Lao Tzu Quotes That Are Full Of Inspiration, Wisdom and Truth

lao tzu quotes

In this post, we have summed up some of the best Lao Tzu quotes. But before jumping in, here is a brief bio about who he really was. 

Lao Tzu (also known as Laozi or Lao-Tze) was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer who lived around the 6th century BCE. He is believed to be the author of the foundational text of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu’s philosophy emphasized the concept of “Tao,” which can be translated as “the Way” or “the Path.” He advocated for living in harmony with nature, embracing simplicity, and seeking inner peace. 

Let’s read some of Lao Tzu’s most famous quotes about life, simplicity, leadership and more.

Lao Tzu Quotes About Self

Lao Tzu Quotes About Self
Lao Tzu Quotes About Self
  • “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
  • “He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.”
  • “One who is too insistent on his own views finds few to agree with him.”
  • “At the center of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”
  • “The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.”
  • “When you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you.”

Famous Lao Tzu Quotes

Famous Lao Tzu Quotes
Famous Lao Tzu Quotes
  • “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
  • “He who knows himself is enlightened.”
  • “Health is the greatest possession. 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.”
  • “Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”
  • “Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.”
  • “People, in their handling of affairs, often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure.”
  • “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” 
  • “Knowing how to yield is strength.” 
  • “There is no illusion greater than fear.” 
  • “To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.”

Lao Tzu Quotes About Life

Lao Tzu Quotes About Life
Lao Tzu Quotes About Life
  • “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.”
  • “Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.”
  • “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.”
  • “Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.”
  • “Heaven is long-enduring, and earth continues long. The reason why heaven and earth are able to endure and continue thus long is that they do not live for themselves.”
  • “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.”
  • “Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.” 
  • “A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”
  • “What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.” 
  • “To hold, you must first open your hand. Let go.”
  • “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

Lao Tzu Wisdom Quotes

Lao Tzu Wisdom Quotes
Lao Tzu Wisdom Quotes
  • “One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.”
  • “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
  • “He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty.”
  • “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
  • “The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.”
  • “The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.”
  • “To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.”
  • “A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.”
  • “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.”
  • “If you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness.”
  • “Violence, even well-intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.”
  • “He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.”
  • “Some lose yet gain, others gain and yet lose.”
  • “When men lost their understanding of the Tao, intelligence came along, bringing hypocrisy with it.”

Lao Tzu Quotes About Love

Lao Tzu Quotes About Love
Lao Tzu Quotes About Love
  • “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
  • “Love is of all 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.”

Lao Tzu Short Quotes

Lao Tzu Short Quotes
Lao Tzu Short Quotes
  • “Great acts are made up of small deeds.”
  • “From caring comes courage.”
  • “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
  • “From wonder into wonder existence opens.”
  • “The words of truth are always paradoxical.”
  • “To see things in the seed, that is genius.”
  • “When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.”
  • “He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.”
  • “Sincere words are not fine; fine words are not sincere.”
  • “He who talks more is sooner exhausted.”
  • “Because of a great love, one is courageous.”
  • “Be the chief but never the lord.”
  • “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
  • “He who is contented is rich.”
  • “Nature is not human-hearted.”
  • “Silence is a source of great strength.”
  • “He who does not trust enough will not be trusted.”
  • “An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.”
  • “By letting go it all gets done.” 

Best Lao Tzu Quotes

Best Lao Tzu Quotes
Best Lao Tzu Quotes
  • “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”
  • “The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.”
  • “The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.”
  • “Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy. Man’s enemies are not demons but human beings like himself.”
  • “He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.”
  • “Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretches her fingers to touch the heavens.”
  • “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 winning.”
  • “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.”
  • “If you would take, you must first give; this is the beginning of intelligence.”
  • “Act without expectation.”

Inspirational Lao Tzu Quotes

Inspirational Lao Tzu Quotes
Inspirational Lao Tzu Quotes
  • “Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”
  • “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small.”
  • “Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained.”
  • “Those who have knowledge don’t predict. Those who predict don’t have knowledge.”
  • “All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”

Lao Tzu Quotes About Leadership & Politics

Lao Tzu Quotes About Leadership & Politics
Lao Tzu Quotes About Leadership & Politics
  • “Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish – too much handling will spoil it.”
  • “The people are hungry: It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes.”
  • “To lead people, walk behind them.”
  • “How could man rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men?”
  • “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 nature reveals it never sins.”
  • “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.”
  • “If the Great Way perishes, there will be 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.”

Spiritual Lao Tzu Quotes

Spiritual Lao Tzu Quotes
Spiritual Lao Tzu Quotes
  • “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.”
  • “Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.”
  • “Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Tao. The law of the Tao is its being what it is.”
  • “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.”
  • “All things in the world come from being. And being comes from non-being.”
  • “There was something undifferentiated and yet complete, which existed before Heaven and Earth. Soundless and formless, it depends on nothing and does not change. It operates everywhere and is free from danger. It may be considered the mother of the universe. I do not know its name; I call it Tao.”
  • “The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.”
  • “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao; the name that can be named is not the eternal name. The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth; the Named is the mother of all things.”
  • “Great indeed is the sublimity of the Creative, to which all beings owe their beginning and which permeates all heaven.”

Lao Tzu’s quotes continue to resonate with people across cultures and generations. His profound insights into life, self-awareness, and the natural order of the universe offer guidance on the path to personal growth and fulfillment. 

By embracing the wisdom and profound knowledge found within Lao Tzu quotes, we can cultivate a deeper understanding of ourselves, live in harmony with nature, and find inner peace.

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