81+ Best Tao Te Ching Quotes: Exclusive Selection

The Tao Te Ching, also known as Lao Tzu or Laozi, is a Chinese classic text traditionally credited to the 6th-century BC sage Laozi. Profoundly inspirational Tao Te Ching quotes will challenge the way you think, change the way you live and transform your whole life.

Famous Tao Te Ching Quotes

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

The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas. Tolerant like the sky, all-pervading like sunlight, firm like a mountain, supple like a tree in the wind, he has no destination in view and makes use of anything life happens to bring his way. — Lao Tzu

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. — Lao Tzu

Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. — Lao Tzu

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

Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires. — 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

The more you know the less you talk. — A. R. Rahman

When there is no desire, all things are at peace — Lao Tzu

Initially I was very drawn to the Tao Te Ching, the Taoist philosophy. It was helping me deal with the balance of these external and internal issues with my chess life. Tai chi is the martial embodiment of Taoist philosophy. Initially, I had no intention of competing in the martial arts; it was just the meditation. — Joshua Waitzkin

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

The Tao is like a well; used but never used up. — Lao Tzu

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. — Lao Tzu

Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know. Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust. This is the primal identity. Be like the Tao. It can’t be approached or withdrawn from, benefited or harmed, honored or brought into disgrace. It gives itself up continually. That is why it endures. — Lao Tzu

The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao. — Lao Tzu

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. — Mao Zedong

A leader is best when people barely know that he exists. — Witter Bynner

Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. — Lao Tzu

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. The Tao nourishes by not forcing. By not dominating, the Master leads. — Lao Tzu

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. — Lao Tzu

If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich. — Lao Tzu

To understand the limitation of things, desire them. — Lao Tzu

When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. — Lao Tzu

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. — Lao Tzu

Great acts are made up of small deeds. — Lao Tzu

The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth. — Lao Tzu

If you are at peace, you are living in the present. — Lao Tzu

According to the ancient Chinese proverb, A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. — John F. Kennedy

The best leaders are those their people hardly know exist. The next best is a leader who is loved and praised. Next comes the one who is feared. The worst one is the leader that is despised … The best leaders value their words, and use them sparingly. When they have accomplished their task, the people say, Amazing! We did it, all by ourselves! — Lao Tzu

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Watch your step. — Thomas S. Monson

Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habit. — Lao Tzu

We are born male. We must learn to be men. Remember, strength is a force. It is an attribute of the heart. Its opposite is not weakness and fear, but confusion, lack of clarity, and lack of sound intention. If you are able to discern the path with heart and follow it even when at the moment it seems wrong, then and only then are you strong. Remember the words of Tao te ching. The only true strength is a strength that people do not fear. Strength based in force is a strength people fear. Strength based in love is a strength people crave. — Kent Nerburn

Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness. — Lao Tzu

The nameless is the beginning of Heaven and Earth. The named is the mother of all things. — Lao Tzu

Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust. This is the primal identity. — Lao Tzu

All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power. — Lao Tzu

Shape clay into a vessel; It is the space within that makes it useful. Cut doors and windows for a room; It is the holes which make it useful. Therefore benefit comes from what is there; Usefulness from what is not there. — Lao Tzu

When you study the Tao Te Ching, you have to use your heart to try to imagine what Tao really is. — Henry Chang

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. — Lao Tzu

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

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. — Lao Tzu

Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. — 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

If you search everywhere, yet cannot find what you are seeking, it is because what you seek is already in your possession. — Lao Tzu

Stop thinking, and end your problems. — Lao Tzu

Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself. — Lao Tzu

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. — Lao Tzu

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong. — Lao Tzu

The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long. — Lao Tzu

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? — Lao Tzu

When the student is ready the teacher will appear. — Lao Tzu

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

Remember that the more you know, the less you fear. — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Observe how endings become beginnings. — Lao Tzu

The more you know the less you understand. — Lao Tzu

If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. — Lao Tzu

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. — Lao Tzu

Conquering others requires force. Conquering oneself requires strength — Lao Tzu

The more you know the less you need to say. — Jim Rohn

If there is to be peace in the world, There must be peace in the nations. If there is to be peace in the nations, There must be peace in the cities. If there is to be peace in the cities, There must be peace between neighbors. If there is to be peace between neighbors, There must be peace in the home. If there is to be peace in the home, There must be peace in the heart. — Lao Tzu

Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding. — Lao Tzu

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. — Lao Tzu

The amount that she loved us was beyond her reach. It could not be quantified or contained. It was the ten thousand named things in the Tao Te Ching’s universe and then ten thousand more. Her love was full-throated and all-encompassing and unadorned. Every day she blew through her entire reserve. — Cheryl Strayed

The more you know, the less you carry. — Mors Kochanski

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. — Lao Tzu

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

What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher? What is a bad man but a good man’s job? If you do not remember this, You will get lost, No matter how intelligent you are. It is the great secret. — Lao Tzu

If you want to accord with the Tao, just do your job, then let go. — Lao Tzu

If you want to know me, look inside your heart. — 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

Yet mystery and imagination arise from the same source. This source is called darkness … Darkness within darkness, the gateway to all understanding. — Lao Tzu

If you want to be given everything, give everything up. — Lao Tzu

If good happens, good; if bad happens, good. — Lao Tzu

Try to change it and you will ruin it. Try to hold it and you will lose it. — Lao Tzu

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe. — Lao Tzu

Free from desire, you realize the mystery, caught in the desire, you see only the manifestations. — Lao Tzu

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. — Lao Tzu

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 faultsas his most benevolent teachers.He thinks of his enemyas the shadow that he himself casts. — Lao Tzu

Since before time and space were, the Tao is. It is beyond is and is not. — Lao Tzu

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. — Lao Tzu

He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty. — Lao Tzu

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