Lao Tzu (c.604- 531 BC)

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

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

“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.”

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”

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

“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 truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”

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

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

“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.”

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

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

“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.”

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.”

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

“Silence is a source of Great Strength.”

“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.”

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

“The best fighter is never angry.”

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

“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.”

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?”

“The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.”

“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!”

“Act without expectation.”

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

“Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.”

“By letting go it all gets done.”

“The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”

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

“Manifest plainness, Embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, Have few desires.”

“To know that you do not know is the best. To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease.”

“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.”

“Accomplish but do not boast, accomplish without show, accomplish without arrogance, accomplish without grabbing, accomplish without forcing.”

“To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.”

“Because of a great love, one is courageous.”

“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.”

“There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!”

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

“Loss is not as bad as wanting more.”

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

“Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.”

“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.”

“He who acts, spoils; he who grasps, lets slip.”

“Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.”

“We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move. We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.”

“We work with being, but non-being is what we use.”

“Your own positive future begins in this moment. All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here.”

“What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.”

“To understand the limitation of things, desire them.”

“Great acts are made up of small deeds.”

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

“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.”

“The further one goes, the less one knows.”

“To hold, you must first open your hand. Let go.”

“The Way to do is to be.”

“He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.”

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

“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.”

“Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and look at the stars. This practice should answer the question.”

“If you show yourself, you will not be seen. If you affirm yourself, you will not shine. If you boast, you will have no merit. If you promote yourself, you will have no success.”

“So the unwanting soul sees what’s hidden, and the ever-wanting soul sees only what it wants.”

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

“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.”

“if you want to know me, look inside your heart.”

“Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust. This is the primal identity.”

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

“Respond to anger with virtue. Deal with difficulties while they are still easy. Handle the great while it is still small.”

“Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found.”

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”

“To see things in the seed, that is genius.”

“Perfection is the willingness to be imperfect.”

“Hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self. When we don’t see the self as self, what do we have to fear?”

“Some lose yet gain, others gain and yet lose.”

“Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.”

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

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering oneself makes you fearless.”

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

“The difficult problems in life always start off being simple. Great affairs always start off being small.”

“True words are not fancy. Fancy words are not true. The good do not debate. Debaters are not good.”

“Boasting of wealth and virtue brings your demise.”

“If you are untrustworthy, people will not trust you.”

“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.”

“If you want to lead them you must place yourself behind them.”

“Every step is on the path.”

“Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.”

“The person of superior integrity does not insist upon his integrity. For this reason, he has integrity. The person of inferior integrity never loses sight of his integrity; for this reason, he lacks integrity.”

“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.”

“If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.”

“An over sharpened sword cannot last long.”

“Do not conquer the world with force, for force only causes resistance. Thorns spring up when an army passes. Years of misery follow a great victory. Do only what needs to be done without using violence.”

“A man who knows how little he knows is well, a man who knows how much he knows is sick. If, when you see the symptoms, you can tell, Your cure is quick. A sound man knows that sickness makes him sick and before he catches it his cure is quick.”

“When pure sincerity forms within, it is outwardly realized in other people’s hearts.”

“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”

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

“The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that. What is grievance? The baggage of old thought and emotion.”

“With few there is attainment. With much there is confusion.”

“To be worn out is to be renewed.”

“in the pursuit of knowledge: everyday something is added. In the pursuit of enlightenment: everyday something is dropped.”

“Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.”

“Be like water.”

“To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.”

“If the people must be ever fearful of death, then there will always be an executioner.”

“Knowing others is wisdom; Knowing the self is enlightenment. Mastering others requires force; Mastering the self requires strength; He who knows he has enough is rich. Perseverance is a sign of will power.”

“Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel and cannot be controlled. Trying to control leads to ruin. Trying to grasp, we lose. Allow your life to unfold naturally. Know that it too is a vessel of perfection. Just as you breathe in and breathe out, there is a time for being ahead and a time for being behind; a time for being in motion and a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous and a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe and a time for being in danger.”

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

“Go to the people. Live with them, learn from them, love them.”

“An ocean of ink in a single drop, Trembling at the tip of my brush. Poised above stark white paper, A universe waits for existence.”

“If you do not value rare treasures, you will stop others from stealing.”

“The Wise Man is square but not sharp, honest but not malign, straight but not severe, bright but not dazzling.”

“My teachings are easy to understand and easy to put into practice. Yet your intellect will never grasp them, and if you try to practice them,you’ll fail.

My teachings are older than the world. How can you grasp their meaning?

If you want to know me, look inside your heart.”

“He who defends with love will be secure; Heaven will save him, and protect him with love.”

“Chanting is no more holy than listening to the murmur of a stream, counting prayer beads no more scared than simply breathing, religious robed no more spiritual than work clothes.”

“Is it not through her selflessness that she is able to perfect herself?”

“Knowing how to yield is strength.”

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

“Composure is the ruler of instability.”

“Know glory but cleave to humiliation.”

“The way of heaven is to help and not harm.”

“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.”

“There is no disaster greater than not being content; There is no misfortune greater than being covetous.”

“The sage shuns excess, shuns grandiosity, shuns arrogance.”

“The moral man does something, and when no one responds he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.”

“To become learned, each day add something. To become enlightened, each day drop something.”

“True words aren’t eloquent; eloquent words aren’t true. Wise men don’t need to prove their point; men who need to prove their point aren’t wise.”

“The Master has no possessions. The more he does for others, the happier he is.
The more he gives to others, the wealthier he is.”

“When turmoil rules, go in.”

“Our enemies are not demons, but human beings like ourselves”

“Manage affairs before they are in a mess.”

“To lead the people, walk behind them.”

“Knowing others is Wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment”

“He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.”

“Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear.”

“Colors blind the eye. Sounds deafen the ear. Flavors numb the taste. Thoughts weaken the mind. Desires wither the heart.”

“He is free from self- display, and therefore he shines;”

“It is because he is thus free from striving that therefore no one in the world is able to strive with him.”

“To know others is perceptive, to know yourself is wise. To conquer others is forceful, to conquer yourself is strong.”

“When you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you.”

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

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

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