Taoist Quotes

To learn about the origins of Taoism click Taoism

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu

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 

All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small. – Lao Tzu

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. – Lao Tzu

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

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu 

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. – Lao Tzu

He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still. – Lao Tzu

He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted. – Lao Tzu 

He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened. – Lao Tzu

Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy. – Lao Tzu 

I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. – Lao Tzu

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

If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence. – Lao Tzu

Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses. – Lao Tzu

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. – Lao Tzu

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. – Lao Tzu

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. – Lao Tzu

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. – Lao Tzu

The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world. – Lao Tzu

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.’ – Lao Tzu  

Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge. – Lao Tzu

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. – Lao Tzu

To lead people walk behind them. – Lao Tzu

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu

To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect. – Lao Tzu

To see things in the seed, that is genius. – Lao Tzu

To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. – Lao Tzu

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. – Lao Tzu 

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. – Lao Tzu

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. – Lao Tzu

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. – Lao Tzu

A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions. – Confucius

Ability will never catch up with the demand for it. – Confucius 

And remember, no matter where you go, there you are. – Confucius

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. – Confucius 

Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire. – Confucius

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. – Confucius

Heaven means to be one with God. – Confucius

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. – Confucius  

If we don’t know life, how can we know death? – Confucius

If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear? – Confucius

If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people  – Confucius

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. – Confucius

It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them. – Confucius 

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. – Confucius  

The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large. – Confucius 

The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home. – Confucius

The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions. – Confucius

To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it. – Confucius

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. – Confucius 

14 thoughts on “Taoist Quotes

    • You may feel that way, but they have been blended together for over 2000 years. I have no desire to be a purist. My goal is to show the shared roots of world belief. The divination system of the WU shamans and the formation of the Bagua forms the foundation for both Taoism and Confucianism. The I-Ching is a perfect example of how both influenced it’s formation. I find it poetic that you see them as completely different ways of life as Taoism teaches the Harmony of Opposites…they may be the yin and yang that you refer to…which to me is the point of showing how they evolved together in China and beyond..thank you for reading and for your comments..

      • Thank you for these quotes. They are simply LOVELY! 🙂

        A quick note though, reading the comment section: in the metaphysical hierarchies of existence and being, each represent a different domain. The domain of Confucianism represents what is formal and terrestrial and builds up toward the celestial. Whereas Daoism starts at the supra-formal and celestial domain and moves up to the Absolute Unity. The last stage in Confucianism (exotericism) is right before the first stage of Daoism (esotericism). I feel that purism is not necessary, as one can be both should they aim their sights high toward the higher celestial hierarchies. Confucianism offers a base for later Daoists to grow … and later embody Confucianism completely. That is my perspective and knowledge of these matters. And I don’t think my statement negates your insights in any way, for what its worth. 🙂

      • Great insights, thank you..:) It is interesting how this brings up duality and unity. As it should. My use of the word purist was to emphasize my feeling that Taosim/Daoism and Confucianism cannot be totally separated from each other….as they are interrelated on many levels. Yet, as I type this I can see how purism is also impure and so it goes…:) An interesting choice of words. Do you feel that Taoism is also the stage before Confucianism..? From the informal natural world to the formal supernatural world. It created the foundation from which Confucianism began, and now Taoism is building upon that….ever evolving…..

  1. Oh for sure. Daoism is a perennial metaphysic. It existed well before confucianism and gave rise to it. I feel our failing (perhaps now rejuvinating) spiritual insights are what led, ultimately, to Confucianism … and as the wheel turns back up, Daoism. If we picture the earth as a gradual materialisation from Source … then the farther we went, the less we understood Daoism. So Confucianism developed within that state of consciousness. Today, Daoism is seeing a revival, but will only see significance if it is understand the domain is supra-formal and not formal. What is unfortunate, today, is that Daoism is seen on the same level as Confucianism (formal). But as you and I have both said, although these philosophies are on different domains, does not mean these domains do not intersect intimately, ever evolving….

  2. What do you mean by Supra-formal?….that is new to me..:) If we look at it this way it is much the same as the monotheist beliefs of Judaism, Christianity and Islam..all three interrelated, all three share the same roots yet are in opposition to each other….if we could all see how our roots and the stories that sprang from those roots hold the essence of all belief we could see how we are one and unique yet interdependent…..

    • Hello Seven Earthly Virtues (love the name) 😉

      It is unfortunate that in today’s world we only understand corporeality. Whether that is in science, philosophy, or perception. However, that is just the way these things go … 🙂 We (that includes me) are basically materialists and understand spirituality with a material lens. We have superior skills in corporeality (surface appearances) in today’s (post)modern world at the loss of supra-realities. Corporeality would be considered the gross body and mind. These manifest in formal manifestation. The mind itself can also be seen as ‘subtle’ or ‘extra-corporeal’ There are many names for it. These two designate what the buddhists would calll the Nirmāṇakāya. The supra-formal domain is literally ‘higher form’. The Christians called it the soul. you live in the soul during sleep (you no longer function in gross consciousness but ‘very subtle’ consciousness). The Buddhists call this body (should you work to achieve consciousness in waking life) the Sambhogakāya. The Hindu would call it the Buddhi or ‘The Higher Intellect’ Our Western tradition (i.e. Plato) was, in reality, talking about the Higher Intellect and not the lower, discursive intellect of rationality that many people assume today. (Not to mention assume is the only form of intellect … !!) Then there is the formless (beyond form). The unmanifest. Godhead. The Buddhists call it Dharmakāya, the Hindi Atma. The Christian: Spirit. The purpose of most religions is to ‘re-awaken’ to the reality that we are Spirit: form and formless. To recognize that, in reality, the body only exists because spirit and soul exists. Most people see soul (and Spirit) as inside their bodies. This against points to understanding spirituality in terms of materiality! Also, Spirit is not possessive. You (Spirit Self) possess your soul and body and mind. But Spirit is at the formless level. Buddhi, too, being supra-formal, is not individualised.

      These states/stages of consciousness (gross -> subtle -> very subtle -> causal) are very poorly understood as our education is rather anti-metaphysical. And that goes for religious education too (see my point on living materialistically. But that is a personal point you must ask yourself honestly: do you understand spirituality materialistically?). Spirituality is the higher principle and cannot derive from matierality … and yet that is exactly what our world is trying to do. 🙂

      It really lightens my soul to see you write about the unifying Heart of all religions. Indeed, all religion point to the same goal, and all religions would say that hte final step is to move beyond religion to do so. Each religion, to me, is merely the adaptation of metaphysics to a certain time, place, environment, and people. A pythagorean couldn’t walk up to a hunter-gather tribe and expect them to stop eating meat, for instance 😉 Religion is therefore in the domain of metaphysics applied to the realm of nature. It therefore operates on a completely different domain than science. (so much for science replacing religion!) Hope this answer a few of your questions. We are indeed in the paradox of sameness and difference; oneness and manyness. But to perceive it you must go up! Not see surface appearance alone: as this domain (corporeal) allows us our individuality and uniqueness.

      • So supra-formal is another name for soul….

        I am working on a new book called “Awaken Within – Mandalachakra – A Journey to your Soul”..actually trying to upload it right now! I has been a labor of love and strive as Empedocles would say, the essence of creation. 🙂 How do I see your blog?? Can you supply a link? The entire premise is to see ourselves from seven levels of perception with the Soul being the highest – oneness….with all. It incorporates nature, sacred geometry, platonic solids, world beliefs etc…and the overriding concept of awakening our unconscious self to become more conscious in hopes of awakening and healing the collective unconscious. Very Jungian…meeting the human soul and the divine soul at the same time to see we are one and all….By the way I am Seven Earthly Virtues….depends which computer I am on…:)

  3. For some reason I cannot add a reply (perhaps there is a 2-reply limit?). And very sneaky too, changing your name! 😛 First, my reply to your first paragraph/sentence:

    I may have misled you. Supra-formal is merely the domain the soul properly belongs to. They are not equivalents. The domain also contains sprites, spirit guides, astral entities, and so on. (Not that I’ve seen any myself .. so this is merely speculation on my part. Although I know people that can see them). Moreover, there are also a variety of degrees of existences within the supraformal realm (it gets quite confusing, doesn’t it?) such that you can get into higher and higher realms prior to the formless. Many traditional cultures merely separate these domains into 3, or 7, or 9, or 11, etc. as mere markers. In the case of three: formal, supra-formal, formless. I think 7 you are writing about (although I would call the pinnacle/highest oneness not the soul but the Spirit (formless)). 9 and 10 are used by the Cabalists/Kabalists/Quabalists i nthe Sephiroph. Etc.

    My reply to your second paragraph:

    Very interesting book!!! You should be very proud of your acheivement. I am writing my masters in education and am doing pretty much the same thing 🙂 I do not have a blog. my site (spiffyfrodo.ca) is outdated a bit. That’s about it… I’m kinda lame 🙂 Perhaps when I finish my masters will I be able to live a little…

  4. Hello there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m undoubtedly enjoying
    your blog and look forward to new updates.

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