Tao: The Watercourse Way

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Tao: The Watercourse Way
Tao The Watercourse Way cover Alan Watts.jpg
AuthorAlan Watts, Al Chung-liang Huang (collaborator)
CountryUnited States
SubjectTaoism, philosophy
Published1975, Pantheon
Media typePrint
Pages134 pages

Tao: The Watercourse Way is a 1975 non-fiction book on Taoism and philosophy, and is Alan Watts' last book.[1][2] It was published posthumously in 1975 with the collaboration of Al Chung-liang Huang, who also contributed a preface and afterword, and with additional calligraphy by Lee Chih-chang.[3][4]


This short book (five chapters, with a Preface, Bibliography, etc.) provides a distillation of Watt's view of Taoism accompanied by historical information.[5] Linguistic issues are highlighted and calligraphic samples of many of the cited Chinese texts are included. As described in Huang's Preface, Watts had planned two further chapters showing how Taoism could be "medicine for the ills of the West", but these were unwritten at the time of Watts' death in 1973.


Kirkus Reviews praised the work, and stated that it was a "Good introduction to the Tao."[6] Joseph Needham also wrote favorably of Tao: The Watercourse Way and called it an "admirable introduction to Taoist philosophy and its symbolism".[7]


  1. ^ Grasmück, Oliver (2004). Geschichte und Aktualität der Daoismusrezeption im deutschsprachigen Raum. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 31, 124. ISBN 978-3-8258-7017-1. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  2. ^ Hansen, Chadwick; Toropov, Brandon (2002). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Taoism. Alpha. p. 131. ISBN 9780028642628. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  3. ^ Columbus, Peter J.; Rice, Donadrian L. (2012). Alan Watts–Here and Now: Contributions to Psychology, Philosophy, and Religion. SUNY Press. pp. 4, 16, 116. ISBN 9781438442013. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  4. ^ Crawford (editor), Holly (2008). Artistic Bedfellows: Histories, Theories and Conversations in Collaborative Art Practices. University Press of America. p. 263. ISBN 9780761841913. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  5. ^ Gill, Robin D. (2009). A Dolphin in the Woods Composite Translation, Paraversing & Distilling Prose. Paraverse Press. pp. 21, 22. ISBN 978-0984092314. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  6. ^ "TAO: The Watercourse Way". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  7. ^ Needham, Joseph (July 1978). "The Tao—Illuminations and Corrections of the Way". Theology. 81 (682): 244–252. doi:10.1177/0040571X7808100402. Retrieved 2 August 2014.