By the Dudely Lama, Oliver Benjamin
After the Christian Bible, the Tao Te Ching is the most widely-translated book in the world. But that’s only part of the story: There are no fewer than 100 translations in English alone.
This is because this Taoist holy book was written in such a poetic Chinese idiom that no one can say for certain what it means. As a wiser fella than ourselves once said: “Sometimes you read the book, and sometimes the book, well, it reads you.” The Tao Te Ching is that sort of book. Even though it was written well over 2000 years ago, it is still very much relevant today.
While there are many books which have given rise to religions, few movies have managed to pull off such a feat. The Coen brothers 1998 film The Big Lebowski is one of them, having inspired Dudeism, a religion with about 400,000 ordained Dudeist priests all over the world as of 2016. However, since Dudeism is also basically a modernized form of Taoism, it is equally inspired by the Tao Te Ching.
In order to illustrate the far-out connection between The Big Lebowski and Taoism, we’ve produced this unique re-interpretation of the Tao Te Ching. In it, each verse of the Tao is reworked using material from The Big Lebowski, often to amusing-but-illuminating effect. To help illustrate the correspondence, we’ve provided our own original translation of the Tao Te Ching after each verse of the Dude De Ching.
This is the result: A book of levity and brevity which helps identify Dudeism as a modern incarnation of Taoism. We hope you dig its style.
REV. OLIVER BENJAMIN
The Dudely Lama of The Church of the Latter-Day Dude