The philosophical system of Taoism was founded by the legendary Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. He is best known for writing the Tao-Te-Ching exemplifying his thoughts. If you’re one of the many people who admire his philosophies, you’d surely love this list of Lao Tzu quotes that we prepared here. May these quotes inspire you to be kind and to love yourself more. Enjoy!
Lao Tzu Quotes
1. A man with outward courage dares to die: a man with inner courage dares to live. – Lao Tzu
2. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu
3. Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment. – Lao Tzu
4. Mastering others is a strength, mastering yourself is true power. – Lao Tzu
5. 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
6. 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. – Lao Tzu
7. Stop thinking and end your problems. – Lao Tzu
8. New beginnings are disguised as painful endings. – Lao Tzu
9. Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires. – Lao Tzu
10. Make your heart like a lake with a calm still surface and great depths of kindness. – Lao Tzu
11. He who is contented is rich. – Lao Tzu
12. To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. – Lao Tzu
13. The heart that gives, gathers. – Lao Tzu
14. When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. – Lao Tzu
15. Be still like a mountain, and flow like a great river. – Lao Tzu
16. Use the light that is within you to revert to your natural clearness of sight. – Lao Tzu
17. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. – Lao Tzu
18. Empty yourself of everything let the mind become still. – Lao Tzu
19. By letting go, it all gets done. – Lao Tzu
20. 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.
21. Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.
22. If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
23. He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.
24. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.
25. Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.
26. Those who know do not say. Those who say do not know.
27. A man with outward courage dares to die, a man with inner courage dares to live.
28. When the best leader’s work is done the people say, we did it ourselves. – Lao Tzu
29. If you do not change direction, you may end up where your are heading. – Lao Tzu
30. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – Lao Tzu
31. He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. – Lao Tzu
32. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. – Lao Tzu
33. Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness. – Lao Tzu
34. To lead people, walk behind them. – Lao Tzu
35. The further one goes, the less one knows. – Lao Tzu
36. Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny. – Lao Tzu
37. Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.
38. If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
39. If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.
40. The best fighter is never angry.
41. At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are, and you know what you want.
42. 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.
43. A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.
44. A man with outward courage dares to die, a man with inner courage dares to live.
45. When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.
46. Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. Be the chief but never the Lord.
47. 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.
48. Because of a great love, one is courageous.
49. Stop thinking and end your problems.
50. New beginnings are disguised as painful endings.
51. 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 the winning.
52. Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.
53. Make your heart like a lake with a calm still surface and great depths of kindness.
54. Do not look only at yourself, and you will see much. Do not justify yourself, and you will be distinguished. Do not brag, and you will have merit.
55. Do not be prideful, and your work will endure.
56. He who is contented is rich.
57. For the wise man looks into space and he knows there is no limited dimensions.
58. From caring comes courage.
59. To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
60. From wonder into wonder existence opens.
61. The heart that gives, gathers.
62. Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it.
63. Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish too much handling will spoil it.
64. Great indeed is the sublimity of the creative, to which all beings owe their beginning, and which permeates all heaven.
65. Be still like a mountain, and flow like a great river.
66. He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.
67. Use the light that is within you to revert to your natural clearness of sight.
68. He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted.
69. who knows himself is enlightened.
70. Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.
71. He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.
72. Empty yourself of everything let the mind become still.
73. He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.
74. Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.
75. The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth. How could man rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men?
76. Who acts in stillness finds stillness in his life.
77. I do not concern myself with gods and spirits either good or evil nor do I serve any.
78. 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.
79. If the Great Way perishes there will morality and duty. When cleverness and knowledge arise, great lies will flourish. When relatives fall out with one another there will be filial duty and love. When states are in confusion there will be faithful servants.
80. Time is a created thing. To say, I don’t have time, is like saying, I don’t want to.
81. Knowing others is to be clever. Knowing yourself is to be enlightened. Overcoming others requires force. Overcoming yourself requires strength.
82. The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.
83. Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.
84. Man’s enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself.
85. Surrender your self-interest. Love others as much as you love yourself. Then you can be entrusted with all things under heaven.
86. Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.
87. Nature is not human hearted.
88. The words of truth are always paradoxical.
89. Of all that is good, sublimity is supreme. Succeeding is the coming together of all that is beautiful. Furtherance is the agreement of all that is just. Perseverance is the foundation of all actions.
90. If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.
91. One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.
92. One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him.
93. If you want to know me look inside your heart.
94. Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.
95. Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.
96. When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready. The teacher will disappear.
97. All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power.
98. Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline, simulated fear postulates courage, simulated weakness postulates strength.
99. It is better to do one’s own duty, however defective it may be, than to follow the duty of another, however well one may perform it. He who does his duty as his own nature reveals it, never sins.
100. The career of a sage is of two kinds: He is either honored by all in the world, like a flower waving its head or else he disappears into the silent forest.
101. Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?
102. The higher the sun ariseth, the less shadow doth he cast, even so the greater is the goodness, the less doth it covets praise, yet cannot avoid its rewards in honours.
103. The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.
104. There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.
105. The people are hungry, it is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes.
106. The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.
107. Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear.
108. The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, the more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The way of heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.
109. The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.
110. The true person governs by emptying the heart of desire and filling the belly with food, weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.
111. The true person avoids extremes, self-indulgence, and extravagance
112. The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he who the people revere. The great leader is he who the people say, we did it ourselves.
113. The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.
114. The true person benefits yet expects no reward, does the work and moves on. There is no desire to be considered better than others.
115. There is no greater offence than harbouring desires. There is no greater disaster than discontent. There is no greater misfortune than wanting more.
116. The ten thousand things flourish and then each return to the root from which it came. Returning to the root is stillness. Through stillness each fulfils its destiny.
117. To know yet to think that one does not know is best. Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.
118. To lead people, walk behind them.
119. To realize that you do not understand is a virtue. Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.
120. To see things in the seed, that is genius.
121. 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.
122. Truthful words are not beautiful, beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive, persuasive words are not good.
123. Violence, even well-intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.
124. Weapons are not proper instruments for gentle people, they use them only when they have no other choice. Peace and quiet are what they value. They do not glory in victory.
125. What is well-rooted cannot be pulled up. What is firmly grasped will not slip loose. It will be honored from generation to generation.
126. When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.
127. When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth, it is the beginning of disorder.
128. Without stirring abroad, one can know the whole world. Without looking out of the window One can see the way of heaven. The further one goes the less one knows.
129. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
130. He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.
131. All things in the world come from being. And being comes from non-being.
132. If you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness.
133. Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.
134. Because of deep love, one is courageous. Because of frugality, one is generous. Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes the leader of the world.
135. There is no calamity greater than lavish desires. There is no greater guilt than discontentment. And there is no greater disaster than greed.
136. If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be truly fulfilled.
137. A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth.
138. Whoever can see through all fear, will always be safe.
139. Failure is an opportunity.
140. He, who rushes ahead, does not go far.
141. He, who defines himself, can’t know who he really is.
142. He, who knows, does not speak. He, who speaks, does not know.
143. What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.
144. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame.
145. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.
146. Only fools seek power, and the greatest fools seek it through force.
147. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
148. Love is a decision, not an emotion.
149. Before healing others, heal yourself.
150. There is no disaster greater than not being content.
151. To become learned, each day add something.
152. Some lose yet gain, others gain and yet lose.
153. Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu
154. Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power. – Lao Tzu
155. A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu
156. Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know. – Lao Tsu
157. When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you. – Lao Tzu
158. The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth. – Lao Tzu
159. Time is a created thing. To say, don’t have time’s like saying, I don’t want to. – Lao Tzu
160. 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
161. A man with outward courage dares to die, a man with inner courage dares to live. – Lao Tzu
162. 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
163. Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. – Lao Tzu
164. 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
165. Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. – Lao Tzu
166. At the center of your being you have the answer, you know who you are
and you know what you want. – Lao Tzu
167. Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? – Lao Tzu
168. 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
169. Stop thinking, and end your problems. – Lao Tzu
170. Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. – Lao Tzu
171. Manifest plainness. Embrace simplicity. Reduce selfishness. Have few desires. – Lao Tzu
172. The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long. – Lao Tzu
173. Music in the soul can be heard by the universe. – Lao Tzu
174. Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment. – Lao Tzu
175. 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
176. 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
177. To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day. – Lao Tse
178. 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
179. If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it. – Lao Tzu
180. 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
181. Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing. – Lao Tzu
182. Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness. – Lao Zi
183. The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know. – Lao Tzu
184. 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
185. To understand the limitation of things, desire them. – Lao Tzu
186. By letting go it all gets done. Accomplish but do not boast, accomplish without show, accomplish without arrogance, accomplish without grabbing, accomplish without forcing. – Lao Tzu
187. Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself. – Lao Tzu
188. To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders. – Lao Tzu
189. 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
190. 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