interpret this as meaning the advice telling you how to do things can never be the advice for all situations. That being said. Everytime one reads the entire tao te ching in its entirety (its about an hour long read) one can sort of feel the tao rather than know it mentally. (There is a difference). Now regardining chi gong, chi gong is based off of daoism which comes mostly from the tao te ching and another book written by Lao Tzu's disciple. All these teachings will make one a better person. But one must practice them on a daily basis. Kind of like how one must eat everyday to maintain the body. One must practice things everyday which maintains the mind.

To draw this all together. That which is good for you and makes you a happier productive person that spreads happiness to others, is also good for the world. I will give you a few bits of advice if you want to go down the taoist path (i mean the philosophy more than the religion. i dont practice the distorted religion that sprouted from it).

  1. Be careful of any of the newer schools of taoism. The original taoism was not sexist and was very relaxed. Throughout years kind of how people tainted the teachings of christianity. Some people tained taoism

  2. Be careful of looking up chi gong teachers on youtube or online. Most are either old chinese guys who practice properly but dont speak english. Or white guys who dont know the proper teachings but just want your money

  3. When you read the tao te chin, if your like me halfway through you will think "this is the same shit repeating itself i get it by now" keep reading at the end you will feel it more than know it. Which is more important.

  4. Chi gong and taoism would say the more you know yourself the more you know your body and what to eat. That being said, i would suggest no longer eating processed sugars, and not drinking lactose if you have even a minor allergy (80 percent of people have at least a minor allergy to lactose). Healthy foods give you a more balanced and healthy mood which affects how you treat others.

  5. I suggest you grow out your hair, i havent done all the research yet, but for some reason people who grow out their hair, especially men, seem to be calmer and more well put together. My theory on this is one must be calmer and more put together to deal with the stress of managing long hair and going against societal expectations for men. p.s. all the best white guy who are good at basketball had long hair...coincidence? and all the best black guys were bald (accepting the loss of their hair) or had long hair.

    6.Yeah i really dont know what else to say i have said a lot. not sure if you want more of my story and personal journey. Because as bad as your situation sounds. I have been in your boat and gotten back together with a girl, and the situation im in right now is even worse but im pretty sure in the future at sometime i can get back with the woman i love the most in the world, of the woman i've met if i improve myself.

    Links 1.(the tao te ching)

    \2.The only good chi gong i found online. Very simple. focus on your breathing while you do it every morning. Your habits make you who you are.

    3. books to read. Embryonic breathing

    4. the 7 taoist masters.

    last piece of advice is just to reiterate. your habits make you who you are. not your accomplishments.

    Good luck (: Let me know if theres anything more you want me to tell you or share. Or if you have any questions (:

    oh also the girl i got back with...she came back to me. in my opinion its ok to talk to the mutual friend but not to your ex. until your ex acts like she wants to talk to you. but if you havent gotten yourself together to the point where you feel you can live without her, maybe not as happy as with her, but still happy. Just tell her you are working on yourself, and you dont feel ready to talk.
u/BBBalls · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

I had kind of a hard time thinking about a response I felt good about. Below are resources roughly sequenced as "stages". All the resources are within or related to the Theravada tradition. I tried to keep everything free. When a preferred resource is not free, I include a free alternative. Buddhism is very much a practice, so when instructions are given put them into practice the best you can. There is also a need to understand why you are practicing, so there is a need to understand Buddhist theory. Some of these resources might not be seem immediately applicable to you, which is fine, just think of it as being similar to reviewing a map before going on the hike. This small collection of selected resources may seem overwhelming, but learning the dhamma is a long process, so there is no hurry to read or listen to everything. It is like walking through mist, you don't necessarily notice getting wet. I just want to reiterate that practicing is very important. Buddhism is about doing, and to lesser degree about acquiring book knowledge. One caution, I put several different meditation styles below; go a head and experiment with them, but figure out which one fits you best and stick with it for a while. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer skillfully. Remember that persistence will bring rewards. Good luck.


"Stage 1"

With Each & Every Breath: A Guide to Meditation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana [not free] (Free older version)

Noble Strategy by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

The Buddha’s Teachings: An Introduction by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

"Stage 2"

In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi [not free] (A free "clone" can be found at It has all of the introductions Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote, but uses free translations of the suttas)

The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations translated by Gil Fronsdal [not free] (A free and reliable translation of the Dhammapada by Anandajoti Bhikkhu)

"Stage 3"

The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya translated by Bhikkhu Nanamoli & Bhikkhu Bodhi [not free] (Free translations of all of the Majjhima Nikaya suttas can be found at Thanissaro Bhikkhu has translated a free anthology of the Majjhima Nikaya called Handful of Leaves, Volume II: an Anthology from the Majjhima Nikaya)

The Wings to Awakening: An Anthology from the Pali Canon by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


"Stage 1"

Introduction to Meditation is an audio course by Gil Fronsdal.

Basics is collection of talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

The Buddha's Teaching As It Is: An Introductory Course is a series of talks by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Eightfold Path Program is a series of talks by Gil Fronsdal.

Four Noble Truths is a series by Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella.

"Stage 2"

Don't eat your fingers. Seriously though, just listen to talks and get a better feel for the dharma.

"Stage 3"

Seven Factors of Awakening is a series of talks by Gil Fronsdal.

A Systematic Study of the Majjhima Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Resources:(There are a huge number of great resource. Below are the ones I frequent or have frequented)


Talks: (huge variety of teachers have talks here), (Thanissaro Bhikkhu has a huge catalog of talks. He has a straight forward style.), (Gil Fronsdal has very accessible teaching style. He presents the dharma in an almost secular way, but doesn't doesn't diminish it in the process.)

Video: Buddhist Society of Western Australia (Ajahn Brahm is a much loved and accessible teacher), Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu (Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu has a very calm demeanor, and does live Q&A regularly, StudentofthePath (Bhikkhu Jayasara is a recently ordained monk and is an active redditor, u/Bhikkhu_Jayasara), Dhammanet (Bhikkhu Sujato has "loose" and friendly teaching style, but is a serious scholar.)

u/robot_one · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I tried to reply to this a lot sooner, both times I backspaced and went back a page, clearing the comment. Sorry I'm getting back to it so late. I'm a science major, so I'm taking a very objective approach to this stuff, practicing wholeheartedly but not unrealistic about it.

I saw a few videos, like the one I linked above, that alone could have been faked, but all together started to point to something awesome. Digging deeper, I found that the common variable in the equation was Taoism. The theory is that chi (read: energy) can let you do awesome stuff. Stuff like heating your hands up the 200 degrees (see above video), lighting shit on fire, awesome martial arts skills, as well as healing, acupuncture, etc. And if anything, I wouldn't be at a loss, since there have been scientific studies that report positive results for meditation. I should note, the ultimate goal in it is to refine your chi to shen (read: energy into spiritual energy) and become a 'higher' spirit. (This isn't an arrogant, I'm spiritually better than you thing, Daoists believe that there is an infinite amount of room to grow, and that no level is better than the other. No point to practice other than the fact that you enjoy it.)

So now to start addressing questions directly.

How are they related? The extra energy you store up while trying to become an immortal allows you to do awesome shit. (Immortal; though many Taoists have lived into very old age, longevity is not the goal, immortal refers to spiritual immortality, or, breaking the cycle of reincarnation and moving onto the next realm.)

Physical feats that I do? I'm probably most proud of holding the qigong poses for a long time, those are painful. But I'm pretty athletic, so I do fun stuff, slack lines, swimming, rope climbs - but as I said, semi-impressive stuff, but nothing mind blowing - stuff that anyone could do if they put their mind to it.

Awesome books on the lives of two Taoist masters are Chronicles of Tao and Opening the Dragon Gate. Both true stories, both tout some amazing shit.

I've really invested myself in this stuff, finding teachers (traveled to China and blah blah blah) and learning as much as I can. I have a daily practice now, so I do not need much face time with my (current) teacher. Only downside, a lot of the practices require celibacy. My progress goes to shit when my girlfriend is around. But doing what makes you happy is the most important, and as much as I love qigong, being around my girlfriend is a lot more enjoyable.

Edit line: I'm sure I'll proofread and edit this later.

u/GarrMateys · 6 pointsr/philosophy

I've heard it said that Western Philosophy is all footnotes to Plato. That is, discussions stemming from the things that Plato first wrote about, and generally staying within the framework that he established. Now I'm not saying it's 100% accurate, but I do think that Western Philosophy has a pretty unified tradition, where thinkers can refer to a rather set canon, and there is a long history of people responding to their predecessors. The west didn't really discover Eastern Philosophy until the eighteenth or nineteenth century (this is not exactly true, but accurate enough for my point here), by which time there was a deep tradition established, and academic philosophy as we know it was pretty set. So there wasn't a lot of room for Eastern thinkers to squeeze into the canon. Also, it has to be said, the West first encountered Eastern Philosophy in an imperialist way- these were the philosophies of the conquered "savages" (from the 18th century perspective), and were largely not deemed worthy of study.

Also Also, Eastern thinkers didn't engage in a lot of Western arguments. The assumptions that a Lao Tzu makes means that the Tao and the Bible (or plato, or whoever you want) kind of talk past each other more than they talk to each other. I mean, there's some really interesting attempts by the first europeans who translate the Tao, where they're trying to figure out if Taoism is some sort of Chinese "knowledge" of the Christian God. They were so far apart that it was mostly mutual incomprehension, for a good while.

So for western thinkers, it seems to be that Philosophy was a good game that we'd been playing for hundreds of years, and Chinese/Asian philosophers were playing a different game. Asking "why don't western philosophers know chinese philosophy?" is kinda like asking "why don't football players shoot 3 pointers?". It's not an exact comparison, and I think that there is increasing blending of the two (Wittgenstein seems fairly eastern to me in places), and I think articles like these are part of this blending effort. Just my 2 cents.

If anyone is interested in learning more about Chinese/Asian thinkers, I really enjoyed this series:

"Great Minds of the Intellectual Tradition"

from the Great Courses series. I listened to the whole thing on Audible in like a week when I was stocking shelves on the night shift. It's a really broad overview, but it has great context/starting points for further exploration. Highly recommended.

u/Werunos · 10 pointsr/Megaten

Okay so

I'll divide this into a few sections, assuming you can only speak English and want books in a somewhat reasonable price range.

Though if you're at uni or have access to a uni library: make the most of it.

Oh yeah before I forget, as a general rule, if you're reading an explanation or exploration of a culture's beliefs or stories, find something written by someone who comes from the actual culture if you can. It's always best as a foreigner to have your first insight being from someone who's grown up with it. Avoid people like Alan Watts like the fucking plague. Though of course actual academics on the mythology and religion generally write quite well about them.

First up, Shintoism.

The perfect primer for Japanese mythology is the oldest book extant in Japan's history: the Kojiki. In English, you really cannot go past the Philippi translation. It is incredibly comprehensive with cross referencing and explaining basically any term you could want to know. Philippi explains the history of the book, the intracies of the language involved, and competing theories regarding contentious points alongside with the translation. The one downside here is that it's rather pricey. The book is out of print due to copyright issues, so you can only really get it for around $100 at the lowest. Still, it's a pretty great resource. A word of warning though, there are a lot of boring chapters in the Kojiki if you're interested in myths. Part of the reason why the Kojiki and the Nihongi were commissioned at the time was to legitimise imperial rule, so you have a lot of chapters that just talk about lineage, connecting the Imperial family back to Amaterasu. "Emperor Steve was born in this year, had six kids with three wives and died. He was succeeded by Emperor Greg." Stuff like that.

If you want something that isn't a primary text and is a little more accessible, The Kami Way is supposed to be quite good. It's very cheap, written by two academics (one from Japan one from the West), and quite short, making it easy to dive into. The one downside is that it's a little old, so its scholarship might not be quite as current as some other books.

Next up, Hinduism.

Hinduism is fucking terrifying to tackle because there is just so much stuff on it. Keep in mind that Hinduism is more a collection of belief systems than one unified belief system, keep in mind that it has an incredibly well preserved written and oral history, keep in mind that it's an offshoot of one of the oldest attested religions on Earth... there's a lot here.

and then you have the five hundred books written by western people about the TRUE way to Awaken Your Chakras

Now two of the most important texts here are the Rig Veda and the Upanishads. The Rig Veda is one of the oldest religious texts in the world, a collection of religious hymns. Until recently, there was no good full translation into English. Sure you can find one on the Sacred Texts website but... it's crap from 19th century England. Scholarship was not the same then as it is now. However, in 2014, an absolutely fantastic resource was completed. It is the full Rig Veda, unabridged, with commentary on every single one of over a thousand hymns. The poetry sings, the commentary is insightful... and it costs 400 american dollars all up. I only got to read these through my university library.

There's a few good Upanishad translations for cheap though. A lot shorter too, normally clocking it at only around 500 pages. I picked one up from Oxford World's Classics. This is pretty essential if you want to understand what the Brahman concept from Digital Devil Saga actually is.

In terms of a general introduction though, probably this book is the best. It's a pretty thorough overview that covers the history of Hinduism from ancient times to today, the mythology of it, etc.

Next, Buddhism.

Buddhism has a similar problem to Hinduism in terms of scope, though somewhat less pronounced, as Buddhism is genuinely just one belief system, separated into sects that are much more comparable to Christianity's variations. You do probably get even more "Namaste Bro" type people with Buddism than you do Hinduism though.

My knowledge here isn't as much up to scratch though, as up til now I've read more about the practice and history of Buddhism as opposed to going in depth about the mythology and cosmology of it all, which I only really know on a very superficial level. I'm trying to change that right now though; it's super interesting to learn what Hindu gods became in the Buddhist belief system, and how they evolved further upon reaching Japan.

If you're looking more into the mythology side of things, don't read something like the Dhammpada, which is a sayings text. Of course it's interconnected, but you'll probably want something a bit more direct.

I'd recommend again going to an academic text rather than straight into the three baskets. And in this case, I'd recommend this book, which I picked up purely because of a certain coincidence and have found very interesting. By framing it around the cosmology of Buddhism, this book naturally leads into talking about Buddhist deities, and other things you're more likely to be interested in, without skimping on explanation about how this connects to the Buddhist belief system.

Finally, Taoism

all i can recommend you here is the tao te ching and the zhuangzi, get them with a good commentary, i don't know enough about other texts that explain taoism to recommend any

That's about what I'd recommend. If anyone wants to suggest any improvements to this list please do!

u/simism66 · 1 pointr/Psychonaut

Beyond the obvious choices, Watts' The Book, Ram Dass' Be Here Now, Huxley's Doors of Perception, Leary’s The Psychedelic Experience, and of course Fear and Loathing (all of these should be on the list without question; they’re classics), here are a some others from a few different perspectives:

From a Secular Contemporary Perspective

Godel Escher Bach by Douglass Hofstadter -- This is a classic for anyone, but man is it food for psychedelic thought. It's a giant book, but even just reading the dialogues in between chapters is worth it.

The Mind’s Eye edited by Douglass Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett – This is an anthology with a bunch of great essays and short fictional works on the self.

From an Eastern Religious Perspective

The Tao is Silent by Raymond Smullyan -- This is a very fun and amusing exploration of Taoist thought from one of the best living logicians (he's 94 and still writing logic books!).

Religion and Nothingness by Keiji Nishitani – This one is a bit dense, but it is full of some of the most exciting philosophical and theological thought I’ve ever come across. Nishitani, an Eastern Buddhist brings together thought from Buddhist thinkers, Christian mystics, and the existentialists like Neitzsche and Heidegger to try to bridge some of the philosophical gaps between the east and the west.

The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way by Nagarjuna (and Garfield's translation/commentary is very good as well) -- This is the classic work from Nagarjuna, who lived around the turn of the millennium and is arguably the most important Buddhist thinker after the Buddha himself.

From a Western Religious Perspective

I and Thou by Martin Buber – Buber wouldn’t approve of this book being on this list, but it’s a profound book, and there’s not much quite like it. Buber is a mystical Jewish Philosopher who argues, in beautiful and poetic prose, that we get glimpses of the Divine from interpersonal moments with others which transcend what he calls “I-it” experience.

The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila – this is an old book (from the 1500s) and it is very steeped in Christian language, so it might not be everyone’s favorite, but it is perhaps the seminal work of medieval Christian mysticism.

From an Existentialist Perspective

Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre – Not for the light of heart, this existential novel talks about existential nausea a strange perception of the absurdity of existence.

The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus – a classic essay that discusses the struggle one faces in a world inherently devoid of meaning.

I’ll add more if I think of anything else that needs to be thrown in there!

u/Secret_Life_of_Trees · 2 pointsr/taoism

You've made some excellent points. I don't read the metaphysical aspects as literal either, but as metaphors. (Although in a sense, the mind-body-energy interplay of Shen-Jing-Qi is being validated by modern science. This isn't to say that all references to Shen-Jing-Qi are correct.)

When I first read this text, which I do believe is the Harold Roth translation, my main takeaway was a newfound appreciation for the term De (Te). I actively seek out the word in other Taoist texts and read it with a new understanding. I'm going to quote from this website, but I would also recommend reading more about Roth's interpretations in Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism.

On De (Te): "One meaning could be: follow the path of an upright heart, perhaps our innate nature. The Chinese, Taoists in particular, believe that we are born pure and then corrupted in the process of growing up. Through self-cultivation practices, we attempt to return to te, our natural virtue.

In contrast to the traditional meaning that 'virtue' is innate, fixed and determined from birth, the Nei-yeh regularly implies that we strengthen te by exercising self-restraint. Further it is possible to interpret hsin, our heart-mind, to mean our innate inclinations, including our emotional tendencies.

Under this perspective, the ideogram suggests that te is the process of rectifying hsin in order to shape and regulate our innate tendencies. This shaping could include engaging in self-cultivation practices rather than becoming a victim of our emotions and desires. Te is the action, i.e. daily practices, of aligning hsin, i.e. making the heart-mind upright.

Both Tao and te include radicals that indicate an ongoing process rather than a state of being. Tao, as the Way of ideal self-cultivation practices, includes regularly exercising te, our self-restraint muscle, to shape our innate tendencies, hsin, in order to remain on the Path.

For fun, let’s take this journey yet one more step. According to the traditional view, te is an innate state that is developed through acts of cultivation etc. The inner power (te) developed in this fashion could be likened to charisma. The power of the person’s aura automatically harmonizes the surrounding world. The individual who possesses this charisma orders the world without doing anything (the essence of the Taoist concept of wu-wei, non-action within action).

Could te be both an innate state and a process? If so, the te process of restraint contributes to the te state of inner power. Te both enables and is enabled by the journey of being on course, Tao. From this perspective, te is both the state of ‘inner power’ that arises from the process of self-control and the process of self-control that gives rise to the state of inner power/charisma."

u/TheHeartOfTuxes · 3 pointsr/Meditation

Mises, the economist? I didn't know he referenced Lao Tzu.

This is maybe a topic better suited to /r/taoism; you may want to ask there.

First realize that Taoism has several faces, which are sometimes vague and overlapping: Philosophical Taoism, which is conveyed through writings and is debated ad nauseum in online forums; Religious or Ritual Taoism, which involves a lot more form and ritual than one might expect; Folk Taoism, which arises in part from local cultures and traditional beliefs; Art Taoism, which is conveyed in countless internal energy and martial arts practices, among others; Enlightenment Taoism, which aims at complete attainment of the Tao. To make your way through all this territory it's helpful to know your own deepest interest and aim.

  • For a good commentary along with scholarly translation, Ellen Chen's Tao Te Ching: A New Translation with Commentary is hard to beat.

  • For an interpretation (loose translation) easily accessible by westerners, leaning toward practice rather than scholasticism, and illuminated by a realized practitioner, I recommend Stephen Mitchell's Tao Te Ching.

  • For its beauty and intuitive expression of Taoist sensibilities, and its recent reworking to more closely reflect the original Chinese language, I like the oversized (photos included) 2011 version of Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English's Tao Te Ching.

  • Other sources include Lao Tzu's Wen-Tzu: Understanding The Mysteries, translated by Thomas Cleary, and his Hua Hu Ching: Unknown Teachings Of Lao Tzu, translated by Brian Walker.

  • As to learning more about Lao Tzu, other Taoist writers, and Taoism in general, it seems that some Zen teachers have a more lively and to-the-point teaching than other widely available discussions. Alan Watts' writings were very popular, if skewed by his own shallow understanding of some of the topics. Direct contact with living teachers is almost invariably the best way to attain the Tao (as opposed to just learning history and philosophy). The Kwan Um School Of Zen, its deceased master Seung Sahn, and its teachers are excellent sources for practice that allows the Tao to unfold in your life. Zen Master Seung Sahn's The Whole World Is A Single Flower includes several koans (Zen teaching questions) based on Taoist sayings; if you have training in koan practice this can be a useful resource. (Note that the translator Stephen Mitchell, above, was a student of Z M Seung Sahn.)

  • True Taoist masters can be difficult to find, in part because the breadth, complexity, and rigor of the teachings make them less accessible, and partly because they have to some degree been suppressed in their home nation China. Taoist teachings are apt to appear within the context of some Qigong, Taiji, Bagua, and other energy cultivation/martial arts practices. Some more popular figures (some of whom appear in internet blogs and videos) mash up their own philosophy with Taoism.

  • For a basic introduction to the Taoist way of thought, The Tao Of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff is surprisingly deep yet well organized. (I found the follow-up book a bit contrived.)
u/Manfred1816 · 5 pointsr/books

The only one I can help you with is religion. For Christianity, I always suggest The Bible. I know this is obvious, but it seems that very few people read it from cover to cover. This may be going away from what you want, though. Personally, I read The Bible as literature, so that does, for me, place it in fiction. If you want an atheist perspective, I highly recommend The God Delusion; for some shorter pieces, I think one should look at Existentialism is a Humanism (if you like this read, it is basically taken from his book Being and Nothingness). If you want to get into some Asian faith, maybe get a copy of the Tao Te Ching to better understand Taoism. Just to add another, and this is one of my favorites; look at Food of the Gods. This is a really interesting read about how substances have affected cultures and their beliefs. It ranges from different foods to the most illicit intoxicants. For me, it really gave me a greater perspective of the uses and benefits to "drugs" that go beyond taking them simply for a good time. If any of these interest you, I can list more for what specifically interests you. It's not much, but I minor in religious studies, so I guess I have a decent grasp on what is worth one's time.

u/steelypip · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

> What's the best way to study Taoism?

I don't know the best way, but I think reading multiple translations helps of the same works. My favourite version of the Tao Te Ching is the one by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. I don't know if it is the most accurate, but it is the most poetic of the ones I have found. There are also several translations freely available online.

I also learned a lot from practising Tai Chi from a good teacher - Tai Chi is rooted in Taoist philosophy.

I also highly recommend The Tao of Pooh and The Te Of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff for an in-depth analysis of Taoism from the viewpoint of one of its great western masters - Winnie the Pooh.

I do not know the Wayne Dyer translation, but I have not seen any other translation mention worshipping the Tao. only honouring and respecting it.

u/Dark21 · 1 pointr/Dzogchen

EDIT: Also, if you're finding the anticipation of the dialogue distracting, it may be useful to keep in mind that it's not the dialog itself that is causing the "problem". The distraction is the problem, not the dialogue or the anticipation. (I love the question "Can you feel the shape of your hands?")

I found this topic through Sam Harris as well.

I found that Mahamudra for the Modern World was what I was looking for. It's quite pricey, but it's as close as I could get to getting an authentic teacher without traveling and upending my current life. I also found that spending that large amount of money made me take the CD's more seriously and commit more time to them. A bit of a placebo I think, but it was still effective. He also has various shorter and cheaper CD options for guided meditations on his site, but I don't have have experience with those so I can't comment on them.

The CD's are a combination of lectures and guided meditations. It's given me a far more "deep" understanding of the concepts, but also resulted in some of the most profound experiences and realizations in my life. In particular, a mix of tummo and metta meditation about halfway through the series had a huge effect on my state of mind and resulted in huge changes in how I lived my life.

If the CD's aren't an option, I would also recommend Secret of the Vajra World
by the same author, which has been recommended on this sub in the past.

This will be focused on the conceptual understanding of the practice, but I still find it valuable and fascinating.

Also, be aware that you'll be asked to imbibe some religious thinking/concepts (in the words of Harris) as you start pulling information from Dzogchen and Mahamudra instead of from more Western sources like Harris.

u/BearJew13 · 4 pointsr/Buddhism

What the Buddha Taught is the best "intro to Buddhism" book I've read yet, I highly recommend it. This is a book you will constantly be coming back to, if you decide to keep pursuing Buddhism that is, for it contains all of the essentials (IMO). The author also includes several key suttas given by the Buddha (several especially directed towards lay people like ourselves), and a collection of key verses from the Dhammapada (a classic Buddhist scripture). The other "Intro to Buddhism" book I will recommend is Becoming Enlightened by His Holliness the Dalai Lama, which gives an overview of the Buddhist path to Enlightenment that emphasizes the role of compassion, altruism, and wisdom.


For learning to meditate and practice mindfulness, I recommend Mindfulness in Plain English. What the Buddha Taught also has a great chapter on meditation and mindfulness.


Once you feel more comfortable with the basic principles of Buddhism, if you'd like to start reading and studying key Buddhist scriptures, I'd recommend starting with the following: In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon and The Dhammapada. The Pali Cannon in the oldest complete Buddhist cannon of scriptures that survives today. The Dhammapada is a short collection of sayings within the Pali Cannon that is thought to summarize the essence of the Buddha's teachings.

u/oceanick · 5 pointsr/Buddhism

Might I also recommend reading some original sources. Reading about Buddhism is surely good for context and all that, but you can also dive right in to what those books are about.

Thich Nhat Hanh has been mentioned here recently. His sutra translations are awesome:

I like this edition of the Dhammapada, but there are version for free online:

Also check out the Lotus Sutra:

That's like the blockbuster of sutras-- it has it all! It also has some clear formulations on what's going on with Buddhism, supposedly from late in Shakyamuni's life.

u/Bugsysservant · 2 pointsr/taoism

I'm not sure what you've read thus far, but the three most important books in the Daoist canon are, in generally agreed upon order:

  1. The Tao Te Ching (Dao De Ching, Daodejing, &c.). My favorite translation is the done by Addiss and Lombardo, but there are certainly other good translations.

  2. The Chuan Tzu (Zhuangzi) I'm partial to the translation by Hamill and Seaton, though I admit that may be because it was my first exposure to Daoism. It doesn't strive for accuracy, but has taken some liberties in making the text accessible to most readers by doing away with pedantry.

  3. The Lieh Tzu (Liezi) My favorite translation is the one by Eva Wong, though it also was going for readability above accuracy. I'm currently reading a much more accurate translation done by Thomas Cleary which has, thus far, been rather good.
u/chewingofthecud · 3 pointsr/taoism

I also believed for a very long time that the semen retention thing was bunk. Then it just so happened that I didn't ejaculate for an extended period (for reasons unrelated to Daoism) while still wanting to have sex, and noticed an unmistakable increase in attention span, concentration, and cognitive speed/power. It wasn't just a little bit, either; I'm talking about an increase such that others noticed too. I haven't done it again, but I no longer believe that this stuff about jing is totally baseless. One could think of very good evolutionary reasons why we (and other animals) might have developed a cognitive "bump" that only activates itself in males who desire sex but don't get to engage in it very often.

Anyway, that aside, no one's going to say that you're somehow deeply un-Daoist by not practicing semen retention. It's a practice that developed alongside other Daoist practices, some of which you would probably get something out of if it's the psychological and mental dimensions of Daoism that attract you. So don't throw out the baby with the esoteric bath water.

Also, these things (philosophical and "esoteric" or religious Daoism) cannot be easily separated. You mentioned the Yijing; it's a Bronze age divination manual dependent on cleromancy. Sounds pretty unscientific, right? Well, it is. But it's also the root of traditional Chinese philosophy, of which Daoism is just one branch. You can see the debt Laozi owes to the Yijing all throughout the Daodejing; here is a good example of how one can never fully appreciate the Daodejing without understanding the Yijing. The Daodejing is also clearly indebted to another "religious" Daoist text, the Neiye, which looks very much like a meditation manual with esoteric and mystical elements. The point is, trying to pull apart religious and philosophical Daoism is like explaining a joke or dissecting a frog; you can do it, but it just won't be the same thing afterward.

u/Mr-X1 · 2 pointsr/philosophy

> I mean with zen he even made it clear that in Japan they sit and sit and sit. Formal zazen. And that he wasn't a fan of that style of zen. He then went on to share the older chan Chinese Zen

You mean the one 'officially' founded by Bodhidharma, famous for allegedly having sat in front of a wall for years? If you are interested in Chan you are better off reading Cleary and people like Sheng Yen. Cleary is good for Taoism as well. He also regularly warns against certain cultic practices involving an undue focus on sitting, stupidly 'emptying' and surpressing the mind, etc etc. You might find his work interesting.

Btw if you are interested in a 'practical' translation of the Tao Te Ching I can recommend this book:

Since you are interested in stories, I will just add that Cleary has whole anthologies of Zen, Chan and Taoist stories. There are also translators like "Red Pine" who should have some nice translations of various Chan and Taoist texts. Just throwing this in here. It might benefit someone.

u/KwesiStyle · 2 pointsr/taoism

Yo I think I know a book that maybe will help!

Here: "". It's called "The Essence of Shinto: Japan's Spiritual Heart." It goes way deep into the philosophy of Shinto. I too noticed many similarities between Taoism and Shinto, in particular a reverence for Nature and naturalness as well as a belief in a single spiritual force or power (like Ch'i) that variously manifests as all the phenomena in the universe. There's also a surprisingly similar emphasis on meditation. I would totally check it out if I were you! Also, there's another book you may be interested in! It's called "Original Tao" and it's a modern translation and commentary of an ancient Taoist text (possibly pre-Lao Tzu) which deals heavily with both the concepts of Tao and Ch'i (and their unity, as both can be seen as the basis of all phenomena). I say this because, for me, Ch'i bridges the concepts of God/Spirit and Tao. Ch'i is related to consciousness, the afterlife and vitality, like Spirit, but like the Tao it is the basis of all existence. As someone interested in comparison religions, you may find that useful.

Here's the amazon link: ""

Good luck on your spiritual studies!!

u/Skolastigoat · 1 pointr/philosophy

It's hard to say, but this is probably your best bet:

The guy is somewhat of a God in China, as he translated all of these texts into English himself. If nothing else, that is a major achievement, as it gives you a clean interpretation of the major Chinese writers where the translation of key terms remains the same.

That being said, his footnotes don't really fill you in on how to really understand the texts - they're helpful, but you might need other companion books. To get a full understanding, you'll certainly need to read other texts. But, having all major Chinese works in one place, all translated by the same author, AND for the translations to be pretty decent, makes it a must-by for someone serious about Chinese philosophy.

Might be able to torrent it too - I dono.

EDIT: companion texts that are good: A short history of Chinese philosophy (Feng You Lan), or A history of Asian thought (probably a bad title), by Bernard Schwartz (google the author to find it). Both good, i really like Schwartz, but Feng You Lan's is more introductory.

u/LodroSenge · 1 pointr/TibetanBuddhism

Oh my God. Your own post itself is full of pure preciousness and wisdom it needs its own companion.

Commentaries are, IMHO, necessary for both texts (especially so for the Treasury). The Zindri (Zindri means Kunzang Lama’i Shyalung Zindri. Kunzang Lama’i Shyalung Zindri means a text by Khenpo Ngawang Palzang that elaborates on The Words of My Perfect Teacher. It other words Zindri means the book called "A Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher") by Khenpo Ngawang Palzang is the standard companion to Words of my Perfect Teacher (at least for practitioners of the Longchen Nyingthik; (Longchen Nyingthig is a hidden Nyingma teachings & practices on Dzogchen revealed by Jigme Lingpa in the 1700s) *there may be others, though I suspect all Nyingmapa lamas and lay teachers use the KLS (*Kunzang Lama’i Shyalung, the Zindri, the book "A Guide To The Words of my Perfect Teacher) and the Zindri side-by-side as their standard teaching and study texts for the LN ngöndro).

Building on u/Namkha_'s comment, the Treasury is presented as a lam rim (literally a "graded path"). The tertön Kangyur Rinpoche's (KR was the teacher to Matthieu Ricard and Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche. He made commentaries on (Yonten Dzo by Jigme Lingpa) and translated in English it's called the Treasury of Precious Qualities ) commentary is one that I've heard many people describe as accessible. The translation group overseen by Kangyur Rinpoche's son, Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche, translated and published the elder Rinpoche's commentary.


Note to self: Get the Guide to the Words of...and skip the Treasury for now.

u/Zachariah · 3 pointsr/yoga

Ahh well, I was a philosophy major in college (Philosophy of Mind).

I honestly prefer Buddhism (Vipassana & Zen are my specific focus) to Yoga, when it comes to deeper matters, but I find the comparative difference between the two vastly interesting and informative.

Sadly, I don't know where to send you for more. It's a complicated subject, and to be honest, I've had the idea of writing a book for a while now since I'm not finding the kind of information which I believe is important out there and packaged usefully. Yoga people tend to point to the Bhagavad Gita for Philosophy and Spiritual basis, which is more like reading the christian Bible (archaic, obscure, and easily mis-interpreted)

I think that this audio lecture course (36-parts, ~20 hours, $15 on audible) is extremely valuable when getting oriented and having the context to understand more deeper things: ..

u/CeorgeGostanza · 26 pointsr/philosophy

Here's some further reading!

The best and most academically accepted translation of the Dao De Jing

Here, A.C. Graham is an intensely clever and erudite Sinologist - Disupters is definitely a "classic" in the literature of early Eastern philosophy.

Great book on a lesser known section of the Zhuangzi, which Roth shows to be the origin of meditative practice in Daoism. Roth is also my Prof!

A great translation by the same A.C. Graham of most of the chapters of the Zhuangzi. The Zhuangzi, different from the Laozi, uses narratives and short essays in deeply stratified, humorous, and incredibly profound ways well ahead of its time.

Source: I've been studying contemplative practices, cultural anthropology, and Chinese philosophy for most of my undergrad

u/bitoku_no_ookami · 2 pointsr/MLPLounge

The Tao Te Ching is a great read, albeit short. I love reading religious/philosophical texts both Western and Eastern, and I consider the Tao to be the most profound.

If you're looking for a good translation I'd recommend either edition by Johnathan Starr.

I guess I should also ask another question... What is your favorite Eastern philosophical text?

[](/flutterwink "And it was fun reading though all your answers today!")

u/derpface360 · 0 pointsr/Buddhism

/u/krodha tends to cite sūtras either out of context, or translated with bias by Loppon Malcolm Smith.

The existence of a self is a very gray subject in Mahāyāna. Whether a self exists depends on if people interpret the Tathāgatagarbha sūtras, which all affirm a self, as provisional or definitive. I believe that the Tathāgatagarbha sūtras are definitive. You'll often find that sūtras created by the Mahāsāṃghika branch of Buddhism, especially Lokottaravāda, tend to focus specifically on the transcendence of the Buddhas, and their eternal nature. A great study to learn about the context of the Tathāgatagarbha sūtras is this write-up by Alex Wayman.

Dölpopa's Mountain Doctrine would be a great read if you're interested in the point of view of one who was supportive of the notion of a true self. He also cites from sūtras for his claims, which is great.

u/JRPapollo · 2 pointsr/atheism

Hey, thanks again for posting all this. I've been doing a lot of research over the last couple days, and I'm finding Buddhism to be amazingly insightful. I like that being undogmatic is at the core. That's something I strive for myself. I recommend the following, if you want to read the Tao Te Ching:

It's my favorite translation. Thanks again and have a great day :)

u/slightlyoffki · 1 pointr/kungfu

Oh man, I could recommend so many.

Kung Fu and Taoism:

The Making of a Butterfly is one of my favorite books. It is about a white kid who starts learning Kung Fu out of a Chinese master's basement back in the 70s, well before Kung Fu was popularized in the West.

Chronicles of Tao by Deng Ming Dao is excellent, a narrative perspective of how Taoism intertwines with the life of a Kung Fu practitioner.

American Shaolin by Matthew Polly is an entertaining and illuminating story that disseminates a lot of the mysticism surrounding the Shaolin Temple.

The Crocodile and the Crane is a fun fictional book that is basically about Tai Chi saving the world from a zombie apocalypse.

My next goal is to tackle The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Of course, I highly recommend the Tao Te Ching and the Art of War as well.

Buddhism: I highly recommend anything Thich Nhat Hanh. Anger and Peace is Every Step are two of my favorites.

Karate and Japanese Arts:

Moving Toward Stillness by Dave Lowry is one of my favorite books, taken from his columns in Black Belt Magazine over the years. A really excellent study on Japanese arts and philosophy.

Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings by Kenji Tokitsu is wonderful. It includes the Book of Five Rings as well as some of Musashi's other works, including many of his paintings.

The 47 Ronin, by John Allyn, a dramatization of the Genroku Ako Incident, is still quite poignant in 2016.

u/Graptoi · 1 pointr/taoism

Sounds like a great place to start, I would also suggest reading Chuang-Tzu as a good followup to the TTC as well as picking up another copy of the TTC by a different translator. There is also a recommended reading list in the sidebar. The books are not overly expensive but there are free ebooks available in places if you'd rather save the money.

Edit: Also, because it has helped me so much, I would recommend trying some breathing meditation.

u/Bakmoon123 · 2 pointsr/vajrayana

I have to agree with Growupandleave and suggest The Essence of Other-Emptiness by Jetsun Taranatha. This book presents Shentong in the context of a tenets book on the various tenet systems and is a very readable book on the subject.

Just as an aside, Taranatha was an important systamatizer of Shentong, but wasn't the progenitor of it. It was brought to Tibet by the early founders of the Jonang school and popularized by Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen. Dolpopa's magnum opus Mountain Doctrine has been translated, and lays out in detail how Dolpopa interprets all the Indian treatises, sutras, and tantras to fit his view.

Besides these Jonang sources there is a strong tradition within the Kagyu school of Shentong although it is not quite the same as Jonang Shentong. Karmazopa already mentioned Jamgong Kongtrul's Commentary on the Uttaratantra which is the standard commentary on that text in the Karma Kagyu school.

Karmazopa also mentioned Book 6 Part 3 of Kongtrul's [Treasury of Knowledge] lays out the Tenet systems, and includes a section on Shentong.

Earlier in the Kagyu school there was the Third Karmapa's Commentary on In Praise of Dharmadhatu translated by Brunnholzl.

In terms of modern books, Thrangu Rinpoche has a book that is a Commentary on the Uttaratantra that is quite readable.

u/gamegyro56 · 3 pointsr/hinduism

There's the reading list in the side-bar, but that doesn't really have secondary books on Hinduism.

There's Gavin Flood's An Introduction to Hinduism. I haven't read it yet, but it's the only thing I got off the top of my head. If you want, I can look through the copy I found on the sidewalk and tell you about it.

But Flood seems to have a pretty good pedigree. But I don't know if he's a Hindu. I would also recommend Eknath Easwaran's translation of the Bhagavad Gita. I have it, and his intro goes into Hindu concepts. This book also seem well-received, though I don't have it.

There's a public domain book called The Religion of the Veda: The Ancient Religion of India. There's also The Wonder that was India, which is good. And apparently the same guy wrote The Origins and Development of Classical Hinduism.

Most Indian history books talk about Hinduism, so maybe the Cambridge History of India?

u/karma_yeshe · 4 pointsr/Buddhism

A frequent question with no easy answer.

To give another option than the ones already mentioned, I recently gave away "Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet" to someone wanting to learn the basics of Vajrayana. After reading it, I thought it might make for a sane and solid introduction to people grown up in the modern world. In my experience, older texts like "Word of my Perfect Teacher" are fantastic, but not necessarily for new students.

Anyway, good luck! :)

u/guydudeman · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

Here's a good one, I think, especially for a music therapist: Alan Watts: Become What You Are.

>"Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal. For the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever. You may believe yourself out of harmony with life and its eternal Now; but you cannot be, for you are life and exist Now."

>In this collection of writings, including nine new chapters never before available in book form, Watts displays the intelligence, playfulness of thought, and simplicity of language that has made him so perennially popular as an interpreter of Eastern thought for Westerners. He draws on a variety of religious traditions, and covers topics such as the challenge of seeing one's life just as it is, the Taoist approach to harmonious living, the limits of language in the face of ineffable spiritual truth, and the psychological symbolism of Christian thought.

Music takes you out of your own head. No past, no future, just now. This note. Now. Listening to music is oftentimes very similar to meditation.

I would also recommend listening to all of Alan Watt's audio recordings as well.

u/StupifiedLemon · 1 pointr/occult

This would be the best late, late, late birthday present of all time if you could help.
The Tree of Enchantment

Tao Te Ching


Grimoire of Crowley

Angel Tech

The Upanishads

And any of the Vedas pretty, pretty please? Much and thanks!!! ALSO Your link of Angels, Demons by Lon Milo DuQuette is broken, I think.

u/Noxiide · 2 pointsr/taoism

This is the copy I own, and it's great. I read this each night along with Buddhist Boot Camp by Timber Hawkeye, another excellent book. I just picked up the stoic book Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, so I'll be reading that next. Also plan on getting The Dalai Lama's Cat, that should be great, hahaha.

u/NomadicVagabond · 5 pointsr/religion

First of all, can I just say how much I love giving and receiving book recommendations? I was a religious studies major in college (and was even a T.A. in the World Religions class) so, this is right up my alley. So, I'm just going to take a seat in front of my book cases...


  1. A History of God by Karen Armstrong

  2. The Great Transformation by Karen Armstrong

  3. Myths: gods, heroes, and saviors by Leonard Biallas (highly recommended)

  4. Natural History of Religion by David Hume

  5. Beyond Tolerance by Gustav Niebuhr

  6. Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel (very highly recommended, completely shaped my view on pluralism and interfaith dialogue)

  7. The Evolution of God by Robert Wright


  8. Tales of the End by David L. Barr

  9. The Historical Jesus by John Dominic Crossan

  10. Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography by John Dominic Crossan

  11. The Birth of Christianity by John Dominic Crossan

  12. Who Wrote the New Testament? by Burton Mack

  13. Jesus in America by Richard Wightman Fox

  14. The Five Gospels by Robert Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar (highly recommended)

  15. Remedial Christianity by Paul Alan Laughlin


  16. The Jewish Mystical Tradition by Ben Zion Bokser

  17. Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Friedman


  18. Muhammad by Karen Armstrong

  19. No God but God by Reza Aslan

  20. Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations by Michael Sells


  21. Buddha by Karen Armstrong

  22. Entering the Stream ed. Samuel Bercholz & Sherab Chodzin Kohn

  23. The Life of Milarepa translated by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa

  24. Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism by John Powers

  25. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones compiled by Paul Reps (a classic in Western approached to Buddhism)

  26. Buddhist Thought by Paul Williams (if you're at all interested in Buddhist doctrine and philosophy, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not reading this book)


  27. The Essential Chuang Tzu trans. by Sam Hamill & J.P. Seaton


  28. Atheism by Julian Baggini

  29. The Future of an Illusion by Sigmund Freud

  30. Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht

  31. When Atheism Becomes Religion by Chris Hedges

  32. Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith
u/NegativeGPA · 3 pointsr/zen

In terms of becoming familiar with general eastern philosophical climate, I was recommended this by a user here a year and a half ago. I found it to be super useful.

In terms of cost, you get a free month and a free credit. So you can just do that and then cancel after you’re done

u/wuliheron · 1 pointr/taoism
Le Guin's book is of particular interest because she is a master of salt-of-the-earth western metaphors, widely recognized as possibly the greatest master of metaphors in the English language today. She has studied the Tao with the best of us and has her usual distinctive interpretation.
The second book, contains an account of Pragmatic Taoism, which is what pre-dated mainland Chinese Taoism, in the isolated southern mountains. Its not my favorite book, but there is no other book like it on the subject that I know of.
My personal favorite, is the Peter Merel GNL interpolation available for free online.

u/Elijah_Silva · 8 pointsr/Buddhism

Definitely buy the guide that accompanies Words of My Perfect Teacher.

WOMPT is not a book you want to get through quickly. Read it carefully, and reflect on the teachings.

If you come across a profound thought: try your best to understand it, then reflect on the passage, and lastly mediate meditate on it.

It truly is a life changing book if you take your time with it.

u/harmoni-pet · 1 pointr/westworld

I went through a heavy Watts phase in college. A few of his books are just transcriptions of his lectures. Become Who You Are is probably my favorite. Most of what he's doing is taking concepts of mindfulness and self from Eastern traditions like Buddhism, and explaining it through a Western style of understanding.

If you like Watts, you would probably like Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Very similar tones, except this is more of a universal parable.

I'm not sure if people still read this book, but Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was pretty influential for me.

u/noctrnalsymphony · 1 pointr/taoism

I really like Chronicles of Tao. It's presented somewhat as a memoir but reads like fiction. True or false, I feel like it's a good read that deals directly with Taoism. If nothing else I love fantasizing about all the mountaintop temples in China.

u/katqanna · 2 pointsr/taoism

Tao Te Ching: A New Translation with Commentary by Ellen Chen. She deals with linguistics, showing you how a word was used in other contemporary works. Having studied paleo writings systems and ancient languages, I know how meanings change over time. So her approach was perfect for the way my mind works and gave me greater insight into what is being conveyed. Saves me from having to learn ancient Chinese to better understand the text. :)

u/faculties-intact · 1 pointr/taoism

Hey, I know I'm late, but I really recommend this one:

It's a lot more flowery and less of a literal translation, but I hear it captures the tone and style of the original much better than strictly literal translations.

u/BukLauFinancial · 2 pointsr/taoism

If you're looking for more of a story, [Chronicles of Tao: The Secret Life of a Taoist Master] ( is an amazing trilogy that anyone interested in the subject should read:

For the first time in one volume—an extraordinary spiritual odyssey of the making of the Taoist master Kwan Saihung. Born into a wealthy family in a remote province of China, Kwan defies his parents' wishes and enters into the rigorous and mysterious discipline of Taoist practice. Renamed "Little Butterfly" by his Taoist masters, he survives the upheaval of the Japanese occupation, and the later the Chinese Revolution, all the while becoming adept in the Taoist arts. Eventually his inner and outer journey lead him to America, where he becomes a Golden Gloves boxer and martial arts instructor.

Part adventure, part parable, Chronicles of Tao travels through a labyrinth of enigmatic Taoist practice, marital arts discipline, and international adventure.

u/Ozwaldo · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

yeah sure. you can find countless buddhist parables if you just google that exact phrase. Personally, I found a great deal of contentment reading the Tao Te Ching (Taoism, not Buddhism, but similar concepts). Specifically, this translation is my favorite one.

u/phrakture · 2 pointsr/Fitness

Hmm, I find Taoism to have slightly better books. Zen Buddhism and Taoism share a lot of things, but they're not the same.

Any book on Zen Koans will be awesome, especially if you understand that the point of a koan isn't to have an answer, but to provoke thought.

As for Taosim, Tao Te Ching is the obvious choice, but also check out "The Tao is Silent" and (no joke) "The Tao of Pooh"

Edit: Moving geographically West, I'd also highly recommend The Enchiridion and The Discourses by Epictetus, and The Meditiations by Marcus Aurelius. The Stoics have a lot in common with traditional Asian religions such as Taosim, Confucionism, and Buddhism when it comes to the ways they think.

u/Rage_harles · 1 pointr/conspiracy

Sorry! Forgot to reply, was on the go when I read this.

I haven't read much, in truth. I'm a musician, so sound is my thing. I've listened to probably over 500 lectures/audio recordings by Alan Watts and Adyashanti over the past year. Those two changed my life and opened my mind, allowing me to begin the process of becoming the real me. I'll leave you a few that really, really helped me. In terms of books, though:

Now, below I will list a few audio recordings that I absolutely love:

u/Chizum · 3 pointsr/taoism

I have this book, it's great. On page 89, when it references the exact location of the lower elixir field being 1.2 -1.5 inches below the navel, do not take this point for granted and don't make assumptions on its location. Study this point carefully.

If you are into these kind of stories, I suggest reading Chronicles of Tao: The Secret Life of a Taoist Master, by Deng Ming Dao. The stories and historical references are fantastic.

u/Red-Pine · 8 pointsr/Fantasy

There are various film adaptions either with that title or something to do with a "Monkey King".

This one is Taoist but I think you would find it interesting and entertaining too.

u/monkey_sage · 7 pointsr/Buddhism

Two of my favorite books on the topic are very in-depth and detailed:

u/KazuoKuroi · 7 pointsr/Buddhism

What the Buddha Taught is a good start. Its brief, its easy to read and gives you an overview of what Buddhism is about. If you like it from there, get a copy of the Dhammapada

u/Mick8535 · 2 pointsr/kratom

You want to go on a serious self-discovery trip? Pick up a copy of this book by Alan Watts (its totally affordable used) --- kick back with this book, ingest some kratom, and contemplate the way of things. You'll never be the same, in a good way, of course!!!
Here is another good one:

u/Dedalus-Diggle · 4 pointsr/exmormon

Daoism has been great for me. Maybe you'll like it too?

Check out:

The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.

The Tao is Silent by Raymond Smullyan

u/Peralta240 · 1 pointr/taoism

Seven Taoist Masters is a great and entertaining read:

u/banjaloupe · 1 pointr/philosophy

Although she doesn't actually know Chinese, I've always liked Ursula K LeGuin's poetic "translation" (but maybe that's just cuz of my love of Earthsea)

u/SunRaAndHisArkestra · 2 pointsr/China

Read this man:

A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy my undergrad class was based on it.

Your question about Chinese Buddhism is a larger one. You are going to have to start to read about Buddhism first, then the differences between Theravada and Mahayana. Once you know the basic concepts, Mahayana is based on the Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra. You are also going to want to look at the foundations of Chan (Zen, 禅), books such as Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch Huineng. Chinese Buddhism is basically Pure Land+Chan.

Anyway, you could have read all this on Wikipedia. Start there.

u/awshutup · 1 pointr/books

[Chronicles of Tao: The Secret Life of a Taoist Master] (

I was in my "season of growth" and the read hit me all kinds in the right places. Not to take away from the great books listed here: the most informative or moving text will do nothing if you are not ready for the message.
Hmmm. seems I got preachy.
Apologies. Read on!

u/slickwombat · 3 pointsr/philosophy

Funny enough, I mainly remember him for eastern philosophy -- specifically The Tao is Silent, which I really enjoyed in my teen years.

u/V-Man737 · 1 pointr/books

Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy by Robert Jourdain -- a book that explains in mesmerizing detail why music makes us feel good

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell translation -- a book that explains (among a plethora of other gems of wisdom) why letting go is the only way to gain.

u/Philosophile42 · 1 pointr/philosophy

Oriental is usually considered derogatory. Eastern philosophy, Chinese philosophy, Asian philosophy... This is the book I had in college, that I still think is pretty good.

u/Mauss22 · 4 pointsr/askphilosophy

For "where to start" with books, see this FAQ post, from r/askphilosophyFAQ. There are Introductory anthologies, like these. Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy is something I read at about that age, and it was great (with some caveats).

There are also anthologies for Chinese & Indian Philosophy, or introductions to Chinese & Indian Philosophy; or an intro anthology to World Philosophy.

u/Veraticus · 4 pointsr/taoism

I really like Ursula Le Guin's interpretation:

Of all the translations I have it speaks to me the most. But you should read at least a few and decide on your favorite afterwards.

u/bjw88 · 2 pointsr/philosophy

I recommend Wandering on the Way, it is a translation of the Zhuangzi and talks a lot about philosophical perspective. Also I recommend thinking, if you think you are a philosopher, and thinking is never a bad hobby.

u/LazyGoron · 1 pointr/taoism

Yi-Ping Ong's translation was my first read of the Tao Te Cheng. As I've read more various translations, this one I still consider the most "authentic" reading in English of the original:

On the other hand, my personal favorite and simplest translation (the one I share if people ask me about taoism) is Jonathan Star's translation. Very different than Yi-Ping's but conveys the messages in 'layman's terms'. I do not think it is 1:1 though:

u/jediboogie · 1 pointr/SweatyPalms

Wow, huge URL, sorry.... but anyway that's the 3 books in one, or you can get the individual books as I suspect this one is abridged. Read the chronicles twice but on reading the individual books I feel there were moments not contained in the all in one, even though I want to say it claims to be unabridged. Kwan Sai Hung, the protagonist will stick with you... As will Grandmaster and Hua mountain in general... A truly luscious read.

u/TeamKitsune · 3 pointsr/zen

The version by Ursula K. Leguin is my all time favorite. I still have the cassette of her reading it. From Stephen Mitchell I would recommend Rilke.

u/shachaf · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

These are a few I tend to mention:

u/Paisleyfrog · 2 pointsr/religion

This is my favorite translation, but I agree with the others: read as many as you can.

u/CloudwalkingOwl · 4 pointsr/taoism

I think the Victor Mair translation is the best one I've seen. The title is Wandering on the Way.

u/berf · 1 pointr/taoism

See Part II "The Tao is Good but Not Moral" in The Tao is Silent by Raymond Smullyan. According to Smullyan (and I agree, for what that is worth) you are laboring under a misconception that dao entrains morality.

u/introspeck · 5 pointsr/Quakers

Oh I forgot to mention, don't get the James Legge translation, it's terrible. This is my favorite, but it seems to be out of print: Though I see that there is a kindle version.

The Stephen Mitchell translation is also very good. A bit less poetic, a bit more in the modern vernacular:

u/darthrevan · 1 pointr/ABCDesis

>all religions are based on faith

Interestingly, this is one point where Hinduism can fairly claim to be different from other major religions.

Originally, in ancient times, being a Hindu had much less to do with what you believed and more to do what you did--specifically, whether or not you performed your dharmic duties. The rituals, rites, etc. are primary; your belief in them secondary. This is why some argue even today that you can even be a Hindu atheist. So long as you are doing your dharma, cosmic order is maintained.

Obviously, like with anything practiced by billions of people over many centuries, different schools and beliefs emerged about all of this. The Upanishads, as one example, were one of the earliest attempts to make beliefs and mindset also important to the rituals. Then you have things like bhakti-yoga in The Bhagavad Gita, written much later, that starts to have the flavor of more faith-based religion and which also condemns ritual without the proper mindset. But it was not always so, and in non-Vaishnava traditions can still not be the case.

Ultimately the emphasis in Hinduism can still be fairly said to lie in actions, not beliefs. Not doing a puja at all for a certain event will be seen as a greater "sin" for a Hindu than doing it but in your head thinking it was BS. Contrast this with, say, Christianity where going to Church on Sunday is meaningless if in your head you think it's all BS.

My source for all this.

As with everything: yes this is all highly debatable, so feel free to debate!

u/Vystril · 7 pointsr/Buddhism

The Words of My Perfect Teacher and it's Commentary by Khenpo Ngawang Pelzang go into these states in a lot of detail. As do most Tibetan texts which teach the preliminary practices (ngöndro) or the four thoughts that turn the mind to Dharma.

u/solar_realms_elite · 5 pointsr/Buddhism

Yours on Amazon for only 115.89$! (kindle is cheaper, though)

I'd be really interested to hear more about their philosophy and why they were considered "heretical".

u/ered_luin · 2 pointsr/deism

The Tao is Silent by Raymond M Smullyan. I don't know much about Eastern philosophy, but based on that except it looks very interesting and relevant.

u/Jack-in-the-Green · 3 pointsr/Fantasy

I like these types of quasi-historical/legendary books for the same reason that the Arthurian and Norse stories are so compelling, they're grounded in a kernel of truth.

u/multiple_cat · 2 pointsr/taoism

Deng Ming Dao's Chronicle of the Dao is an excellent read.

u/ThuptenSonamTashi · 2 pointsr/TibetanBuddhism

In addition to what the others said, get A Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher and read them alongside each other.

u/prajna_upekkha · 4 pointsr/raisedbynarcissists

PS: here some pointers –not to be taken for the Moon..



Alan Watts' The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are


Alan Watts' The Wisdom Of Insecurity


Alan Watts' Become What You Are


Charles Tart's Waking Up



There are zillions of bibliographies and references on the sub for healing from dysfunctional upbringings and other situations of systematic abuse: r/CPTSD

Search such authors in there for instance, and feel free to follow posts and comments speaking about this reprogramming and many other areas of the 'recovery' work; you may start by detecting, dissecting and unraveling the Consensus Trance.

For a first introduction, another book I can think of is Wayne Dyer's 'Your Erroneous Zones', which you'll find referenced over there too. Enjoy!


u/hanibash · 4 pointsr/philosophy

I tried reading the Tao Te Ching before, but I found it too abstract for me at the time. It was interesting, but I couldn't find anything that I could directly apply to my life at a time when I needed something directly applicable. If it makes any difference, I was reading the Ellen Chen translation.

u/PanTardovski · 6 pointsr/TrueReddit

> So people who are spontaneous are attractive because people have really good bullshit detectors. I go into some of the evolutionary game theory about why we’d be very worried about hypocrisy and people pretending to be something they’re not, and why we develop, through biocultural evolution, this tendency to like people who seem like they’re not trying.

Speaking of things that should set off your bullshit detectors . . .

Don't waste your time or money on this rehashed Orientalism. There are good and even free translations of the Ching available; the source material is infinitely better than some watered down magic system in a self-help book. Classics are classics for a reason.

u/infinite_sustain · 3 pointsr/zen

Buddhists and others have argued intensely about this very thing for thousands of years, and that's just here on this planet. The argument has been going on for endless aeons if you want to look at it that way.

(People really really want to know if ultimately anything Exists or not -- despite all the precautions against using the illusory organ of the conceptual mind to assert a relative idea. Who can blame us, though.)

I recommend buying this book,

Mountain Doctrine: Tibet's Fundamental Treatise On Other-Emptiness And The Buddha Matrix

if you want to get your feet muddy. Dolpopa's opponents will claim he's clearly "taking sides", but there exists no singular better exploration of the issue in words, if you ask me.

u/AnomalousVisions · 1 pointr/philosophy

Upvote for mentioning Smullyan - I haven't thought of him in awhile. The Tao is Silen is a fun philosophical read.

u/JimH10 · 1 pointr/zen

You might enjoy this

u/JaneFairfaxCult · 1 pointr/Meditation

No anger here! Just deep love for Chuang Tzu. ❤️ I highly recommend you find a good translation and experience this sublime work yourself. There is no substitute. ETA this is my favorite, FWIW

but of course opinions vary.

u/RunsWithShibas · 1 pointr/philosophy

I have always been partial to Wandering on the Way, Victor Mair's quite good, rather droll translation of the Zhuangzi. I actually wound up quoting parts of it in a novella I wrote.

u/falterer · 1 pointr/literature

Favorite translations of the Tao Te Ching, anyone?

If you're only going to read one, my suggestion is Derek Lin's annotated translation. It's dreadful poetry, but explains the concepts and messages of the verses (some of which are quite alien) well and concisely.

u/Mo_Tzu · 1 pointr/philosophy

My favorite has been Wing-Tsit Chan's Sourcebook in Chinese Philosophy

u/whiteskwirl2 · 4 pointsr/taoism

Zhuangzi. The Burton Watson translation is good, or the Victor Mair translation, titled Wandering on the Way.

u/somlor · 1 pointr/taoism

Consider the classic Daodejing. There are many, many translations. My personal favorites are Liu Ming, Red Pine and Ellen Chen.

u/orbiscerbus · 1 pointr/books

My favourite short non-fiction book (about 240 pages) is definitely The Tao is Silent.

u/alphabetcereal · 4 pointsr/Libertarian

The most accurate in relation to the original language is the translation by Addiss and Lombardo. Although that's my 2nd favorate after the translation by Feng and English.

u/J_Sto · 1 pointr/books

This is the edition I prefer.

Some academics like the Penguin Classics edition. That should probably be your baseline and then take a look at a few different versions. Your library will probably have a few or order them for you to compare before you figure out which one you prefer.

u/ranprieur · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

Ellen Chen's Tao Te Ching has exceptional commentary, and her translation explains the particular Chinese characters in the original and the different meanings they could have.

u/galaxyrocker · 3 pointsr/taoism

Seven Taoists Masters is the translation of a Daoist 'folk novel' by practitioner/teacher Eva Wong.

u/albatross5000 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I'm reading this book called A Million Little Pieces about this guy who was severely addicted to just about everything. A really interesting book. Anyway he was too intelligent to give into AA's god stuff and by accident picked up a copy of Tao Te Ching. You know, it's all transcendental and stuff (I think). Though he got in some trouble after Oprah recommended him and later found out that a significant amount of the story is fiction. Wupps! I'm not an addict or anything but your question made me think of James Frey's book.

u/Snow_Mandalorian · -3 pointsr/philosophy


They've gone through the effort of showing why it's worth paying attention to. It's on you to read it.

u/guy-le-doosh · 1 pointr/USMC

I crack open my copy of The Tao Te Ching now and then.

^It's ^pronounced ^'Dow ^de ^Ching' ;)

u/TotallySpaced · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

I might suggest taking a look at Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy by Bryan Van Norden He's sort of a controversial figure himself because he comes at academia from the perspective of wanting to tear down the biased western institution that prevents proper study of "Eastern" thought. However, he is an expert in his field and keeps that stuff in other books. The one I've linked was one of the most useful introductory texts I found for studying the traditions native to China and those from elsewhere that were integrated into Chinese culture. Many other texts begin by talking about ancient divination practices that are only kind of relevant to the philosophical traditions that sprang up later and are frankly some of the most boring things I've ever read.

Likewise, I've suggested Seven Taoist Masters countless times. It's a narrative and technically only focuses on a specific school of Daoist thought, but it's much more accessible than reading something like the Dao De Jing. It'll teach you about Daoist ideas such as immortality, internal alchemy, and meditation. It's also less likely to make you into an arrogant fortune cookie, as is unfortunately the case with people who start with the DDJ.

Buddhism in China is different than Buddhism in India is different than Buddhism in Tibet. I'd suggest taking a look at the recommended reading on the /r/buddhism subreddit for this and going from there.

Avoid blogs, avoid "spiritualists" like Alan Watts and Eckhart Tolle. They are not good introductions to these topics if what you're looking for is accurate descriptions of how they developed and have been practiced for thousands of years. You might like what they're selling, but what they're selling is tangentially influenced by these traditions, but they're far from the same.

u/drunkenglishprof · 2 pointsr/literature

The Gia Fu Feng / Jane English translation is the best. The only one worth reading. All others are cheap knockoffs you'd buy in a back alley in a shady part of some major metropolitan area.

u/c4bb0ose · 1 pointr/depression

Books similar to this had an interesting perspective in my oppinion, there is a particular book on it that ill try to find when I get home and give you the title of it.

The book I am talking about had a westernish approach to an eastern philosophy or more to the point it translated certain confusions that come from the different thought processes.

u/TheB1Gcast · 1 pointr/taoism

Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations)

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/taoism

I'm working slowly through the Tao Te Ching. I will never truly get it, but perhaps I can smooth the stone of my understanding.

u/TowerSeeker19 · 2 pointsr/taoism

> been mostly ignored in this forum

Mostly maybe, but not entirely. I purchased Original Tao last week on your recommendation. But I haven’t even cracked it open yet. I have done a little research on Daoist meditation online. I don’t have a ton of reading time but that’s high on my list.

u/EnkiHelios · 2 pointsr/occult

If you are looking to combat a rising sense of confusion in practicing chaotic magic and attempting to reach your best self, I cannot recommend Mair's translation of the Chuang Tzu (

No book has better encapsulated the way to let go and just be....

u/lukeweiss · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

ahh, sorry I missed this. First, I don't have any idea why zhuangzi is underappreciated. I can tell you that it is not underappreciated in the field. But it is not commonly known the way DaoDeJing is.
If you want to read some good stuff about the Zhuangzi, check out Victor Mair's Wandering in the Way or his Experimental Essays.

The big new Huainanzi is out - and is worth a read. I haven't made much progress with the old stuff beyond this. My own work is in later Daoist stuff.
The Lushi Qunqiu is probably not a great one to look in for Daoist stuff. Not sure about the others. Sorry, I know this is not satisfying!

u/Ensvey · 3 pointsr/ProjectEnrichment

Totally! There are a ton of translations, but I'm partial to this one (or here, if you would prefer to buy it). Some scholars say that it's not a very scholarly translation, but it's much more accessible and poetic than a lot of the other translations out there. This translation actually speaks to me; others, I'm like, wtf is this about...

u/DrMabuse · 6 pointsr/AskReddit

think about getting a copy of this: Dhammapada

I went through something similar (no death - just loss) last fall and it helped me find my way through some things that I didn't know if I would ever overcome -and if you're an atheist, you don't need to accept any notions of 'god.' (not there's anything wrong with god if that's what you're into...yadda yadda)