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Taoist Quotes and Sayings

Updated on June 17, 2011

Taoism is a philosophical path, although it is considered to be a religion to, and was founded by Lao Tzu in ancient China. Lao Tzu is the author of the Tao The Ching which explains the Taoist concepts. Tao, also pronounced "Dao" means "the way", and is a way of living, thinking and being. Lao Tzu is also known as Laozi, which means "old master" in Chinese, and is considered an honoury title.

Here are some of my favourite quotes and sayings from Lao Tzu:

  • Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses
  • Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy
  • He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still
  • If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading
  • When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be
  • When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you
  • Knowing others is wisdom; Knowing the self is enlightenment; Mastering requires force; Mastering the self needs strength
  • Silence is a source of great strength
  • A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving
  • All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small
  • An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox
  • At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want
  • Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you
  • Because of a great love, one is courageous
  • Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage
  • By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try to try. The world is beyond the winning
  • 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
  • Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt
  • From caring comes courage
  • Great acts are made up of small deeds
  • He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted
  • He who is contented is rich
  • He who knows himself is enlightened
  • He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know
  • He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much
  • He who talks more is sooner exhausted
  • Health is the greatest possesion. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy
  • I do not concern myself with gods and spirits either good or evil nor do I serve any
  • I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures
  • If you realise 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
  • If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence
  • 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
  • In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it
  • 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
  • Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love
  • Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides
  • 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
  • Man's enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself
  • Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires
  • Music in the soul can be heard by the universe
  • Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished
  • One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others
  • One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him
  • Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment
  • Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength
  • The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness
  • The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be
  • The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days
  • The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world
  • The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own
  • Those who have knowledge, don't predict. Those who predict, don't have knowledge
  • 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
  • To lead people walk behind them
  • To realise that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realise that you do not understand is a defect
  • To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrendersTreat 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
  • Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself


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    • Amy Naylor profile image

      Amy Naylor 4 years ago from England

      'He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still'

      I think Taoism might be for me!

      Thanks for the great hub, a nice way in.

    • profile image

      Master Yeh Hung 6 years ago

      Wu Tai Fo Mi Le

    • GJ56 profile image

      GJ56 6 years ago

      They definitely are wise words that should be taken notice of! Thankyou for your kind comment, glad you enjoyed it : )

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 6 years ago

      There is profound wisdom hidden in the lines written in this wonderful hub. They are gem for anyone who is thoughtful or who meditates. Thank you very much.

    • GJ56 profile image

      GJ56 6 years ago

      Thankyou : )

    • matty262 profile image

      matty262 6 years ago from new york

      great job!!!