Tao Living

"I remember reading one of Derek's first articles in the Tao Living section of the website. It was called 'Meet the Meat' and left quite an impression. Through his use of amusing allegories and uniquely tuned observation, Derek communicates life's simple truths and offers suggestions for how to put thoughts into action. Reading Derek's writing always evokes in me the feeling of listening to a dear friend share a new discovery."

Carmen Cejudo

"I've followed an enjoyed the Tao Living articles and teachings by Derek Lin for years now. I look forward to new installments and re-read the existing chapters repeatedly. One of the things that strikes me as truly wonderful, is that each time I read one of the articles, I learn something new, or I see the words from a different angle, and gain a new perspective both on ancient wisdom and modern living. I've recommended Tao Living to many people at my Tai-Chi school, and they too have really enjoyed what they've read. Derek makes the teachings of Lao Tzu, and Chuang Tzu alive and relevant and fun to study as well as meaningful and applicable to the struggles of everyday life."

William Bunting
Tai Chi Instructor
Database Programmer
Carmel, Indiana

"Five years ago, I read my first installment of Tao Living. I had no idea then what Derek's words would start in me: a change of direction in my life for which I will always be grateful. What struck me about his writing then – and still does – is the integrity. For Derek is always clear that while he hopes his truth might act as a guide for others to find theirs, he has no wish to be anybody's guru. It is also fascinating to read his older articles and note his own spiritual development, of which he makes no secret is still a work-in-progress. Admirably, he refuses to roll the carpet up behind him, as it were, by re-writing his early work, thus reassuring the practitioner who is new to Taoism, that this is indeed a path that is long, sometimes difficult, but, with patience, ultimately fruitful."

Richard Seymour
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

"Derek, in his site, and especially in his column 'Tao Living' is an inspired writer. He presents an incredible combination of knowledge of Taoist philosophy with ease of expression even in presence of multilevel meanings: his insights guide us on the path to enlightenment in more ways than one. His writing is more than eye opening; it is mind opening and illuminating. His writings are erudite, challenging and fun. I recommend for everyone, from the advanced student to the occasional reader."

Professor Geraldo Lino de Campos (ret.)
Computer Engineering
Universidade de São Paulo
São Paulo, Brazil

"I've read a lot of translations of The Tao, and a lot of books explaining the Tao, but I've never read anything as illuminating and as practical as Derek Lin's writings on The Tao. He not only interprets this deceptively complex book, but he explains how to apply the Tao in our daily lives. Thanks to Derek Lin, the Tao has shaped and changed my life. I guess I should thank Lao Tzu also, but he's not around anymore!"

Myles Berkowitz

"Derek's Tao Living column offers a regular and always insightful look into the everyday dilemmas that are so common in our lives, we've forgotten they're avoidable. The stories Derek uses to illustrate his points are always to the point, and his overview is always a joy to read."

Nick Merrill

"Derek has some very powerful and uplifting insights into the Way of the Tao. He has demonstrated a modern day approach to ancient wisdom of the sages that are both uplifting and inspiring. In understanding this ancient wisdom, Derek shares some very valuable and practical ways to apply this wisdom to your life. The essence of which is clear, beautiful, and a precise guide to transformation. I recommend that you use this wisdom in your path to becoming harmonious with the Great Tao."

Kataraina Wihapi
Rotorua, New Zealand

"Truth only turns into wisdom when it becomes part of the very essence of a person. If a great teacher is someone who turns static truth into the dynamics of personal transformation, then Derek Lin qualifies as a great teacher."

Jos Slabbert
Vineta, Namibia

It’s been five years since I first discovered the web site. I was immediately struck by the modern and yet timeless pertinence of its content. I remember my urge to write to the Webmaster - whoever he was - to congratulate and thank him for the excellent work.

At the time, I had been a Tao follower for three years, trying to put into practice some obscure and inspiring concepts. The discovery of the site really happened at the right time. Reading the enigmatic classics proved oftentimes to be quite a hard task. Whole passages from Lao Tzu simply made no sense to me. And yet, I was curious to push my understanding further... Tao Living installments made things clear, using a contemporary imagery to help the Tao follower in his quest for more inner peace.

Here is an excerpt from the letter I wrote to Mr. Derek Lin at the time:

As professor Carl Gustav Jung pointed out in his Commentary on The Secret Flower (and old Taoist text): "The great difficulty in interpreting this and similar texts for the European is that the author always starts from the central point, from the point we would call the goal, the highest and ultimate insight he has attained."

The fact is, I’m still far from being there (although some lines of the Tao Te Ching do make some sense to me), I have a number of stages to go through before actually being one with Tao - before BEING.

These stages, or steps if you will, it seems that I find them indirectly in your web site. The Tao Living newsletters, for instance. Down-to-earth teachings, written in a simple, sympathetic way, one that really reaches my heart, not just my intellect, and that inspires me tremendously.

Today, I still think every word I said at that time. It was five years ago. I have translated in French a number of Tao Living installments since, and deeply hope to see those texts reaching a vaster audience.

Sylvain Paquette
Sherbrooke, Canada

In my study of Eastern philosophy and martial arts, I have become increasingly aware of the discrepancy between academic knowledge and wisdom borne of life experience. Derek Lin’s book “The Tao of Daily Life” strikes a perfect balance between the two worlds. Mr. Lin’s translation of the Tao Te Ching pays homage to the original intent of the text because of his enormous respect and knowledge of Chinese history and tradition. Yet, the translation reflects his personal application of Tao principles in every day life.

The essence of Tao practice is experiential. Yet, a translator must possess the intellectual and academic ability to convey the original intent of Lao Tzu writings. Derek’s command of the Chinese language and understanding of his culture of origin yields unique insight into the teachings of Lao Tzu and how they apply to our modern society. I have personally witnessed Mr. Lin apply Tao principles to the vexing relationship and personal issues of mutual acquaintances with great success. His gentle and equitable demeanor permeates the text and allows the reader to absorb the content at his/her own pace and level of understanding.

All in all, Tao cultivators should practice what they preach. After being immersed in academic environments for many years where there is a distinct division between intellectual pursuit and functional wisdom, I can assure you that Mr. Derek Lin is a Tao cultivator in the truest sense and I would highly recommend his book, “The Tao of Daily Life”.

Professor Edward Monaghan
UCLA Department of Theater, Film and Television
UCLA Mind/Body Faculty Committee
Wellness Committee – City of West Hollywood
30-Year Martial Art Practitioner


I've found that your use of the stories is perfectly illustrative of the concepts and ideas you're attempting to demonstrate in your Tao Living posts. These posts are extremely helpful to me, and they make the not always so accessible teaching of Taoism much more understandable to someone who is just now finding himself through Tao. I'd simply like to thank you for these posts and let you know that you're doing an excellent job of getting your points across. I particularly enjoyed to most recent installment about the wealthy man who desired to pass over the foundation, first floor and second floor as a means of saving time and money. I don't think there is a better metaphor.

Love, peace, and elbow grease,


Dear Derek,

You are my favorite author! I've recently found True Tao, and have read lots of your powerful stories, and learning every second from them. I am totally blind and am using Window-Eyes screen reader. Your outstanding writing is changing my life, and man is that a difficult and necessary task, thanks!

I just got finished rereading four of your enlightening stories and am just as please with them the third or fourth time over, as I was the first. It is difficult for me to give you my favorite, but after rereading "Eight Winds" that is likely to be the winner. It is especially perfect for us, collectively speaking blind people. Because of fears, we rarely get recognized and as a results overplay our abilities. I am good with a cane and have to walk extra fast, with computers, and have to demonstrate my ability as often as possible, and the list goes on and on... I copied all and brought it into Notetaker and saved in txt. Then reloaded it so that the symbols had been eliminated and took it into my mail server and sent it to my blind friends.

Joe Tolve