SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

Each Journey Begins with a Single Step: The Taoist Book of Life

Hampton Roads. Sept. 2018. 192p. notes. ISBN 9781571748386. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612834245. REL
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"If we are to find guidance, it will be on the road," says Deng (The Wisdom of Tao). This collection of Taoist sayings is organized around simple and profound concepts, such as the road or path, truth or reason, speech and steps, or process. It's the multiple meanings that derive from this combination of concepts that will speak to each individual. That is, there is no one meaning to these apothegms: one's own subjectivity, brought to bear on one's journey, will produce its purpose. What starts as shadow but begins to take form as one moves through these unassuming insights is the place of paradox within life ("True words are not beautiful. Beautiful words are not true") and the reduction of absolutes that often define or suffocate existence ("Deep doubts, deep wisdom; little doubt, little wisdom"). A helpful glossary with notes adds to one's understanding of some of these more elusive concepts.
VERDICT Deng describes life as a journey in poetic form, offering the primary sources of these sayings.

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