The specific date of birth of Lao Tzu is unknown. Legends vary, but scholars place his birth between 600 and 300 B.C.E. Lao Tzu is attributed with the writing of the “Tao-Te Ching,” (taomeaning the way of all life, temeaning the fit use of life by men, and chingmeaning text or classic). Lao Tzu was not his real name, but an honorific given the sage, meaning “Old Master.”
Lao Tzu’s wise counsel attracted followers, but he refused to set his ideas down in writing. He believed that written words might solidify into formal dogma. Lao Tzu wanted his philosophy to remain a natural way to live life with goodness, serenity and respect. Lao Tzu laid down no rigid code of behavior. He believed a person’s conduct should be governed by instinct and conscience.
Lao Tzu believed that human life, like everything else in the universe, is constantly influenced by outside forces. He believed “simplicity” to be the key to truth and freedom. Lao Tzu encouraged his followers to observe, and seek to understand the laws of nature; to develop intuition and build up personal power; and to use that power to lead life with love, and without force.
Legend says that in the end Lao Tzu, saddened by the evil of men, set off into the desert on a water buffalo leaving civilization behind. When he arrived at the final gate at the great wall protecting the kingdom, the gatekeeper persuaded him to record the principles of his philosophy for posterity. The result was the eighty-one sayings of the “Tao-Te Ching.” This ancient Chinese text is the world’s most translated classic next to the Bible.
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Dao De Jing: A New-Millennium Translation
by Lao Tzu, David H. Li (Translator)
The material is presented interlinearly, meaning a short passage of two or three lines in Chinese is immediately translated (and followed by footnotes where needed) before moving onto another passage in Chinese. The work includes a chronology of the author; a listing of 59 rhymed passages (Lao Tzu used rhyme for emphasisand passages that are rhymed are, by inference, important ones in his view); a subject-specific comparison of passages in DDJ with those in Confucius's “Analects” (using the Li’s own translation, published in 1999), yielding 71 entries; another subject-specific comparison with Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” (again, using Li’s translation, published in 2000); a bibliography; a list of DDJ translations in English; and a 20-page subject index.
Tao Te Ching (Kindle Edition)
by Lao Tzu
This Kindle ebook edition has been prepared cleanly and simply to invite repeated readings and browsing.
The Essential Tao
by Thomas Cleary, Lao-Tzu, Chuang-Tzu
An initiation into the heart of Taoism through the authentic Tao Te Ching and the Inner Teachings of Chuang-Tzu. Composed of two ancient Taoist classics that explore the Tao.
Lao-tzu and the Tao-te-ching
by Lao Tzu, Livia Kohn (Editor), Michael Lafargue (Editor)
A coherent collection of materials on the Tao-te-ching and its author, describing traditional and modern Western Interpretations. Written and edited by recognized international specialists in the field, this book brings Lao-tzu and the Tao-te-ching together to present current scholarship on their history and interpretation.
Jesus and Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings
by Martin Aronson (Editor)
Comparing the New Testament with the Tao Te Ching, Taoism's most sacred teachings, Jesus and Lao Tzu features astonishing examples of these two spiritual masters leading their followers down the same path despite vast differences in time and geography.
The Secret Coloring Book of Lao Tzu
by Barry Lane, Robin Lane, Illustrator
Sparse wording and evocative illustrations, presenting the startling and easygoing Way of Tao - the teachings of legendary Chinese sage rendered in simple and direct terms. These morsels of timeless wisdom invite coloring, decorating and personalizing. A book for all ages. 28 pages of 8 1/2" x 11" coloring book illustrations. Click here to view sample pages.
This DVD program is about the origin and evolution of Taoism, as well as its great impact upon Chinese literature, philosophy, medicine, chemistry and health preservation. Special efforts have been made to trace Taoism in modern Chinese society. Chinese with English subtitles.
Tao Te Ching
Translated by S. Mitchell
Tao Te Ching | Translations & Interpretations
Taoism Initiation Page
Online Resources for Study and Practice
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy