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Best Lao Tzu Quotes

Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher and poet, best known as the author of Tao Te Ching.

He is also revered in Daoist and Zen Buddhist traditions. “Old Master”  is a translation of “Lao Tzu”. Below are some famous Lao Tzu Quotes, while he also wrote about happiness, peace, and war in his Tao Te Ching.  

Lao Tzu lived between the 4th and 6th centuries B.C. in China. Tao Te Ching is a short text containing teachings attributed to Lao Tzu.

It is written in Koine Chinese, which was then called “Mandarin”, and has been translated into English several times since the 1950s.

The following Lao Tzu quotes are by no means an exhaustive list, just a handful of my favorites.

Inspiring Lao Tzu Quotes

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

Best Lao Tzu Quotes

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

The further one goes, the less one knows.

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.

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

Take care with the end as you do with the beginning.

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

Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.

There is a time to live and a time to die but never to reject the moment.

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

Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.

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

When goodness is lost there is morality.

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

Be like water.

To understand the limitation of things, desire them.

Lao Tzu Quotes

Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.

To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.

Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.

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

The best fighter is never angry.

Lao Tzu Quotes About Life

When you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you.

Sincere words are not fine; fine words are not sincere.

Because of great love, one is courageous.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

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.

Wisdom consists of knowing what you know and knowing what you do not know.

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve, and bad things are very easy to get.

A wise man never tries to hurry things.

A state can be changed by a ruler without bloodshed, just as the universe is changed by the mind.

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

Lao Tzu Quotes About Life

As soon as you have made a thought, laugh at it.

A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.

A bad man is a good man’s job.

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

When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready… The teacher will disappear.

When we meet real tragedy in life, we should turn toward homecoming instead of worry or grief for if we always run away, we will never return back home someday!

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

He who talks more is sooner exhausted.

Lao Tzu Quotes on Letting Go

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

The best fighter is never angry.

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.

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.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

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 on Letting Go

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

One who is too insistent on his own views finds few to agree with him.

The Way is the way of nature. It flows like a river and therefore, it never goes backward.

Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate rocks. This shows that there is more power in gentleness than in violence.

Lao Tzu Quotes on Happiness

Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It depends solely on what you think.

The key to happiness is not to have more, but to enjoy what you have.

If your mind isn’t occupied with things you don’t want, you will find that the space opens up for things you do want.

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When

When there is no desire, all things are at peace.

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

Good order results in good supply. Good supply results in an abundance.

An army may march great distances, but it takes the individual soldier a lifetime to begin to understand what happened during that long journey.

Those who know do not talk; those who talk do not know.

Lao Tzu Quotes on Love And Kindness

When we meet real tragedy in life, we should turn toward homecoming instead of worry or grief for if we always run away, we will never return back home someday!

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.

The most beautiful thing is compassion and sympathy with someone else’s suffering or his misfortune.

Lao Tzu Quotes on Love And Kindness

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.

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

Treat others as you would want to be treated.

Do not do to others what you do not want to be done to yourself.

What goes around comes around.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

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

Lao Tzu Quotes On Life

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.

The more you try to control, the more you lose control.

The harder you try not to make mistakes, the more mistakes you’ll make.

Things happen in their own time, in their own way. You can’t hurry them or force them.

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

The best way to live is by accepting the moment as it comes and by not trying to control the future.

Lao Tzu Quotes on Happiness

The more you know, the less confidence you have.

Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. This is called mystic virtue.

To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.

When the best leader’s work is done the people say, “We did it ourselves!”

What keeps people alive is a greater longing than that for life. What makes some willing to die when they are already dead! It’s love for visible beauty!

These are only a few of the many teachings of Lao Tzu quotes. As you can see, he is a very wise and insightful man. His teachings are simple but profound. If we all took his advice to heart, the world would be a much better place. Thanks for reading!

Karthik K
Karthik K
If you stay true to yourself and pay close attention to your innate wisdom, you will be much happier and more fulfilled in life. Be confident. You got this. You are awesome!

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