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Tao Te Ching › Quotes

Tao Te Ching Quotes

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.
When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everyone will respect you.
The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.
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.
The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.
Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.
To understand the limitation of things, desire them.
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.
all streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. humility gives it its power. if you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them. if you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.
Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust. This is the primal identity.
When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad.
When there is no desire, all things are at peace.
He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty" - Lao-tsu.
Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Have the patience to wait! Be still and allow the mud to settle.
Love is a decision - not an emotion!.
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.
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?.
A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. A good artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants. A good scientist has freed himself of concepts and keeps his mind open to what is. Thus the Master is available to all people and doesn't reject anyone. He is ready to use all situations and doesn't waste anything. This is called embodying the light. What is a good man but a bad man's teacher? What is a bad man but a good man's job? If you don't understand this, you will get lost, however intelligent you are. It is the great secret.
Countless words count less than the silent balance between yin and yang.
Rushing into action, you fail. Trying to grasp things, you lose them. Forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe. Therefore the Master takes action by letting things take their course. He remains as calm at the end as at the beginning. He has nothing, thus has nothing to lose. What he desires is non-desire; what he learns is to unlearn. He simply reminds people of who they have always been. He cares about nothing but the Tao. Thus he can care for all things.
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.
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
He who stands on tiptoe doesn't stand firm. He who rushes ahead doesn't go far. He who tries to shine dims his own light. He who defines himself can't know who he really is. He who has power over others can't empower himself. He who clings to his work will create nothing that endures. If you want to accord with the Tao, just do your job, then let go.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.
Do you want to improve the world? I don't think it can be done. The world is sacred. It can't be improved. If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it. If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it. There is a time for being ahead, a time for being behind; a time for being in motion, a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous, a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe, a time for being in danger. The Master sees things as they are, without trying to control them. She lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle.
Not-knowing is true knowledge. Presuming to know is a disease. First realize that you are sick; then you can move toward health.
A great nation is like a great man: When he makes a mistake, he realizes it. Having realized it, he admits it. Having admitted it, he corrects it. He considers those who point out his faults as his most benevolent teachers. He thinks of his enemy as the shadow that he himself casts.
What is firmly rooted cannot be pulled out.
When the people of the world all know beauty as beauty, there arises the recognition of ugliness. When they all know the good as good, there arises the recognition of evil.
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.
Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others.
When the Master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists. Next best is a leader who is loved. Next, one who is feared. The worst is one who is despised. If you don't trust people, you make them untrustworthy. The Master doesn't talk, he acts. When his work is done, the people say, "Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!.
He is free from self- display, and therefore he shines;.
Тhe gentle overcomes the rigid. The slow overcomes the fast. The weak overcomes the strong." … "Everyone knows that the yielding overcomes the stiff, and the soft overcomes the hard. Yet no one applies this knowledge.
When goodness is lost there is morality.
True perfection seems imperfect, yet it is perfectly itself. True fullness seems empty, yet it is fully present. True straightness seems crooked. True wisdom seems foolish. True art seems artless.
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 ten thousand things. Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one can see 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.
The Wise Man is square but not sharp, honest but not not malign, straight but not severe, bright but not dazzling.
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." … "There is no greater misfortune than underestimating your enemy. Underestimating your enemy means thinking that he is evil. Thus you destroy your three treasures and become an enemy yourself. When two great forces oppose each other, the victory will go to the one that knows how to yield.
The reason why heaven and earth are able to endure and continue thus long is because they do not live of, or for, themselves.
When the work is done, and one's name is becoming distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven.
He who is in harmony with the Tao is like a newborn child. Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak, but its grip is powerful. It doesn't know about the union of male and female, yet its penis can stand erect, so intense is its vital power. It can scream its head off all day, yet it never becomes hoarse, so complete is its harmony. The Master's power is like this. He lets all things come and go effortlessly, without desire. He never expects results; thus he is never disappointed. He is never disappointed; thus his spirit never grows old.
Thus it is said: The path into the light seems dark, the path forward seems to go back, the direct path seems long, true power seems weak, true purity seems tarnished, true steadfastness seems changeable, true clarity seems obscure, the greatest are seems unsophisticated, the greatest love seems indifferent, the greatest wisdom seems childish. The Tao is nowhere to be found. Yet it nourishes and completes all things.
With no desire, at rest and still, All things go right as of their will.
Ordinary men hate solitude. But the Master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.
Must you value what others value, avoid what others avoid? How ridiculous!.
Without opening your door, you can open your heart to the world. Without looking out your window, you can see the essence of the Tao. The more you know, the less you understand. The Master arrives without leaving, sees the light without looking, achieves without doing a thing.
He whose (desires) are few gets them; he whose (desires) are many goes astray.
Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. All can know good as good only because there is evil.
Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that is subtle and wonderful.
a skillful soldier is not violent, an able fighter does not rage, a mighty conqueror does not give battle, a great commander is a humble man.
he who overcomes himself is mighty.
In harmony with the Tao, the sky is clear and spacious, the earth is solid and full, all creatures flourish together, content with the way they are, endlessly repeating themselves, endlessly renewed. when man interferes with the Tao the sky becomes filthy, the earth becomes depleted, the equilibrium crumbles, creatures become extinct.
The moral man does something, and when no one responds he rolls up his sleeves and uses force.
When wealth and honours lead to arrogancy, this brings its evil on itself.
Sincere words are not fine; fine words are not sincere.
When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad. Being and non-being create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. Long and short define each other. High and low depend on each other. Before and after follow each other. Therefore the Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything. Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go. She has but doesn't possess, acts but doesn't expect. When her work is done, she forgets it. That is why it lasts forever.
Some say that my teaching is nonsense. Other call it lofty but impractical. But to those who have looked inside themselves, this nonsense makes perfect sense. And to those who put it into practice, this loftiness has roots that go deep.
The Tao doesn't take sides; it gives birth to both good and evil. The Master doesn't take sides; she welcomes both saints and sinners. The Tao is like a bellows: it is empty yet infinitely capable. The more you use it, the more it produces; the more you talk of it, the less you understand. Hold on to the center.
To know and yet (think) we do not know is the highest (attainment); not to know (and yet think) we do know is a disease.
Always without desire we must be found,.
There are few in the world who attain to the teaching without words, and the advantage arising from non-action.
Whoever is planted in the Tao will not be rooted up. Whoever embraces the Tao will not slip away. Her name will be held in honor from generation to generation. Let the Tao be present in your life and you will become genuine. Let it be Present in your family and your family will flourish. Let it be present in your country and your country will be an example to all countries in the world. Let it be present in the universe and the universe will sing. How do I know this is true? by looking inside myself.
stillness, the ruler of movement.
If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.
It is better to leave a vessel unfilled, than to attempt to carry it when it is full.
It is because he is thus free from striving that therefore no one in the world is able to strive with him.