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TAOISM AND CHINESE PHILOSOPHY
 
 
 
 

Leonardo Arena, Vivere il Taoismo (Living by Taoism), Milan, Mondadori 1996.


 
 

This book is a collection of the documents of philosophical Taoism, provided with an extensive commentary and notes. Following topics are dealt with: the principal masters, such as Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu; the second generation (Lieh-tzu), and the masters of "obscure metaphysics", also called Neotaoism, such as Wang Pi and Kuo Hsiang; alchemical taoism (T'ien-yin-tzu and the T'ai-hsi-ching); finally, various eclectic characters, who are not to be traced back to a well-defined school. However, the tendency remains the same: we have to deal with non-action and spontaneity, avoiding the "Confucian" way of life. Taoists hold an ethics of liberation, and exclude constraints. This book tries to show how Taoist methods and attitudes can be put into practice: it is not an academic product. From all masters, the most significant clues are chosen, so that readers can feel the taste for Taoism: in fact, its world is still with us, and is not relegated to erudition or learned studies. He who reads taoist stories and discourses will see himself changed, without knowing why.

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Leonardo Arena, Antologia della filosofia cinese (An Anthology of Chinese Philosophy), Milan, Mondadori 1991.
 
 

This anthology tries to cover all historical periods of Chinese philosophy, which is one of the three greatest philosophical traditions of the world, together with the Indian and the Greek. The following authors, books and streams are dealt with in translations of selected passages: the I-Ching, a relevant Classic of politics and philosophy of nature; early masters, i.e., Confucius and Lao-tzu, who represent two different world views; Confucius' successors: Meng-tzu and Hsun-tzu; Me Ti, the neglected rival of Confucius and the spokesman for the theory of "undifferentiated love" as well; Lao-tzu's ideal successors: Chuang-tzu and Lieh-tzu; the members of the school of names, that is, Hui Shih and Kung-sun Lung; the school of the law (Han-fei-tzu); another relevant Confucian character (Tung Chung-shu), and the two leading exponents of Neoconfucianism (Chu Hsi and Wang Yang-ming); other relevant Taoist characters (Huai-nan-tzu and T'an Ch'iao); Chinese Buddhism (the school of emptiness and Ch'an); scepticism (Wang Ch'ung); finally, two philosophers of our time (K'ang Yu-wei and Mao Tse-tung). All sections are provided with specific bibliographical notes. An articulated introduction regarding a general outline of Chinese way of thinking completes the book, which is not only a historical work, but is also a useful handbook to understand nowadays China.

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Leonardo Arena, La filosofia cinese (Chinese Philosophy), Milan, Rizzoli 2000.

This book deals with the history of Chinese philopshy from Confucius to Mao Tse-tung. The main concern of all Chinese thinkers is the human being with her/his problems, conflicts, and questions. Chinese philosophy is one of the three greatest traditions of human thought along with the Indian and the Greek one; today, it seems that the interest of audience is particularly focussed on this line, which, relatively speaking, has been neglected in the past. All Chinese philosophers aim at the tao, the only and true goal of existence, by means of a simple language imbued with subtle depth.

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Other books of Chinese Philosophy translated and edited by the author (with extensive notes and remarks):

Confucius, La grande dottrina e il giusto mezzo (The Great Teaching and The Right Mean), Milan, Rizzoli 2000 (second printing).

Sun-tzu, L'arte della guerra (The Art of War), Milan, Rizzoli 2000 (sixth printing).

Chuang-tzu, Il vero libro di Nan-hua (The True Book of Nan-hua), Milan, Mondadori 1998.

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