cover image Teachings of the Tao

Teachings of the Tao

. Shambhala Publications, $16.95 (164pp) ISBN 978-1-57062-245-8

The greatest strength of this collection is that it goes beyond the well-known texts of the Tao-Te Ching, Chuang-Tzu and Lieh-Tzu to encompass the later Taoist texts featuring the magical, alchemical, devotional and physical facets of Taoism. However, the weakness of the book is that it is too brief. Meant as a companion volume to Wong's The Shambhala Guide to Taoism, this collection can only touch on the complex symbolism of the lesser-known texts. Moreover, Wong's careful elaboration of the textual histories of the Taoist canon becomes bafflingly complicated, only increasing the sense that this little book has taken on a subject too large for its pages. While the translations are elegant and the commentary clear and thoughtful, readers may feel shortchanged by being asked to buy another book to make sense of this one. (Feb.)