Chinese Ancient Architectural Design Of A Multicolored Temple

80+ Insightful Lao Tzu Quotes On Generosity, Love, and Being One with the Universe

Although historians debate the facts of his life, it is said that the notorious ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, was born with the name Er Li in the 5th or 6th Century B.C. Throughout his life he gained the name Laozi 老 or Lao Tzu, meaning “old venerable master”, which he is now remembered by. He worked as a scholar and kept archives for the Royal Court of Zhou but his personal life has two versions:

One version tells that Lao Tzu was married and had a son named Zong. Somehow, Zong and Laozi became separated with Zong going on to become a decorated soldier. By coincidence, they reunited one day and Laozi lends advice to his son, causing Zong to bring peace between the armies at war.

In the second version, Lao Tzu lived in Changzhou, but due to the city’s immoral and materialist manner, Laozi decided to flee and become a hermit in the mountains. Before he was able to go, a guard came Yinxi stopped him and asked Laozi to write his knowledge down for the benefit of the citizens. This written knowledge became what is known as the Tao Te Ching and left Yinxi so impressed, he became Laozi’s disciple.

Laozi’s teachings, known as the Tao Te Ching, are recognized to be one of the cornerstones of the Taoist religion alongside Chinese philosopher Zhuang’s, Zhuangzi. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu is considered to be the founder of philosophical Taoism (also known as Daoism) and in some branches of the religious Taoism, he is worshipped as a god for he is considered the perfect embodiment of the Tao. Taoism is considered to be both a philosophy and a religion and is recognized as one of the five traditional Chinese religions.

Known to be one of the most influential Chinese philosophers of all time, Lao Tzu leaves behind a legacy of wisdom about the harmonious life we all should live with the universe. Continue reading the article below to discover wise Lao Tzu quotes that teach generosity, knowledge, and meditation on being one with the universe.

Lao Tzu Quotes
Zhang Lu

Lao Tzu Quotes on Courage, Strength, and Growth

“A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

“Silence is a source of great strength.”

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

“From caring comes courage.”

“Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength.”

“Because of a great love, one is courageous.”

“A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.”

“The difficult problems in life always start off being simple. Great affairs always start off being small.”

“The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world. Through this I know the advantage of taking no action.”

“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.”

“People in their handlings of affairs often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure.”

“To be worn out is to be renewed.”

“A violent wind does not last for a whole morning; a sudden rain does not last for the whole day.”

“Your own positive future begins in this moment. All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here.”

“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.”

Wise Lao Tzu Quotes to Live By

“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.”

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”

“The wise man is one who knows what he does not know.”

“The truth is not always beautiful, nor does beautiful word the truth.”

“Manifest plainness, Embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, Have few desires.”

“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”

“If I had just a little bit of wisdom I should walk the great path and fear only straying from it.”

“When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder.”

“Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel and cannot be controlled. Trying to control leads to ruin. Trying to grasp, we lose. Allow your life to unfold naturally. Know that it too is a vessel of perfection. Just as you breathe in and breathe out, there is a time for being ahead and a time for being behind; a time for being in motion and a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous and a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe and a time for being in danger.”

“Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.”

“Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.”

“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.”

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”

“Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.”

“Men are born soft and supple; dead they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.”

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”

“When goodness is lost there is morality.”

“The Wise Man is square but not sharp, honest but not malign, straight but not severe, bright but not dazzling.”

“The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.”

“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal 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.”

“Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretches her fingers to touch the heavens.”

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?”

“Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good. He who knows has no wide learning; he who has wide learning does not know.”

“From wonder into wonder existence opens.”

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”

“Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish – too much handling will spoil it.”

“To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.”

“What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.”

“Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and look at the stars. This practice should answer the question.”

“There is no disaster greater than not being content; there is no misfortune greater than being covetous.”

“The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”

“Accomplish but do not boast, accomplish without show, accomplish without arrogance, accomplish without grabbing, accomplish without forcing.”

“Trying to control the future is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place. When you handle the master carpenter’s tools, chances are that you’ll cut your hand.”

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”

“The road you can talk about is not the road you can walk on.”

“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.”

“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.”

“The Tao is nowhere to be found. Yet it nourishes and completes all things.”

“The world belongs to those who let go.”

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

“Become totally empty. Quiet the restlessness of the mind. Only then will you witness everything unfolding from emptiness.”

“If you wish to be out front, then act as if you were behind.”

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.”

“Stop thinking and end your problems.”

Lao Tzu Quotes on Generosity, Love, and Friendship

“If a person seems wicked, do not cast him away. Awaken him with your words, elevate him with your deeds, repay his injury with your kindness. Do not cast him away; cast away his wickedness.”

“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.”

“Great acts are made up of small deeds.”

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

“Love is of all the passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses.”

“Love is a decision – not an emotion!”

“Go to the people. Live with them, learn from them, love them.”

“He who defends with love will be secure; Heaven will save him, and protect him with love.”

“The reason why the universe is eternal is that it does not live for itself; it gives life to others as it transforms.”

“Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.”

“A bad man is a good man’s job.”

“Our enemies are not demons, but human beings like ourselves.”

“The way of heaven is to help and not harm.”

“Surrender your self-interest. Love others as much as you love yourself. Then you can be entrusted with all things under heaven.”

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

“He who obtains, has little. He who scatters, has much.”

More Quotes:

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