Quotes from the Tao Te Ching

I summarize books for one of my freelance gigs, and most recently I got to summarize the Tao Te Ching by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, aka: the father of Taoism.

I relied on a 1995 translation by S. Mitchell that is a lot clearer and direct than the 1891 translation by J.Legge.

The following are some quotes from the Tao Te Ching (“The Book of the Way of Virtue). They come from the slender works 81 chapters.

(Several more otw…)


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.


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

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don’t realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.


To find the origin,
trace back the manifestations.
When you recognize the children
and find the mother,
you will be free of sorrow.


Those who know don’t talk.
Those who talk don’t know.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

%d bloggers like this: