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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Free Books for Prisoners

Question: Derek, I understand you donate copies of your Tao Te Ching translation to prisoners, and I have a friend who is currently incarcerated. I believe he can benefit from your writing, but as much as I like your translation, I think he would be more receptive to your stories. Do you have a similar program of donation for your other book, The Tao of Daily Life?

Answer: Yes, I do indeed give away both Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained and The Tao of Daily Life. The terms are exactly the same for both in that there is absolutely no charge - I will pay for the books as well as the shipping costs. If you are interested, you can visit the following links for more information:

Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained - Free Books for Prisoners

The Tao of Daily Life - Free Books for Prisoners

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ancestor Worship

Quesiton: Derek, I have always been under the impression that Chinese people practice ancestor worship, but recently a friend from Asia tells me that "worship" isn't really the right word. Can you explain this to me? Also, what is the relationship, if any, between ancestor worship and the Tao?

Ancestor: Your friend is correct, in that what the Chinese people actually do is express gratitude and commemorate the past in a ritualistic way. The ancestors are not being worshipped in a religious sense, so the term "ancestor worship" can give the wrong impression.

The true essence of the Chinese practice is very much connected to the Tao. Someone who cultivates the Tao appreciates everything that has taken place in order for the present moment to be exactly what it is. This appreciation certainly includes our parents, grandparents, and ancestors, for without them we would not exist.

If you would like to see more discussions on this topic, please take a look at the following:

Drink Water, Think of Source