Saturday, March 11, 2006

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

It should surprise no one that one of the key search terms that leads people to The Rambling Taoist is some derivation of the word Tao. In many cases, after having followed the link to the particular search engine, it is fairly apparent that the search is being conducted by someone who doesn't know a lot about Taoism and wants to learn more.

I take this as a very good sign. Many people are growing disillusioned with the trappings of so-called modern western society; they are looking for a way to get better in touch with themselves and the natural world. While Taoism isn't the only way to make this connection, it is gaining more traction in the minds of westerners every day.

If you are a person who desires to learn more about what is called classical or philosophical Taoism, I'm going to share with you some of the books I first utilized/am utilizing to learn more about this ancient Chinese philosophy. It is my hope that the regular readers of RT will use the comments section to add to this list. (You can, of course, include non-Taoist sources of inspiration in your life as well.)

One word of caution: While reading material can certainly help illuminate the path, each individual must connect with Tao on their own and in their own way. None of the books listed will outline the creed or "official" doctrine of Taoism because there are no such things.

I'm going to divide the list into three components: books I've read from cover-to-cover (more or less), books I'm reading right now and a few books that are not necessarily Taoist, in nature, but inspirational nonetheless.
All links are to
Books I've read on Taoism
Books I'm Reading on Taoism
Inspirational Books That Aren't Necessarily Focused on Taoism
There are my lists. As indicated above, I hope my regular Taoists readers will add to this list and I hope the materials suggested help anyone looking to follow the path of Tao.

UPDATE: After posting this entry, I read a superb (and short) comparison of Taoism with open source software compliments of A Quiet Watercourse. I warmly encourage new AND old seekers of Tao to read, "Free Software & The Watercourse".

Technorati: Taoism, Daoism Taoism, Daoism
Wikipedia: Taoism


  1. I have a rather extensive library but I have only read No. 6,9,10,11 & 12 of the books on list one and only On the taboo from the last. I think I will print out your list and look for them at my local book seller. Thanks!
    What has your experience been with the I Ching. Have you ever used it as an oracle? I can testify that it has often been extremely helpful. I know that Cleary doesn't approve of the I Ching being used as a divination tool.

  2. Tim,
    To be quite honest, I didn't pay much mind to the I Ching. However, Sam over at The Useless Tree refers to it quite frequently. Since I've come to regard Sam as something of a modern Taoist Sage, I thought maybe I should look into this. So, I picked up The Complete Idiot's Guide to I Ching.

    As I'm reading so many different books at once (interestingly enough, that's something I used to razz my mom about), I've only made it to Chapter 2. So, I'll reserve judgement on the I Ching until I get a better handle on it.

    That said, I'd love to hear more from you re your use and/or understanding of it.

  3. My first taste of Taoism was "the Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity" by Daniel Reid. It's actually more focused on Taoist health advice (nutrition, deep breathing, exercise etc) but the short introduction to Taoism at the start of the book was what sparked my passion for Taoism. I was actually given this book, and in rather weird circumstances. You can read about that here if you want the full story:

    My other favourite is Chronicles of Tao by Deng Ming-Dao, which contains three books, the first being the Wandering Taoist. Fantastic books.

  4. I am enjoying all the info on your blog, nice work. I'm pretty new to blogging but am enjoying it. Thanks for your comments on mine, and your willingness to add Surfing the Tao to yours; I will reciprocate but it might take me some time - I've had help so far and am still learning!

    After spending some time investigating your posts, links, etc., we might differ in some things/beliefs, but for me that's ok; my focus is just a little different from yours and I appreciate the knowledge you possess. You seem very well-informed and centered on who you are.

  5. Dan,
    Thanks so much for adding to this growing list of Taoist resources. Hopefully, it will serve as an aid to others in their search for themselves and Tao (which is actually the same).

    For me, this is the best part of Taoism. Each of us must blaze our own path to Tao. We can gain valuable insights from the words of others, but, in the end, each quest must be our own.

  6. I enjoyed reading "Free Software & The Watercourse". Though I am familiar with unix command-line tools, for me the topic's link to Taoism was tenuous.

    Taoism in daily life for me is about the balance of opposites, the dark area in the light, the light in the dark. The full in the empty, etc. etc.

    That, and the continual recognising of elements of Tai Chi in everyday movements, is what makes amateur/freelance Taoism such fun for me.

    Does this make sense?


Comments are unmoderated, so you can write whatever you want.