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This post has all the quotes by Lao Tzu you will ever need.
Lao Tzu was commonly portrayed as a 6th-century contemporary of Confucius.
However, modern historians believe he lived during the Warring States period.
Lao Tzu is claimed by the emperors of the Tang Dynasty and the modern people of the Li surname as the founder of their lineage.
Related Post: 66 Of The Best Jim Rohn Motivational Quotes
Right, time to dive into the best quotes by Lao Tzu.
205 Best Quotes By Lao Tzu
A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
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.
A man with outward courage dares to die: a man with inner courage dares to live.
A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.
A skilful commander strikes a decisive blow and stops.Lao Tzu
Abstaining from speech marks him who is obeying the spontaneity of his nature.
Act without expectation.
Act without striving. Work without interfering. Find the flavor in what is flavorless.
All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.
All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power.
Always without desire, we must be found.
Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretches her fingers to touch the heavens.
An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.Lao Tzu
Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.
At the center of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.
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.
Be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete.
Be still like a mountain, and flow like a great river.
Be the chief but never the lord.
Because of a great love, one is courageous.
Because she competes with no one, no one can compete with her.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
But if desire always within us be.
By letting go, it all gets done.
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 winning.
Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.
Composure is the ruler of instability.Lao Tzu
Confidence is the greatest friend.
Do not look only at yourself, and you will see much. Do not justify yourself, and you will be distinguished. Do not brag, and you will have merit. Do not be prideful, and your work will endure.
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small.
Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”
Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.
Empty yourself of everything – let the mind become still.
Few things under heaven bring more benefit than the lessons learned from silence and the actions taken without striving.
Figure out the rhythm of life and live in harmony with it.
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
For the wise man looks into space and he knows there is no limited dimensions.Lao Tzu
From caring comes courage.
From wonder into wonder, existence opens.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish – too much handling will spoil it.
Great acts are made up of small deeds.
Great indeed is the sublimity of the creative, to which all beings owe their beginning and which permeates all heaven.
He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.
He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted.
He who is contented is rich.
He who is satisfied with his lot is rich.
He who is self-conceited has no superiority allowed to him.
He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know.
He who knows himself is intelligent.
He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.
He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.
He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.
He who speaks does not know; he who knows does not speak.
He who talks more is sooner exhausted.
he who vaunts himself does not find his merit acknowledged.
He who would so win it destroys it; he who would hold it in his grasp loses it.
Health is the greatest possession.Lao Tzu
Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.
How could man rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men?
I do not concern myself with gods and spirits either good or evil nor do I serve any.
I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.
If I had just a little bit of wisdom I should walk the great path and fear only straying from it.
If the force of arms is considered the only means of authority, it is not an auspicious instrument.
If the Great Way perishes there will morality and duty. When cleverness and knowledge arise great lies will flourish. When relatives fall out with one another there will be filial duty and love. When states are in confusion there will be faithful servants.
If we could renounce our sageness and discard our wisdom, it would be better for the people a hundredfold.
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.
If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.
If you become whole, everything will come to you.
If you can act with vigor, you have a will.
If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.
If you die without loss, you are eternal.Lao Tzu
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
If you don’t lose your objectives you can be long-lasting.
If you know how to be satisfied you are rich.
If you overcome others you are powerful.
If you overcome yourself you have strength.
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.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.
If you understand others you are smart.
If you understand yourself you are illuminated.
If you want to know me look inside your heart.
If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence.
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.
In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.
It is better to do one’s own duty, however defective it may be than to follow the duty of another, however, well one may perform it. He who does his duty as his own nature reveals it, never sins.
It is better to leave a vessel unfilled than to attempt to carry it when it is full.
Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.
Kind prince, there is nothing in the realm of ideas that is absolute, therefore all efforts to form ideologies are ultimately futile.Lao Tzu
Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.
Knowing others is to be clever. Knowing yourself is to be enlightened. Overcoming others requires force. Overcoming yourself requires strength.
Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.
Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.
Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.
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.Lao Tzu
Love is a decision. Not an emotion.
Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.
Make your heart like a lake with a calm still surface and great depths of kindness.
Man’s enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself.
Manage affairs before they are in a mess.
Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.
Halfway Through – Keep Going
Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.
Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
Nature is not human hearted.
New beginnings are disguised as painful endings.
No calamity is greater than to be discontented with one’s lot.
Not to show them what is likely to excite their desires is the way to keep their minds from disorder.Lao Tzu
Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.
Nothingness and beingness are merely conceptions.
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.
One can not reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.
One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him.
Our inner being guard, and keep it free.
Peace in every step.
Peace is our original state.
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.
Racing and hunting madden our minds.
Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.
Ruling a large kingdom is like cooking a small fish.
Silence is a source of great strength.Lao Tzu
Simplicity has no name is free of desires. Being free of desires it is tranquil. And the world will be at peace of its own accord.
Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength.
So it is that existence and non-existence give birth the one to (the idea of) the other.
So it is that some things are increased by being diminished, and others are diminished by being increased.
Someone who is too insistent in his own views finds few to agree with him.
Stop thinking and end your problems.
Surrender your self-interest. Love others as much as you love yourself. Then you can be entrusted with all things under heaven.
The best fighter is never angry.
The best of all leaders is the one who helps people so that eventually they don’t need him.
The career of a sage is of two kinds: He is either honored by all in the world, Like a flower waving its head, Or else he disappears into the silent forest.Lao Tzu
The excellence of water appears in its benefiting all things, and in its occupying, without striving (to the contrary), the low place which all men dislike.
The farther that one goes out (from himself), the less he knows.
The first is gentleness; the second is economy, and the third is shrinking from taking precedence of others.
The great Tao (or way) is very level and easy, but people love the by-ways.
The heart that gives, gathers.
The higher the sun ariseth, the less shadow doth he cast; even so the greater is the goodness, the less doth it covet praise; yet cannot avoid its rewards in honors.
The highest excellence is like (that of) water.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.
The kingdom is a spirit-like thing, and cannot be got by active doing.
The master dwells in the substantial and not in the superficial. Rests in the fruit and not in the flower.
The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.
The people are hungry: It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes.
The people suffer from famine because of the multitude of taxes consumed by their superiors.
The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.
The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, The more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.
The sage has in the world an appearance of indecision and keeps his mind in a state of indifference to all.Lao Tzu
The sage puts herself last and is first.
The sage shuns excess, shuns grandiosity, shuns arrogance.
The skillful speaker says nothing that can be found fault with or blamed.
The skillful traveler leaves no traces of his wheels or footsteps.
The slaying of multitudes should be mourned with sorrow. A victory should be celebrated with the funeral rite.
The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.
The soft overcomes the hard; and the weak the strong.
The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.
The space between Heaven and Earth—is it not like a bellows?
The Tao is like the emptiness of a vessel; and in our employment of it we must be on our guard against all fulness.
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The ten thousand things flourish and then each returns to the root from which it came. Returning to the root is stillness. Through stillness, each fulfills its destiny.
The True Person avoids extremes, self-indulgence, and extravagance.
The True Person benefits yet expects no reward, does the work, and moves on. There is no desire to be considered better than others.Lao Tzu
The True Person governs by emptying the heart of desire and filling the belly with food, weakening ambitions, and strengthening bones.
The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.
The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he who the people revere. The great leader is he who the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’
The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.
The words of truth are always paradoxical.
There are few in the world who attain to the teaching without words, and the advantage arising from non-action.
There is no calamity greater than lightly engaging in war.
There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.
There is no greater offense than harboring desires. There is no greater disaster than discontent. There is no greater misfortune than wanting more.
Those who have the knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.
Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.
Those who possessed in the highest degree the attributes of the Tao did not seek to show them, and therefore they possessed them in fullest measure.
Time is a created thing. To say “I don’t have time” is like saying, “I don’t want to.
To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
To avoid disappointment, know what is sufficient. To avoid trouble, know when to stop. If you are able to do this, you will last a long time.
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 lead people walk behind them.
To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage.
To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.
To see things in the seed, that is genius.
To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
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.
Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good.
Use the light that is within you to revert to your natural clearness of sight.
Violence, even well-intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.
Wasting energy to obtain rare objects only impedes one’s growth.
Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Weapons are not proper instruments for gentle people; they use them only when they have no other choice. Peace and quiet are what they value. They do not glory in victory.Lao Tzu
What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher? What is a bad man but a good man’s job?
What is well-rooted cannot be pulled up. What is firmly grasped will not slip loose. It will be honored from generation to generation.
When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
When the best leader’s work is done the people say, “We did it ourselves.”
When the intelligent and animal souls are held together in one embrace, they can be kept from separating.
When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready… The teacher will Disappear.
When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises.
When things flourish they decline.
When turmoil rules, go in.Lao Tzu
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.
When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.
Who acts in stillness finds stillness in his life.
Who can make the muddy water clear?
To Round Up
Hope you liked this HUGE list of quotes by Lao Tzu.
If you have come across any that I have missed off I would love to know.
Drop them in the comments below!
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