The Tao Speaks: A Review of Tsai Chih Chung's Comic Book on Lao-tzu's Whispers of Wisdom
If you are looking for a fun and easy way to learn about the ancient philosophy of Taoism, you might want to check out The Tao Speaks, a comic book by Tsai Chih Chung that retells the classic text of Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu. Tsai Chih Chung is a famous Taiwanese cartoonist who has adapted many Chinese classics into comics, such as Zen Speaks, Confucius Speaks, and Sunzi Speaks. His books have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and have been translated into many languages.
The Tao Speaks is a collection of 81 short chapters that illustrate the main concepts and teachings of Taoism, such as the Tao (the Way), wu-wei (non-action), yin and yang (opposite forces), and ziran (naturalness). The comic panels are full of humor, wisdom, and charm, and they capture the essence of Lao-tzu's words in a modern and accessible way. The book also includes the original Chinese notes in the margins for those who want to study the text more closely.
Taoism is a philosophy that advocates living in harmony with nature and oneself, and avoiding unnecessary conflicts and desires. It teaches that the Tao is the source of all things, and that by following its flow, one can achieve peace and happiness. Tsai Chih Chung's comic book is a great introduction to this ancient wisdom, and it can also inspire readers to explore more of the rich and diverse traditions of Chinese culture.
If you are interested in reading The Tao Speaks, you can download a pdf version of the book from this link: [insert link here]. You can also find other books by Tsai Chih Chung on his website: [insert website here]. Enjoy!
One of the most famous chapters in The Tao Speaks is chapter 11, which compares the usefulness of emptiness to that of solidity. It says: "Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub; It is the center hole that makes it useful. Shape clay into a vessel; It is the space within that makes it useful. Cut doors and windows for a room; It is the holes which make it useful. Therefore profit comes from what is there; Usefulness from what is not there."
This chapter illustrates the Taoist principle of wu-wei, which means non-action or effortless action. It suggests that by doing less, one can achieve more, and that by being empty, one can be filled. Tsai Chih Chung draws a humorous scene of a man who tries to use a solid wheel, a solid pot, and a solid house, and ends up frustrated and unhappy. He then shows how the same man benefits from using a wheel with spokes, a pot with space, and a house with doors and windows. The comic makes the point that sometimes less is more, and that simplicity is the key to happiness.
Another famous chapter in The Tao Speaks is chapter 25, which describes the Tao as the mother of all things. It says: "There was something formless and perfect before the universe was born. It is serene. Empty. Solitary. Unchanging. Infinite. Eternally present. It is the mother of the universe. For lack of a better name, I call it the Tao."
This chapter reveals the Taoist view of the origin and nature of the cosmos, and how everything is connected to and dependent on the Tao. Tsai Chih Chung draws a beautiful scene of a pregnant woman who represents the Tao, and how she gives birth to various creatures and phenomena, such as animals, plants, stars, seasons, and emotions. He then shows how these things interact with each other in harmony and balance, following the natural order of the Tao. The comic conveys the awe and wonder of the Taoist worldview, and how it invites us to appreciate and respect the diversity and beauty of life. aa16f39245