Discover the ancient wisdom of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu or Lao Zi, author of the Taoist classic Tao Te Ching.
Best Lao Tzu Quotes on Life
1. “The best fighter is never angry.”
2. “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
3. “The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”
4. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
5. “A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”
6. “Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”
7. “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
8. “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
9. “The longer you travel, the less you know.”(Chapter 47)
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Lao Tzu Quotes on Love
10. “Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.” (Chapter 67)
12. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
13. 'When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.' Lao Tzu Click To Tweet
14. “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
15. “See others as yourself. See families as your family. See towns as your town. See countries as your country. See worlds as your world.” (Chapter 54)
16. “The Master has no mind of her own. She works with the mind of the people. She is good to people who are good. She is also good to people who aren’t good. This is true goodness. She trusts people who are trustworthy. She also trusts people who aren’t trustworthy. This is true trust.” (Chapter 49)
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Lao Tzu Quotes on Happiness and Desire
17. “When there is no desire, all things are at peace”
18. “He who is contented is rich.”
19.“Stop thinking, and end your problems. What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure? Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?” (Chapter 20)
20. “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
21. “Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.”
22. “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
23. “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”
24. “The Tao is infinite, eternal.
Why is it eternal?
It was never born;
thus it can never die.
Why is it infinite?
It has no thus it is present for all beings.”
desires for itself;
25. “Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.”
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Lao Tzu Quotes on Leadership and Government
26. 'Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish – too much handling will spoil it.' (Lao Tzu, Chapter 60) Click To Tweet
27. “Good leaders reach solutions, and then stop. They do not dare to rely on force.” (Chapter 30)
28. “If princes and kings could follow it (Tao), all things would by themselves abide, Heaven and Earth would unite and sweet dew would fall. People would by themselves find harmony, without being commanded.” (Chapter 32)
29. “Stop trying to control.
30. “Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself.
The more prohibitions you have, the less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have, the less secure people will be.”
31. “Can you love people and lead them without imposing your will?” (Chapter 10)
32. ‘The more laws and commands there are, the more thieves and robbers there will be.’ Lao Tzu Click To Tweet
33. “He who treasures his body as much as the world can care for the world.” (Chapter 13)
34. “If a country is governed with tolerance,
the people are comfortable and honest.
If a country is governed with repression,
the people are depressed and crafty.” (Chapter 58)
35. “The more subsidies you have, the less self-reliant people will be.” (Chapter 57)
36. “The one who rules like the mother lasts long.” (Chapter 59)
37. “If you don’t trust the people, you make them untrustworthy.” (Chapter 17)
38. “The Master doesn’t talk, he acts. When his work is done,
the people say, ‘Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!’” (Chapter 17)
39. 'When the Master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists. Next best is a leader who is loved. Next, one who is feared. The worst is one who is despised.' (Lao Tzu, Chapter 17) Click To Tweet
40. “All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are.
Humility gives it its power. If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them. If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.” (Chapter 66)
41. “If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them.
If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.
The Master is above the people, and no one feels oppressed.
She goes ahead of the people, and no one feels manipulated.”
The whole world is grateful to her. Because she competes with no one, no one can compete with her.” (Chapter 66)
42. “The best leader follows the will of the people. (Chapter 68)
43. “When they lose their sense of awe, people turn to religion. When they no longer trust themselves, they begin to depend upon authority. Therefore the Master steps back, so that people won’t be confused. He teaches without a teaching, so that people will have nothing to learn.” (Chapter 72)
44. “When the government is too intrusive, people lose their spirit. Act for the people’s benefit. Trust them; leave them alone.” (Chapter 75)
45. “The Master leads by emptying people’s minds and filling their cores, by weakening their ambition and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything they know, everything they desire, and creates confusion in those who think that they know.” (Chapter 3)
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Lao Tzu Quotes On Letting Go and Yielding (Water)
46. “Practice not-doing, and everything will fall into place.”
47. “The soft and weak overcome the hard and strong.”
48. “Because he (the Sage) does not resist, none in the world resists him.”
49. “Empty to be filled.”
50. “By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.”
51. “Wear down to be renewed.”
52. “The rigid tree will be felled.”
53. “Yielding, like ice about to melt.”
54. “If you want to be given everything, give everything up.”
55. “Nothing in the world is softer and weaker than water. Yet, to attack the hard and strong, nothing surpasses it.”
56. “The Master observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is open as the sky.”
57. “If you want to become whole,
let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight,
let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full,
let yourself be empty.
If you want to be reborn,
let yourself die.”
58. “Those who seek knowledge, collect something every day. Those who seek the Way, let go of something every day.”
59. “The weak overcomes the strong. The soft overcomes the hard.”
60. “Things arise and she lets them come; Things disappear and she lets them go. She has but doesn’t possess, acts but doesn’t expect.”
61. “The supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to. It is content with the low places that people disdain.” (Chapter 8)
Lao Tzu Quotes on Silence and Stillness
62. “Attain utmost emptiness. Abide in steadfast stillness.”
63. “Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.” (Chapter 16)
64. “Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.” (Chapter 16)
65. “Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?”
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Lao Tzu Quotes On Knowledge and Wisdom
66. “Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things?”
67. ”I have the mind of a fool, understanding nothing.”
68. “A good artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants.”
69. “Those who understand others are clever, those who understand themselves are wise.”
70. “A good scientist has freed himself of concepts and keeps his mind open to what is.”
71. “The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnamable is the eternally real.”
72. “When wisdom and knowledge appear, great pretense arises.”
73. ‘Knowing that you do not know is the best. Not knowing that you do not know is an illness.’ Lao Tzu Click To Tweet
74. “Abandon knowledge and your worries are over.”
75. “When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.”
76. “True words are not pleasing. Pleasing words are not true.”
77. “Not knowing of the eternal leads to unfortunate errors.”
78. “Those who are right do not argue. Those who argue are not right.”
79. ”He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.”
80. “Those who know are not learned. Those who are learned do not know.”
81. “Knowing others is intelligence;
Knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
Mastering yourself is true power.”
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Fake Lao Tzu Quotes
82. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” (more information)
83. “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” (more information)
84. “When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready the teacher will disappear.” (more information)
85. “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” (more information)
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