Lao Tzu, which means “Old Master” and also known as Laozi and LaopTze, was an ancient Chinese writer and philosopher. He is most remembered as the author of Tao Te Ching and as the father of Taoism.

These Lao Tzu quotes reveal the ancient wisdom that is as relevant today as it was centuries ago.

The ancient wisdom of Loa Tzu is as relevant today as it was centuries ago.Click to Tweet

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Table of Contents

 

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Lao Tzu Quotes On Life

“The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them. Thus they are able to reign over all the mountain streams. so the sage, wishing to be above men, putteth himself below them; wishing to be before them, he putteth himself behind them. Thus, though his place be above men, they do not feel his weight; though his place be before them, they do not count it as an injury.”

∼ Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

A photo of space with purple clusters of stars, headline quote "To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders" -Lao Tzu

“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.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”

∼Lao Tzu,Tao Teh Ching

 

“To see things in the seed, that is genius.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“The Way to do is to be.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Silence is a source of great strength.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

“It is the child that sees the primordial secret of Nature and it is the child of ourselves we return to. the child within us is simple and daring enough to live the Secret.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

“The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Manage affairs before they are in a mess.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“The skillful speaker says nothing that can be found fault with or blamed;”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

“He who is self-conceited has no superiority allowed to him.”

∼Lao Tzu,Tao Te Ching

 

“The best fighter is never angry.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

“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.”

∼Lao Tzu

Red Japanese Maple leaves against a light blue sky, headline quote "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." -Lao Tzu

“How could a decent person ever rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Wasting energy to obtain rare objects only impedes one’s growth.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“If you understand others you are smart.
If you understand yourself you are illuminated.
If you overcome others you are powerful.
If you overcome yourself you have strength.
If you know how to be satisfied you are rich.
If you can act with vigor, you have a will.
If you don’t lose your objectives you can be long-lasting.
If you die without loss, you are eternal.”

∼Lao Tzu,Tao Te Ching

 

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

∼Lao Tzu, ∼Lao Tzu,Tao Te Ching

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

“To know that you do not know is the best.
To think you know when you do not is a disease.
Recognizing this disease as a disease is to be free of it.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

“Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.”

∼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

 

“Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

“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.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“She does not show herself, and therefore is apparent. She does not affirm herself, and therefore is acknowledged. She does not boast and therefore has merit. She does not strive and therefore is successful. It is exactly because she does not contend, that nobody can contend with her.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

“So the unwanting soul
sees what’s hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Because she competes with no one, no one can compete with her.”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

“(Those who) possessed in highest degree the attributes (of the Tao) did not (seek) to show them, and therefore they possessed them (in fullest measure).”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu Quotes On Love

“Love is a decision – not an emotion!”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Act without expectation.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Embracing Tao, you become embraced.
Supple, breathing gently, you become reborn.
Clearing your vision, you become clear.
Nurturing your beloved, you become impartial.
Opening your heart, you become accepted.
Accepting the World, you embrace Tao.
Bearing and nurturing,
Creating but not owning,
Giving without demanding,
Controlling without authority,
This is love.”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao-Te Ching

Lao Tzu Quotes On Leadership

“The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them. Thus they are able to reign over all the mountain streams. so the sage, wishing to be above men, putteth himself below them; wishing to be before them, he putteth himself behind them. Thus, though his place be above men, they do not feel his weight; though his place be before them, they do not count it as an injury.”

∼ Lao Tzu

 

“To lead the people, walk behind them.”

∼ Lao Tzu

 

“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.”

∼ Lao Tzu

 

“A leader is best
When people barely know he exists
Of a good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will say, “We did this ourselves.”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

“The sage puts herself last and is first.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. 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.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“all streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. humility gives it its power. if you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them. if you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

“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.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

“The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.

The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.”

∼Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu Quotes On Letting Go

“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, Tao Te Ching

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

“By letting go it all gets done.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Loss is not as bad as wanting more.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

“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

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

“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.”

∼Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu Quotes On Happiness And Contentment

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”

∼Lao Tzu,Tao Te Ching

 

“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.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

“The Sage sees the world
as an expansion of his own self
So what need has he to accumulate things?”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“He who is satisfied with his lot is rich;”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

“When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them safe.”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu Quotes About Water

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“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.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

“Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.”

∼Lao Tzu

 

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

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

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

∼Lao Tzu

 

“The highest excellence is like (that of) water.”

∼Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

Why Do We Need Humility?

Success requires humility. Let your presence in the world be that of learning and sharing, not what you can take from it. You need humility for good health, your body and the laws of nature do not care how big or important you are. Your body and mind require work, rest, proper nutrition, and care or they will no longer support you.

You must be humble to learn. Be prepared to replace an old belief or idea when you hear a better one. No one is best, even if they were, they would not need to tell you so.

Both leadership and teamwork require humility and respect. A good leader leads by listening, building trust, and supporting growth. A leader listens to criticisms, suggestions, and new ideas with an open mind. A leader gains the dedication, respect, and wisdom of their followers because that is what they get from their leader. They share in both victory and defeat so that everyone has the end in mind.

 

Humility Verses Humiliation

Everyone deserves respect, but no one deserves your dignity. You can’t trade your integrity for success. Success is the growth of your character, not the accumulation of power or things. Integrity is how you value yourself. Love and respect your self, because you can only give what you have.

Longevity requires giving. Your body, mind, and the world will support you in your goals if you have more to give than to take.

What are your favorite Lao Tzu quotes?

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