Lao Tzu Quotes

Lao Tzu

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Clay is molded to form a cup, But it is on its non-being that the utility of the cup depends. Doors and windows are cut out to make a room, But it is on its non-being that the utility of the room depends. Therefore turn being into advantage, and turn non-being into utility.

Categorized under Being

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The best man in his dwelling loves the earth. In his heart, he loves what is profound. In his associations, he loves humanity. In his words, he loves faithfulness. In government, he loves order. In handling affairs, he loves competence. In his activities, he loves timeliness. It is because he does not compete that he is without reproach.

Categorized under Character

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The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth; The Named is the mother of all things. Therefore let there always be non-being so we may see their subtlety, And let there always be being so we may see their outcome. The two are the same, But after they are produced, they have different names. They both may be called deep and profound. Deeper and more profound, The door of all subtleties!

Categorized under Creation

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If the Great Way perishes there will 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.

Categorized under Cunning

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He who knows does not speak; He who speaks does not know. He who is truthful is not showy; He who is showy is not truthful. He who is virtuous does not dispute; He who disputes is not virtuous. He who is learned is not wise; He who is wise is not learned. Therefore the sage does not display his own merits.

Categorized under Discretion

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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...

Categorized under Goodness

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The Way of Heaven does not compete, And yet it skillfully achieves victory. It does not speak, and yet it skillfully responds to things. It comes to you without your invitation. It is not anxious about things and yet is plans well. Heaven's net is indeed vast. Though its meshes are wide, it misses nothing.

Categorized under Heaven

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The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.

Categorized under Inspiration

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

Categorized under Kindness

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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.

Categorized under Sage

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From of old the things that have acquired unity are these: Heaven by unity has become clear; Earth by unity has become steady; The Spirit by unity has become spiritual; The Valley by unity has become full; All things by unity have come into existence.

Categorized under Unity

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Know the masculine, keep to the feminine.

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

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Seek not happiness too greedily, and be not fearful of happiness.

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Arms are instruments of ill omen. . . . When one is compelled to use them, it is best to do so without relish. There is no glory in victory, and to glorify it despite this is to exult in the killing of men. . . . When great numbers of people are killed, one should weep over them with sorrow. When victorious in war, one should observe mourning rites.

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

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The softest things in the world to overcome the hardest things in the world.

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

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Conquering others takes force, conquering yourself is true strength.

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

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The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.

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Stop thinking, and end your problems.

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The good man is the teacher of the bad,
And the bad is the material from which the good may learn.
He who does not value the teacher,
Or greatly care for the material,
Is greatly deluded although he may be learned.
Such is the essential mystery.

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A good manager is best when people barely know that he exists. Not so good when people obey and acclaim him. Worse when they despise him.

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

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