Lao Tzu Quotes (175) Spiritual Sayings

About the Author: Lao Tzu (6th century BCE) was a philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching (often simply referred to as Laozi). His association with the Tào Té Chīng has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of philosophical Taoism (pronounced as "Daoism"). He is also revered as a deity in most religious forms of Taoist philosophy, which often refers to Laozi as Taishang Laojun, or "One of the Three Pure Ones". According to Chinese traditions, Laozi lived in the 6th century BCE. Some historians contend that he actually lived in the 5th–4th century BCE, concurrent with the Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States Period, while some others argue that Laozi is a synthesis of multiple historical figures or that he is a mythical figure. A central figure in Chinese culture, both nobility and common people claim Laozi in their lineage. He was honored as an ancestor of theTang imperial family, and was granted the title Táishāng xuānyuán huángdì, meaning "Supreme Mysterious and Primordial Emperor". Throughout history, Laozi's work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements.  See website for more info -


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

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
― 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, Tao Te Ching

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

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

“Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Teh Ching

“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

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

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to.”
― Lao Tzu

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

“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

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

“A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“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

“The best fighter is never angry.”
― 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

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
― Lao Tzu

“Silence is a source of Great Strength.”
― Lao Tzu

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

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

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

“Act without expectation.”
― Lao Tzu

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

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

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

“Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment”
― Lao Tzu

“The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long.”
― Lao Tzu, Te Tao Ching

“To lead people, walk beside them ...
As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.
The next best, the people honor and praise.
The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate ...
When the best leader's work is done the people say,
We did it ourselves!”
― Lao Tzu

“By letting go it all gets done.”
― Lao Tzu

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

“To know that you do not know is the best.
To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease.”
― 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

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

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

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!

Other people are excited,
as though they were at a parade.
I alone don't care,
I alone am expressionless,
like an infant before it can smile.

Other people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing.
I alone drift about,
like someone without a home.
I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

Other people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Other people are sharp;
I alone am dull.
Other people have purpose;
I alone don't know.
I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.

I am different from ordinary people.
I drink from the Great Mother's breasts.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

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

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

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

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

“There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.”
― Lao Tzu

“Loss is not as bad as wanting more.”
― Lao Tzu

“Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.”
― Lao Tzu

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

“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

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

“To understand the limitation of things, desire them.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

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

“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

“The Way to do is to be.”
― Lao Tzu

“The further one goes, the less one knows.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“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

“The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“To hold, you must first open your hand. Let go”
― Lao Tzu

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”
― Lao Tzu

“So the unwanting soul
sees what's hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.”
― Lao Tzu

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

“He who acts, spoils; he who grasps, lets slip.”
― Lao Tzu

“Great acts are made up of small deeds.”
― Lao Tzu

“Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and look at the stars. This practice should answer the question.”
― Lao Tzu

“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.”
― Lao Tzu

“One who is too insistent on his own views finds few to agree with him.”
― Lao Tzu

“He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.”
― 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, The Teachings of Lao-Tzu: The Tao-Te Ching

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”
― 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

“if you want to know me, look inside your heart.”
― Lao Tzu

“If you show yourself, you will not be seen. If you affirm yourself, you will not shine. If you boast, you will have no merit. If you promote yourself, you will have no success.”
― Lao Tzu

“The reason why the universe is eternal is that it does not live for itself; it gives life to others as it transforms.”
― Lao Tzu

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

“Perfection is the willingness to be imperfect.”
― Lao Tzu

“Close your mouth,
block off your senses,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching: A Literal Translation with an Introduction, Notes, and Commentary

“As soon as you have made a thought, laugh at it.”
― Lao Tzu

“There is
a time to live
and a time to die
but never to reject the moment.”
― Lao Tzu

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering oneself makes you fearless.”
― Lao Tzu

“Hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self. When we don't see the self as self, what do we have to fear?”
― Lao Tzu, The Way of Life

“Countless words
count less
than the silent balance
between yin and yang”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Respond to anger with virtue. Deal with difficulties while they are still easy. Handle the great while it is still small.”
― Lao Tzu

“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty" - Lao-tsu”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching: Book Of The Way

“Some lose yet gain, others gain and yet lose.”
― 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

“Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.”
― Lao Tzu, Te Tao Ching

“If you are untrustworthy, people will not trust you.”
― Lao Tzu

“The past has no power to stop you
from being present now.
Only your grievance about
the past can do that.
What is grievance?
The baggage of old
thought and emotion.”
― Lao Tzu

“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.”
― Lao Tzu

“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”
― Lao Tzu

“Not seeking, not expecting, she is present, and can welcome all things.”
― Lao Tzu

“Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don't realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.”
― Lao Tzu

“The difficult problems in life always start off being simple. Great affairs always start off being small.”
― Lao Tzu

“The person of superior integrity
does not insist upon his integrity.
For this reason, he has integrity.
The person of inferior integrity
never loses sight of his integrity;
For this reason, he lacks integrity.”
― Lao Tzu

“Take care with the end as you do with the beginning.”
― Lao Tzu

“If you want to lead them you must place yourself behind them.”
― Lao Tzu

“True words are not fancy. Fancy words are not true. The good do not debate. Debaters are not good.”
― Lao Tzu

“Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Become totally empty
Quiet the restlessness of the mind
Only then will you witness everything unfolding from emptiness”
― Lao Tzu

“In the end,
The treasure of life is missed by those who hold on
and gained by those who let go.”
― Lao Tzu

“A man who knows how little he knows is well, a man who knows how much he knows is sick. If, when you see the symptoms, you can tell, Your cure is quick.
A sound man knows that sickness makes him sick and before he catches it his cure is quick.”
― Lao Tzu, The Chinese Translations

“Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.”
― Lao Tzu

“Boasting of wealth and virtue brings your demise.”
― Lao Tzu

“A good traveler leaves no tracks. Good speech lacks fault-finding.”
― Lao Tzu

“My teachings are easy to understand
and easy to put into practice.
Yet your intellect will never grasp them,
and if you try to practice them,you'll fail.

My teachings are older than the world.
How can you grasp their meaning?

If you want to know me,
Look inside your heart.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Every step is on the path.”
― Lao Tzu

“If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.”
― Lao Tzu

“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend.”
― Lao Tzu

“Do not conquer the world with force, for force only causes resistance. Thorns spring up when an army passes. Years of misery follow a great victory. Do only what needs to be done without using violence.”
― Lao Tzu

“The master observes the world but trusts his inner vision. He allows things to come and go. He prefers what is within to what is without.”
― Lao Tzu

“When pure sincerity forms within, it is outwardly realized in other people's hearts.”
― Lao Tzu

“Be like water.”
― Lao Tzu

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

“When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Be still
Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity”
― Lao Tzu

“Free from desire, you realize the mystery
caught in the desire, you see only the manifestations.”
― Lao Tzu

“To be worn out is to be renewed.”
― Lao Tzu

“Fame or integrity: which is more important? Money or happiness: which is more valuable? Success or failure: which is more destructive? If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. 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

“Just remain in the center; watching. And then forget that you are there.”
― Lao Tzu

“The Master is her own physician.
She has healed herself of all knowing.
Thus she is truly whole.”
― Lao Tzu

“Racing and hunting madden our minds.”
― Lao Tzu

“The sage shuns excess, shuns grandiosity, shuns arrogance.”
― Lao Tzu

“Kind prince there is nothing in the realm of ideas that is absolute, therefore all efforts to form ideologies are ultimately futile.”
― Lao Tzu, Hua Hu Ching

“The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.”
― Lao Tzu

“Manage affairs before they are in a mess.”
― Lao Tzu

“Possessing rare treasures brings about harmful behavior.”
― Lao Tzu

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Lao Tzu Quotes - (198) - Awakening Spiritual Quotations
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Lao Tzu Quotes and Spiritual Sayings