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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Book Availability

Question: Derek, I'm trying to buy your book, Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, but it seems to be sold out everywhere I look. Can you tell us what's going on? When will it be available?

Answer: The latest information I have from the publisher is that we have indeed gone through the first print run. Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained went into reprint several weeks ago, and the publisher has just received the new printing. They will be shipping out all the back orders this week. East coast warehouses and major outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble should also receive books this week; West coast warehouses are expected to receive their shipment next week.

If you have not yet received your order of Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, I want to assure you that it is on its way to you. Thank you for your patience.

To the readers who already have their books: Thank you for your support! Thank you for your word-of-mouth campaign making all this possible. It is a great honor for me to have this connection with you, through the Internet and the medium of words!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Reading Both Books

Recently, several people came up with the same question about the two books. After answering each person individually (on BlogSpot, through e-mail and in person), I thought I should also post my response as a blog entry for greater visibility. There may be others out there who are wondering the same thing.

Question: Derek, I have both of your books, and I am trying to decide which one to read first. Would I get more out of the stories if I read the Tao Te Ching first? Or, would I find the Tao Te Ching easier to understand if I read the stories first? What is your recommendation?

Answer: I would suggest that you make use of both books at the same time, but in different ways. Start by reading the stories from The Tao of Daily Life, and use the translation as a reference. The dharma talk following each story often quotes lines from the Tao Te Ching to make a point. When you come across such a quote, you can refer to that specific chapter in Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained for a more in-depth look at the original text. This is a way to study the Tao that many people seem to enjoy, so I hope it works well for you too. Have fun!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Question: Derek, I thought I was quite knowledgeable about Zen and Tao stories, but your new book contains quite a few stories I haven't come across before. Can you tell me where you get these stories?

Answer: They all come from the storytelling tradition of Chinese culture. Some of the stories are recorded in ancient texts and some are not, but all are told by teachers and storytellers from one generation to the next. There are literally thousands of such stories, but only some of them - a small fraction - have crossed the cultural divide. When such stories come into the West, they are often distorted in the retelling; sometimes they are altered on purpose in order to appeal to the Western audience. You may have already come across such stories in web sites and forwarded e-mails.

My primary purpose in writing The Tao of Daily Life is to bring across more of these ancient stories, especially the ones that are practically unknown in the West. For the stories that have already crossed over, I go back to the original source in order to create the most accurate version of the classic, with no distortions or alterations. The dharma talks that follow the stories are also written to be as authentic as possible. I want the reader of this book to experience the stories and teachings in exactly the same way that a Chinese person would - feeling the same sense of joy and inspiration, because the Tao transcends the division between East and West. Indeed, the Tao speaks to the core that is common to all humanity, for within the it we are all united in oneness... regardless of cultural background!