<>b>Wisdom from Books

<>b>Wisdom from Books
Stephen Lau's website on getting your wisdom from books.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Many Translations of "Tao Te Ching"

Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching is one of the most translated books; there are thousands of translations of the book (other than the Bible, Tao Te Ching is probably one of the most translated works in world literature).

Many of the translations available are imperfect. The reason is that the text of Tao Te Ching is in itself one of the most difficult ones in the world for intellectual understanding, let alone translating it into a different language. Without a sound knowledge of the Chinese language (which is extremely difficult to learn, not to mention to master) and a thorough understanding of the cultural background, any attempt to express its profound content in a language other than the original Chinese without any punctuation mark is an insurmountable literary challenge.

The main reason for the imperfections in nearly all the translations of Tao Te Ching is best explained by the famous Indian fable of the blind men describing an elephant. Like the blind men in the fable, each translator or interpreter of Tao Te Ching is always looking at the text from his or her own perspective. That explains why there is no “perfect” translation of Tao Te Ching: none of us is Lao Tzu, and each of us is striving to probe into the mind of the great sage according to our own perspectives and interpretations. But, by the same token, that is also the beauty of the book: it is open to any interpretation. For that reason, it is timeless; its value changes with the change of perspective of its readers. Tao Te Ching is not meant to be read in a single sitting, and then forget about it; it is a book to be read, re-read, and then re-read as often as needed. Michael Crichton, the best-selling author and acclaimed film-producer, once said in interview with Amazon.com that if he were stranded on an island the only book he would take with him would be Tao Te Ching. His comment speaks volumes of the substantial intrinsic value of this ancient Chinese classic.

Yes, Tao Te Ching is one of the world’s most difficult and yet most intriguing masterpieces. By design, the book is riddled with unexplained perplexities and contradictory possibilities through the deliberate use of simple, but vague and ambiguous words. The real essence of the book is its absolute and pure wisdom of living a life of balance and harmony, and thus enabling us to reassess our own lives through the many life lessons that we undergo in varying stages of life. Therefore, its unique content is eternal and timeless. That is why I would like to introduce Tao Te Ching to you, if you have not already read it, or have become fascinated by it.

Stephen Lau      
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Weight Management Wisdom

If you wish to lose weight, you must have weight management wisdom. Everything in life begins with the mind—your thinking mind--because it affects your decisions and life choices, precipitating in your actions and their respective consequences, which then become your life experiences. So, how well you live is contingent on how well you think. In other words, your thoughts create your personality and henceforth the raw materials, the building blocks with which you build your own life.

But the mind is not independent of the body and the spirit; as a matter of fact, they are interrelated, and hence the importance of holistic living in the art of living well. Accordingly, the mind is significantly affected by the body. A healthy body constitutes a healthy mind; what is good for the body is also good for the brain, the hardware of your thoughts. A healthy mind breeds a joyful spirit.

Your body weight is often a good indicator of your physical health. As a matter of fact, your body shape may be a reflection of your current health conditions. To illustrate, if your body shape is like that of an apple, with extra weight in your midsection, you may have a higher risk for developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, among other health problems. The explanation is that the abdominal fat stored in a beer belly is more likely to be converted into cholesterol, causing heart problems further down the road. On the other hand, if your body shape is like that of of a pear, with extra weight around your hips instead of in your midsection, you may be less at risk for diabetes and stroke. Therefore, you cannot be healthy if you are obese. If you have heart problems with constricted blood vessels, your brain may also be affected due to restricted blood flow that carries oxygen and nutrients to your brain cells. To conclude, a healthy brain requires a healthy body with optimum body weight.

First and foremost, there must be the intent to lose weight. Some people simply have a couldn't-care-less attitude towards their health, not to mention their weight problems. The intent empowers the mind to find out everything about weight loss: the body's metabolism, the calories, the digestive system; the buildup of fat, among others. The road to weight loss is paved with hurdles and obstacles that have to be overcome with discipline from the mind. Weight control is mind over matter. But your thinking mind can be your asset or liability. To illustrate, you want a piece of cheesecake, but you strongly believe that it will make you fat. So you may have second thoughts about eating it. But, unfortunately, your mind has created what you do not want—that is, getting fat—and you will attract what you do not want, which is gaining weight through the Law of Attraction. Remember, your thoughts create your own reality—sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. The human thoughts generate energy, and negative energy attracts negative energies. Likewise, obsessing with what you do not want will, ironically enough, get you what you do not want.

Once you have control over your mind, you can also have power over your body with reference to diet, exercise, and lifestyle that will facilitate weight loss. A healthy mind and body cherishes a joyful spirit that focuses on who you are, rather than who you want to become, and thus taking away the stress that comes with self-image in the process of weight loss.

Lose your extra pounds with the right ingredients Don't go for any weight-loss cookbook. You need Metabolic Cooking to enhance your body's metabolism to lose your body fat.

Also visit my websites: Wisdom in Living and Health and Wisdom Tips.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

IS TAO A Religion?

Is TAO a religion?

TAO is the wisdom of the ancient Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, who lived a few hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ. His beliefs—more at a personal than a social or political level—could not be expressed in words, and therefore never intended to be a religion.

However, it must also be pointed out that over time different religions began to evolve from the philosophy of Lao Tzu. For that reason, nowadays, many people have erroneously come to believe that Buddhism, Zen, and other Taoist religious practices in worshipping many gods and ancestors were all related to TAO, or that TAO was a originally a religion in itself. But nothing could be further from the truth. Lao Tzu believes that the entire universe with everything in it flows with a mysterious force that not only controls but also maintains the natural order of things. That ultimate reality is nondescript; all we can know is that it is not only within and outside us, but also everywhere and nowhere.

“The Way to the Creator existed
before the universe was created.
Its essence is formless and unchanging.
It is present wherever we turn,
providing compassion to all beings.
It comes from the Creator of the universe,
who has no name.
To identify him, call him the Creator.
He can also be called the Great Mystery,
from whom we come, in whom we live, and to whom we return.”
(Chapter 25, Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu

Accordingly, Lao Tzu’s emphasis is on to be, rather than to do—which is the opposite of Confucius’ (another famous ancient Chinese philosopher, who was a contemporary of Lao Tzu) focus on the way of doing, instead of being.

TAO is not a religion. It is self-enlightenment of the mind so that one may acquire the human wisdom to appreciate and understand spiritual wisdom.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau >

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Human Wisdom to Question Oneself

“The wise person questions himself, the fool others.” -- Henri Arnold

“Am I happy?” is just one of the many questions you need to ask yourself in the course of your life and living. Nobody but you have the answer to that question because it is your life and nobody can live it for you, let alone giving you the answer to that simple but difficult question.

Ask and answer many more questions as you go along your life journey, thereby instrumental in awakening your self-enlightenment.

Some of these probing questions you may want to ask include the following:

Who am I? How would I describe myself?
What are my life passions? Why am I passionate about them?
What are my achievements in life to date?  Am I proud of them, and why?
Do I have a role model in my life?  Do I ever wish I were that role model?
Do I love myself? If not, why not?
At this point in my life, am I worried about my future?

Life is a journey of self-discovery, a continuous process of asking thinking questions and seeking self-enlightening answers from them. Please note that the answer to every thinking question you ask may change over time, because life is forever changing, and changes are transformative. The more you ask, the clearer your mind will become, and the more ready you will be to receive the answers.

Although asking questions is a self-learning process, do not seek absolute answers from the questions asked; more importantly, do not seek answers that cannot be given to you. The most important thing in questions-and-answers is to experience everything, not just to pursue knowledge. As a matter of fact, knowledge can help, but it can also hinder. When you only follow what you know, and forget what you feel, you can easily be led down the wrong path. Extensive knowledge and logical reasoning may not necessarily compound wisdom.

Live every question you are going to ask yourself, and live in its presence. Be patient towards all those questions that you cannot answers. True enlightenment may dawn on you one day when you find yourself asking no more thinking questions because you already have all the answers; that is the ultimate self-enlightenment.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Enjoy the process of self-reflecting all the thinking questions you are going to ask yourself as you go through The Book of Life and Living. Without self-reflection, you may exist for other people, and not for yourself. Now is the time to start asking questions, and putting yourself on the right path to intuiting wisdom in the art of living well.

This 200-page book is full of wisdom based on the author’s extensive research and personal experience. In this book, you will learn the following:

(1) Eliminating unproductive thoughts, and overcoming chaotic struggles in your inner world and outer life to enhance health and performance, master stress, and deepen appreciation of life.

(2) Understanding the essentials of contemporary wisdom and ancient wisdom to help you contemplate and internalize their respective meanings and values in your daily life

(3) Harnessing mind power to operate your mind to integrate the acquired knowledge into your daily activities.