About This Author

Laozi老子

Zhang Lu-Laozi Riding an Ox.jpg
Laozi by Zhang Lu ; Ming dynasty

Born

601 BC
Chujen village, state of Chu

Died

Unknown, departed to the West in 531 BC

Era

Ancient philosophy

Region

Chinese philosophy

School

Taoism

Notable ideas

Tao,wu wei

Influenced

  • Carl Jung, the Neotaoists

Laozi , also rendered as Lao Tzu and Lao-Tze , was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer. He is the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching, the founder of philosophical Taoism, and a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions.

A semi-legendary figure, Laozi was usually portrayed as a 6th-century BC contemporary of Confucius, but some modern historians consider him to have lived during the Warring States period of the 4th century BC. A central figure in Chinese culture, Laozi is claimed by both the emperors of the Tang dynasty and modern people of the Li surname as a founder of their lineage. Laozi's work has been embraced by both various anti-authoritarian movements and Chinese Legalism.

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Discover Lao Tzu Quotes and Sayings

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. - Lao Tzu

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

Lao Tzu

work leadership best
When the best leader's work is done the people say, 'We did it ourselves.' - Lao Tzu

When the best leader's work is done the people say, 'We did it ourselves.'

Lao Tzu

work leadership best
To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty. - Lao Tzu

To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.

Lao Tzu

best
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. - Lao Tzu

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

Lao Tzu

change
If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve. - Lao Tzu

If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.

Lao Tzu

change
Truthful words are not beautiful beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive persuasive words are not good. - Lao Tzu

Truthful words are not beautiful beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive persuasive words are not good.

Lao Tzu

good communication
From caring comes courage. - Lao Tzu

From caring comes courage.

Lao Tzu

courage
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. - Lao Tzu

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

Lao Tzu

strength love courage
Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength. - Lao Tzu

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

Lao Tzu

strength fear courage
Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides. - Lao Tzu

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

Lao Tzu

life death
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. - Lao Tzu

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.

Lao Tzu

failure
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. - Lao Tzu

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.

Lao Tzu

work life family
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. - Lao Tzu

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.

Lao Tzu

good
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. - Lao Tzu

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

Lao Tzu

good
Of all that is good, sublimity is supreme. Succeeding is the coming together of all that is beautiful. Furtherance is the agreement of all that is just. Perseverance is the foundation of all actions. - Lao Tzu

Of all that is good, sublimity is supreme. Succeeding is the coming together of all that is beautiful. Furtherance is the agreement of all that is just. Perseverance is the foundation of all actions.

Lao Tzu

good
I do not concern myself with gods and spirits either good or evil nor do I serve any. - Lao Tzu

I do not concern myself with gods and spirits either good or evil nor do I serve any.

Lao Tzu

good