35 Powerful Life Lessons from Lao Tzu: The Taois Master Philosopher of Old

Great Epicurean
Jun 30, 2018 · 5 min read
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Lao Tzu has been an inspiration for so much time to Easterners and Westerners alike. His book Tao Te Ching has been a guide to all sincere spiritual students, Taoist or otherwise, containing pearls of wisdom that can help one attain self-realization and find peace and harmony with himself/herself and the world.

Here is a collection of some of the most powerful Taoist lessons from the great Chinese master Lao Tzu that can transform your life.

1. “He who clings to his work will create nothing that endures.”

2. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

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3. “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”

4. “If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.”

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

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6. “He who tries to shine dims his own light.”

7. “He who defines himself can’t know who he really is.”

8. “Silence is a source of great strength.”

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9. “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.”

10. “If you want to shrink something, you must first allow it to expand. If you want to get rid of something, you must first allow it to flourish. If you want to take something, you must first allow it to be given. This is called the subtle perception of the way things are.”

11. “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

12. “The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things.”

13. “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.”

14. “All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power.”

15. “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.”

16. “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.’”

17. “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.”

18. “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.”

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19. “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.”

20. “He who rushes ahead doesn’t go far.”

21. “He who has power over others can’t empower himself.”

22. “Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.”

23. “Express yourself completely, then keep quiet. Be like the forces of nature: when it blows, there is only wind; when it rains, there is only rain; when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.”

24. “Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.”

25. “Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.”

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

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27. “When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.”

28. “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.”

29. “At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”

30. “The soft overcomes the hard. The slow overcomes the fast.”

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

32. “The wise man is one who knows what he does not know.”

33. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

34. “What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher? What is a bad man but a good man’s job? If you don’t understand this, you will get lost, however intelligent you are. It is the great secret.”

35. “If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”

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The Great Epicurean

Reports on the art of living and dying.

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