Laozi quotes

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Laozi

Birthdate: 604 BC

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. Wikipedia

Works

„It is hidden but always present.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 4, as interpreted by Stephen Mitchell (1992)
Context: The Tao is like a well:
used but never used up.
It is like the eternal void:
filled with infinite possibilities. It is hidden but always present.
I don't know who gave birth to it.
It is older than God.

„He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Variant: Those who know, do not speak, those who speak, do not know.
Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 56

„The mark of a moderate man
is freedom from his own ideas.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 59 as interpreted by Stephen Mitchell (1992)
Context: The mark of a moderate man
is freedom from his own ideas.
Tolerant like the sky,
all-pervading like sunlight,
firm like a mountain,
supple like a tree in the wind,
he has no destination in view
and makes use of anything
life happens to bring his way.

„Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner.“

—  Laozi

Also: "Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner"
Also: "If you care what people think, you will always be their prisoner"
Appears in Stephen Mitchell's rendering into English http://terebess.hu/english/tao/mitchell.html#Kap09 of Tao Te Ching chapter 9; but this is an interpretation of Mitchell's which does not appear in the original text or other recognized English translations. Repeated without attribution in Gilliland, Hide Your Goat https://books.google.com/books?id=ziJQdUzCgTIC&pg=PT98&dq=Care+what+other+think+%22you+will+always+be%22+their+prisoner&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDQQ6AEwBGoVChMIpsbNzO69yAIVCU2ICh0mXwIE#v=onepage&q=Care%20what%20other%20think%20%22you%20will%20always%20be%22%20their%20prisoner&f=false, a positive thinking book published in 2013.
Misattributed

„The way you can go
isn't the real way.
The name you can say
isn't the real name.
Heaven and earth
begin in the unnamed:
name's the mother
of the ten thousand things.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 1, as interpreted by Ursula K. LeGuin (1998)
Context: The way you can go
isn't the real way.
The name you can say
isn't the real name.
Heaven and earth
begin in the unnamed:
name's the mother
of the ten thousand things.
So the unwanting soul
sees what's hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.
Two things, one origin,
but different in name,
whose identity is mystery.
Mystery of all mysteries!
The door to the hidden.

„Without the laughter, there would be no Tao.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 41
Context: Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, take it and practice it earnestly.
Scholars of the middle class, when they hear of it, take it half earnestly.
Scholars of the lowest class, when they hear of it, laugh at it.
Without the laughter, there would be no Tao.

„Since before time and space were,
the Tao is.
It is beyond is and is not.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 21, as interpreted by Stephen Mitchell (1992)
Context: Since before time and space were,
the Tao is.
It is beyond is and is not.
How do I know this is true?
I look inside myself and see.

„The more you use it, the more it produces;
the more you talk of it, the less you understand.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 5, as interpreted by Stephen Mitchell (1992)
Context: The Tao is like a bellows:
it is empty yet infinitely capable.
The more you use it, the more it produces;
the more you talk of it, the less you understand.

„The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnameable is the eternally real.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 1, as interpreted by Stephen Mitchell (1992)
Context: The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.
The unnameable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

„Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 1, Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English (1972)
Context: 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.

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„The Tao is like a well:
used but never used up.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 4, as interpreted by Stephen Mitchell (1992)
Context: The Tao is like a well:
used but never used up.
It is like the eternal void:
filled with infinite possibilities. It is hidden but always present.
I don't know who gave birth to it.
It is older than God.

„Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, take it and practice it earnestly.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 41
Context: Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, take it and practice it earnestly.
Scholars of the middle class, when they hear of it, take it half earnestly.
Scholars of the lowest class, when they hear of it, laugh at it.
Without the laughter, there would be no Tao.

„Two things, one origin,
but different in name,
whose identity is mystery.
Mystery of all mysteries!
The door to the hidden.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 1, as interpreted by Ursula K. LeGuin (1998)
Context: The way you can go
isn't the real way.
The name you can say
isn't the real name.
Heaven and earth
begin in the unnamed:
name's the mother
of the ten thousand things.
So the unwanting soul
sees what's hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.
Two things, one origin,
but different in name,
whose identity is mystery.
Mystery of all mysteries!
The door to the hidden.

„With the best leaders when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say, "We have done this ourselves."“

—  Laozi

Only the final bold section is connected to Laozi (see Ch. 17 of Tao Te Ching above). The origin of the added first section is unclear.
Misattributed
Context: "Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. With the best leaders when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say, "We have done this ourselves."

„The Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao; The name that can be defined is not the unchanging name.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Variant: 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.
Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 1, as translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904)
Also as Tao called Tao is not Tao.
Context: The Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao; The name that can be defined is not the unchanging name.
Non-existence is called the antecedent of heaven and earth; Existence is the mother of all things.
From eternal non-existence, therefore, we serenely observe the mysterious beginning of the Universe; From eternal existence we clearly see the apparent distinctions.
These two are the same in source and become different when manifested.
This sameness is called profundity. Infinite profundity is the gate whence comes the beginning of all parts of the Universe.

„This source is called darkness.
Darkness born from darkness.
The beginning of all understanding.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 1, as translated by J.H.McDonald (1996) http://www.wright-house.com/religions/taoism/tao-te-ching.html [Public domain translation]
Context: The tao that can be described
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be spoken
is not the eternal Name.
The nameless is the boundary of Heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of creation.
Freed from desire, you can see the hidden mystery.
By having desire, you can only see what is visibly real.
Yet mystery and reality
emerge from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness born from darkness.
The beginning of all understanding.

„The tao that can be described
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be spoken
is not the eternal Name.
The nameless is the boundary of Heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of creation.
Freed from desire, you can see the hidden mystery.
By having desire, you can only see what is visibly real.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 1, as translated by J.H.McDonald (1996) http://www.wright-house.com/religions/taoism/tao-te-ching.html [Public domain translation]
Context: The tao that can be described
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be spoken
is not the eternal Name.
The nameless is the boundary of Heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of creation.
Freed from desire, you can see the hidden mystery.
By having desire, you can only see what is visibly real.
Yet mystery and reality
emerge from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness born from darkness.
The beginning of all understanding.

„The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Variant translation: The more prohibitions there are, the poorer the people will be.
Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 57

„When I am anxious it is because I am living in the future. When I am depressed it is because I am living in the past.“

—  Laozi

Attributed to "Jimmy R." in Days of Healing, Days of Joy (1987)
Misattributed
Source: link https://books.google.com/books?id=7QNk4eNvS44C&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq=%22days+of+healing+days+of+joy%22+%22jimmy+r%22&source=bl&ots=C-jAUVg8y8&sig=fB9m-eQ1IvtjJV6Ncz8mZ30RRHo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAGoVChMIrYnZyNDlyAIVV_5jCh07uQOs#v=onepage&q=%22days%20of%20healing%20days%20of%20joy%22%20%22jimmy%20r%22&f=false

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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