Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Remaindered Wisdom

Browsing at Borders Books the other day I saw a remaindered copy of a book titled "The Essence of Tao." It's mostly a compendium of quotes from the Tao Te Ching and eclectic sources that relate to the wisdom of the Tao.

Usually each page is devoted to a brief quotation so that the quotes look out on the reader in pairs. The pairings are carefully selected (by Maggie Pinkney) and lend new meaning to the halves. The effect of combining the wisdom of disparate sources is stunning.

But the book at Borders was shop worn and the last copy, so I didn't buy it for $4.99. I returned home to search for it on the web.

No luck. (NB: There is another well known book with the same title.)

The book I sought was published by The Five Mile Press, which is located in Australia. Ordering a new book from the publisher looked prohibitively expensive.

So, finding myself downtown again last week, I dropped by Borders again. "The Essence of Tao" was still there so I bought it.

I may return to it here from time to time.

This sample from a two-page spread shows why:

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them.

But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

I have learned silence from the talkative;
tolerance from the intolerant,
and kindness from the unkind;
yet, strange,
I am ungrateful to those teachers.

Kahlil Gibran

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