Lao Tzu Quotes
In 6th century BC in China, an important philosophical work was written by the philosopher Lao Tzu (literally meaning “Old Sage”). He was contemporary with another great Chinese philosopher, Confucius, and their work is reflected in this collection of quotes by the former (you can also read Confucius Quotes, here).
Lao Tzu’s conception of the world is truly inspiring, so feel free to spread his wisdom through any social medium. We post our quotes on Pinterest and these quotes by him will definitely make an impression – as they have for more than 2500 years. You can find out more about him by on this Wikipedia.com article.
Lao Tzu Quotes about Love
- Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
- Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.
- Love is a decision – not an emotion!
- 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.
- Love is of all the passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses.
- He who defends with love will be secure; Heaven will save him, and protect him with love.
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.
Short Lao Tzu Quotes
- 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.
- The best fighter is never angry.
- Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.
- Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
- Silence is a source of Great Strength.
- Perfection is the willingness to be imperfect.
- Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?
- The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long.
- To see things in the seed, that is genius.
- New Beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.
- Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear.
- Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend.
- Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
- Act without expectation.
- To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.
- If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.
- Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.
- By letting go it all gets done.
- Loss is not as bad as wanting more.
- Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.
Lao Tzu Quotes about Life
- There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.
- 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.
- 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.
- A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.
- The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.
- The Way to do is to be.
- 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.
- Stop thinking, and end your problems.
- 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.
- Manifest plainness,
Have few desires.
- Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.
- So the unwanting soul
sees what’s hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.
- 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.
- The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.
- 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.
- Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.
- Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found.
Motivational Quotes by Lao Tzu
- The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
- When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
- There is no illusion greater than fear.
- 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.
- If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
- Your own positive future begins in this moment. All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here.
- Accomplish but do not boast, accomplish without show, accomplish without arrogance, accomplish without grabbing, accomplish without forcing.
Lao Tzu Inspirational Quotes
- Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.
- 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.
- Respond to anger with virtue. Deal with difficulties while they are still easy. Handle the great while it is still small.
- Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.
- Would you like to save the world from the degradation and destruction it seems destined for? Then step away from shallow mass movements and quietly go to work on your own self-awareness. If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.
- 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.
- At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.
- Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of
softness overcoming hardness.
- 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.
- 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 Quotes about Leadership
- 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.”
- If you wish to be out front, then act as if you were behind.
- He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.
- 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.
- To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.
- 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.
- 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 Quotes about Self-awareness
- He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.
- Just remain in the center; watching. And then forget that you are there.
- When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready… The teacher will Disappear.
- If you search everywhere, yet cannot find what you are seeking, it is because what you seek is already in your possession.
- Be like water.
- Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.
- The way of heaven is to help and not harm.
- When the work is done, and one’s name is becoming distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven.
- Chanting is no more holy than listening to the murmur of a stream, couting prayer beads no more scared than simply breathing, religious robed no more spiritual than work clothes.
- 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 Quotes about Change
- 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.
- Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.
- To understand the limitation of things, desire them.
- I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.
- The difficult problems in life always start off being simple. Great affairs always start off being small.
The most famous Lao Tzu Book