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 beginning of heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.
Not much is known about Lao Tzu, at least nothing that is certain. Some even doubt whether he is the author of the Tao Te Ching. However, his name became legendary with this writing, which also happens to be his only work.
Lao Tzu (his name is sometimes written Lao Tse or Lao Zi, and he is also known as Li Erand Lao Dan) was supposedly born in Honan on the 24th of March in the year 604 BC. His name means “old-young” and he has been called the “Old Master”.
Lao Tzu was very old, when he rode on a water buffalo to retire in the mountains to a province in the western frontiers. There he was approached by a border official named Guan Yin Zi, who urged the master to write down his teachings so that they might be passed on.
Lao Tzu then retreated into the solitude of the mountain pass, wrote the Tao Te Ching, whereupon he went westward and was never seen again.
A certain amount of opposition is a good for a man. Kites rise against, and not with the wind.
A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
A great task is accomplished by a series of small acts.
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.
By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go.
For all things difficult to acquire, the intelligent man works with perseverance.
Great Teachers can lead you to the doors of understanding, but it is up to you to enter.
Have patience. Wait until the mud settles and the water is clear. Remain unmoving until right action arises by itself.
He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.
He who knows others is wise; He who know himself is enlightened.
He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.
He who loves the world as his body may be entrusted with the empire.
He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.
I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.
If you look to others for fulfilment, you will never be truly fulfilled.
It is because of its emptiness that the cup is useful.
Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.
Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.
Make up your mind to rejoice in this paradise called life.
Manifest plainness, Embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, Have few desires.
Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.
Muddy water, left to stand, becomes clear.
Music in the soul can be heard by the Universe.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
Nature’s way is simple and easy, but men prefer what is intricate and artificial.
One can not reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.
Seek not happiness too greedily, and be not fearful of happiness.
The biggest problem in the world could have been solved when it was small.
The hard and unyielding belong to death and the soft and pliant belong to life.