The Way of Lao Tzu
c. 600-200 BCE
No one can understand China or be an intelligent citizen of the world without some knowledge of the Lao Tzu, also called the Tao-te ching (The Classic of the Way and Its Virtue), for it has modified Chinese life and thought throughout history and has become an integral part of world literature. Therefore any new light on it, however little, should prove to be helpful.
There have been many translations of this little classic, some of them excellent. Most translators have treated it as an isolated document. Many have taken it as religious literature. A few have related it to ancient Chinese philosophy. But none has viewed it in the light of the entire history of Chinese thought. Furthermore, no translator has consulted extensively the many commentaries regarding the text, much less the thought. Finally, no translator has written a complete commentary from the perspective of the total history of Chinese philosophy. Besides, a comprehensive and critical account of the recent debates on Lao Tzu the man and Lao Tzu the book is long overdue. The present work is a humble attempt to fill these gaps.