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Whether you know him as Lao Tzu, Laozi, or Lao-Tze, this “Old Master” was a Chinese philosopher and writer. These Lao Tzu quotes give insight into this wise man and his teachings.
Alive sometime between the 4th and 6th centuries B.C., this semi-legendary figure has played a central role in Chinese culture for millennia. Lao Tzu has traditionally been regarded as the author of the Tao Te Ching, an ancient Chinese text that describes the Tao (or Dao) as the source of all existence.
Tao is an unseen but not transcendent force that is both powerful yet humble. It is an ideal that is at the root of all things.
As the author of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu is regarded as the founder of philosophical Taoism, and as a deity in both religious Taoism and other traditional Chinese religions.
Primary taken from this foundational text, Lao Tzu’s words are concerned with returning to nature, seeking calm, and living in the moment. We’ve collected the best Lao Tzu quotes to give you the inspiration you need to live better.
Top Lao Tzu Quotes
To think you know when you do not is a disease.
Recognizing this disease as a disease is to be free of it.”
Lao Tzu on Letting Go
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Quiet the restlessness of the mind
only then will you witness everything unfolding from emptiness.”
Laozi on Living The Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.”
If you understand yourself you are illuminated.
If you overcome others you are powerful.
If you overcome yourself you have strength.
If you know how to be satisfied you are rich.
If you can act with vigor, you have a will.
If you don’t lose your objectives you can be long-lasting.
If you die without loss, you are eternal.”
Sounds deafen the ear.
Flavors numb the taste.
Thoughts weaken the mind.
Desires wither the heart.” – Tao Te Ching
When people barely know he exists
Of a good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will say, ‘We did this ourselves.'”
Perspectives on Existence
sees what’s hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.”
than the silent balance
between yin and yang.”
While the tender and weak dance on the breeze above.”
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.”
The more he gives to others,
the more he has for his own.”
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore benefit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this huge collection of Lao Tzu quotes! May they bring you peace and show you the Way.
— Quincy Seale
Quincy is KIM's lead editor and content writer, and has invested in online properties since 2009. Quincy holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and lives in San Antonio with his wife Natalie and his dog Oban. When not working on KIM, he enjoys traveling, poker, and anything related to crypto.