Exploring the Way and Its Power: Reading and Reflecting on the Daodejing

A Weekend Program at

La Terre Institute for Community and Ecology

22500 Rue La Terre, Kiln, MS.

October 21-22, 2017

The Daodejing, or Book of the Way and Its Power, is an ancient Chinese classic. It is known for its teaching that there is a “way” (dao) or natural path of realization for each being and for the whole of nature, and that the two can be in dynamic harmony with one another. It is one of the world’s great spiritual classics and one of the great classics of nature philosophy. We will spend a weekend in the forest at Bayou La Terre reflecting on the meaning of this brief work’s eighty-one stanzas and their implications for ourselves, our communities, and the world.

Our basic text will be the Daodejing. We will also discuss some of Han Shan’s Cold Mountain Poems. Gary Snyder’s “On the Path, Off the Trail” and Thoreau’s “Walking” are suggested as background reading. Copies of all readings and detailed program information will be sent to participants when they register. As the schedule indicates, we will devote our time together to discussing the texts, walking, hiking, reflecting, and meditating.

The program will be held at La Terre Institute on 87 wooded acres on Bayou La Terre, near Dedeaux, MS. It is 67 miles (about 75 minutes) from New Orleans. Participants should bring food, a tent for camping, and personal items. We will also contribute food for group meals and have some room for participants in the cabin.

There is no cost. Donations are appreciated but not expected, and participants are welcome to volunteer for trail work, building, and other projects. However, there will be no work projects during this weekend.

Maximum registration for the program will be fifteen. Please register as soon as possible, but only if you are confident that you can participate on the scheduled weekend, and that you will be present for the entire program (Noon Saturday to 3:00 PM Sunday). Please email surregionalist@bellsouth.net for registration or information.



Noon-1:00 Lunch and Orientation
1:00-2:30 Daodejing 1-16
2:30-3:00 Walking, Reflection, Meditation
3:00-4:30 Daodejing 17-33
4:30-5:00 Walking, Reflection, Meditation
5:00-6:30 Daodejing 34-50
6:30-9:30 Dinner and Bonfire


8:00-9:30 Breakfast
9:30-Noon Hike to Ancient Cypress; Daodejing 51-67 & Cold Mountain Poems
Noon-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:30 Daodejing 68-81
2:30-3:00 Final Group Reflections
3:00-6:00 Optional hike and Departure