This group will use the classic ancient Chinese text known as the Tao Te Ching as a basis for spiritual nurture. This will not be a book study; we will use the text as a basis for reflection, using a modified worship sharing format.
This text is difficult for Westerners because it is deeply spiritual while also being non-theistic, non-credal, and non-dogmatic. Since Quakers are non-credal and non-dogmatic, we can feel our way into this way of being in the world.
Because of the difficulties of translating from Chinese characters, we will use several texts:
For beginners, I recommend Ursula K LeGuin’s Tao Te Ching. A lifelong reader of the Tao Te Ching (her father had a copy) she offers an adaptation/interpretation (she is not a translator) along with commentaries which will be very helpful to us in our search for the nurturing content of this ancient perspective on life.
Stephen Mitchell also offers an adaptation/interpretation which puts these often obscure passages into a more accessible format.
My favorite actual translator is David Hinton. He is a true scholar, familiar with all the ancient Chinese texts and conversant with the original Chinese characters, or “logographs,” in which it is written. He has an excellent introduction.
I like and use the translation by Gia Fu Feng and Jane English, which also has an excellent introduction by Jacob Needleman.
There are many others- the Tao Te Ching has been translated as much as the Bible. Any versions that you have on your shelf are welcome.