Tao – "The Way"
principle is what happens of itself.
The Tao is told is not the Tao.
The Tao never acts with force, yet there is nothing that it can not
The great Way is easy, yet people prefer the side paths. Be aware
when things are out of
balance. Stay centered
within the Tao.
As it acts in the world, the Tao is like the bending of a bow. The
top is bent downward; the bottom is bent up. It adjusts excess and
deficiency so that there is perfect
Tao loves and nourishes all things, but does not dominate it
When good thing are accomplished, it does not claim (or name) them.
Te, which is
close in meaning to power or virtue. It
is something within a person, and it is enhanced by following the
Tao, or 'that from which nothing can deviate'.
When Simplicity is broken up, it is made into instruments. Evolved
individuals who employ them, are made into leaders. In this way, the
Great System is United.
Living the Tao
overcomes the hard; and the weak the strong.
don't talk, those who talk don't know.
Intelligent people know others.
people know themselves.
The Master observes the world, but trusts his inner vision. He
allows things to come and go. His heart is as open as the sky.
If you can find true contentment, it will last forever.
Can you step back
from your own mind and thus
understand all things?
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
simplicity. Put others first. Desire little.
I have just three things to teach:
compassion. These three are
your greatest treasures.
No disaster is worse than being
Success is as dangerous as
failure, and we are often our own worst
The journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step.
Confront the difficult while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.
you have accomplished your goal simply walk away. This is the path
way to Heaven
Love the whole
world as if it were your self; then you will truly care for all
A sage is skilled at
helping people without excluding anyone.
Master doesn't seek fulfillment. For only those who are not full are
able to be used which brings the feeling of completeness.
Quiet your mind
and stop judging and resisting and manipulating the natural
Allow your softer, more
intuitive, and less dominating feminine qualities to rise to
the fore, so that you're surrendering rather than dominating,
receiving rather than broadcasting, loving rather than fighting.
which offers no resistance, overcomes the hardest substances.
That which offers no resistance can enter where there is no space.
Few in the world can comprehend the teaching without words,
or understand the value of non-action.
Can you love or guide someone without any kind of expectation?
Nurture the spontaneous peaceful life.
Don't impose your will through manipulation of aggressive emotions
If you worry more for others' beliefs, then you will be their slave.
There is no greater transgression than condoning peoples selfish
desires, no greater disaster than being discontent, and no greater
retribution than for greed.
Rule your mind with serenity rather than with force and
Approach your own inner life with a
loving quality that accepts who you are without trying to change
who you are.
Having reached a high level of realization (or having accomplished
anything in life), don't get excited or puffed up with pride but
remain calm, humble, and in "perfect equanimity" if you want to
continue in this deep state of consciousness.
About Lao Tzu
Tzu was born in app. 500 BC, in southern China in the state of Ch'u, now
known as the Hunan Province. Almost nothing is known about Lao Tzu apart
from what can be gleaned from the legends that surround his name. His book
of spiritual reflections called the Tao Te Ching (The Way
– Virtue – Progress) has been
published in more languages than any book except the Bible.1
For at least fifty years, Lao Tzu worked in the
emperor's library, kept mostly to himself, and was considered a recluse and
a mystic of deep wisdom. To our knowledge, all during his long tenure at the
Imperial Archives Lao Tzu wrote no books, nor did he allow any disciples to
gather around him.
Confucius, the venerable philosopher who was born a generation after
Lao Tzu, once sought out Lao Tzu for an interview, during which Lao Tzu told
the soon-to-be-famous philosopher and moralist: "Strip yourself of your
proud airs and numerous desires, your complacent demeanor and excessive
ambitions. They won't do you any good. This is all I have to say you."
Following this now-famous interview with the old man, young Confucius said
to his disciples, "I don't know how dragons can ride upon the wind and
clouds and soar to high heaven. I saw Lao Tzu today. He can be likened to a
Lao Tzu lived a simple contemplative life in
which he learned step by step by step how to practice what he understood to
be "the Way" or "the Path" – or in Chinese, the
Tao. Throughout his life, "he walked his walk but didn't much talk
According to Henry Way2, "Lao Tzu
may rightly be regarded as an immortal inspirer. His teachings constitute a
bright beacon for the guidance of the human spirit to supreme fulfillment...
He led a long, quiet and studious life and then vanished from the human
scene, leaving behind a compact parcel of sublime wisdom in glorious
poetry... He was not exactly a hermit or recluse, but simply loved the
contemplative life. He preferred to stay in obscurity in the silence of the
library, devoting himself to inner culture and the pursuit of truth, living
with serene spontaneity and natural ease."2
Lao Tzu wrote his only book Tao Te Ching
just before he walked away from the Chou empire he served. One day the old
man decided to take his leave of the city and simply started walking towards
the distant mountain pass. "Arriving at the gate leading out of the Chou
empire, he was halted by the keeper of the border, a man named Yin Hsi, who
asked him, "Before you retire entirely from the world, will you please write
some words for our enlightenment?" Lao Tzu obviously agreed, because before
he walked out through the gates and disappeared into anther kingdom and
who-knows-what personal life experience, he left with Yin Hsi a slender
collection of eighty-one short poems and reflections, consisting in total of
only around five thousand words."1
The Tao of
The leader is best,
When people are hardly aware of his
Not so good when people praise his
Less good when people stand in fear,
Worst, when people are contemptuous.
Fail to honor people, and they will fail to
But of a good leader, who speaks little
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
The people say, 'We did it ourselves.'
Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal
and you can be liberal;
avoid putting yourself before others
and you can become a leader among men.