Tao Te Ching (道德经) by Lao Tzu

It consists of 81 short poems in traditional Chinese. It is known as ‘The Book of the Way’. It is a book of deep wisdom on the art of living. From his teachings, Lao Tzu did care about society. Non-action is the purest and most effective form of action. The doer can vanish completely from the deed. He emphasises a lot on softness. Give up to Tao and be compassionate. The more solitary you are, the more compassionate you can build and better you can distinguish good from evil. It is a deeply moral teaching. Evil isn’t a force, but simply seen as something opaque. The author has interacted with the actual Zen masters. The author attempts to translate his mind.

Only the unnameable is eternally real. Free yourself from desire. Mystery and manifestations arise from darkness.

Opposites support each other, for instance, difficult and easy. The key is let things come and go. Do not possess and expect. Then your work will last forever.

When people see things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad.  – Lao Tzu

Do not do things excessively. Weaken your ambition and toughen your resolve. Practice the art of non-doing. Lose yourself.

Tao is a well that can never be used up and is filled with infinite possibilities.

Tao is not biased and welcomes everyone. Use it, but do not talk of it, in order to understand it better.

Tao is always present inside you and you can use it any way you wish.

It is infinite because it has no desires and eternal because it has never been born, and thus cannot die. Detach yourself.

Be contented. Be yourself and don’t compare or compete with others. Others will start to respect you.

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

Do your work and take a step back.

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will be blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. – Lao Tzu

Be original. Keep supple. Cleanse your vision. Love others without your imposing your views. Deal with only the vital matters. Step back from your own mind.

Work with being, but non-being is what we use.

Trust your inner vision. Keep your heart open.

Success is as dangerous as failure as your position is precarious. Keep your feet grounded. Hope and fear are just thoughts of our mind.

Realize where you come from and that is the key to wisdom.

The master welcomes everything and is incredibly patient. Wait for the situation to change.

Empty your mind of everything. Understand yourself. Everything is serene at the source.

There is no need to talk as a master. Act by example instead. Trust your people.

Filial piety emerges when there is no peace in the family. Patriotism is born when the country is in chaos.

Throw away holiness and wisdom, morality and justice, industry and profit, and people will do fine.

Do not want what others want. I am expressionless. I possess nothing and drift around. I am different from the others.

Tao doesn’t cling to ideas. Let the light in. I see the Tao in myself.

Live by Tao, and you can be true to yourself.

Because the Master doesn’t display himself, people can see the light. Because he has nothing to prove, people can trust his words. Because he doesn’t know who he is, people recognize themselves in him. Because he has no goal in mind, everything he does succeeds. – Lao Tzu

Open yourself completely to experiences and be honest with them and how they make you feel.

Just do your job and let it go.

The beginning of the Universe can be known as Tao. It flows through everything. Man follows the Earth, Earth follows the Universe. The Universe follows Tao. Tao follows itself.

Do not allow yourself to be blown to and fro. Stay firm.

Embody the light.

A good traveller 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. – Lao Tzu

Be a pattern for the world. Accept the world as it is.

You can’t improve the world. See things as they are. Stand in the centre of the circle.

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. – Lao Tzu

Do not dominate events and understand that the Universe is out of control. Because he accepts himself, the whole world accepts him.

Peace is the highest value. How can you be content once peace is shattered? Rejoice in victory. Do not sadistic.

Know when institutions should stop and understand that names are provisional.

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich. If you stay in the centre and embrace death with your whole heart, you will endure forever. – Lao Tzu

Be humble and do not be aware that you’re great.

When you grasp Tao, you will have peace in your heart. When you look for it, there’s nothing to see.

Have subtle perception of the way things are. Let your workings be a mystery, just show people the result.

Centre yourself in Tao and the world will be transformed. Have no desire and peace will be abounded.

Don’t try to be powerful. The Master has no will of his own. He only dwells in reality.

The Master does nothing, yet he leaves nothing undone. The ordinary man is always doing things, yet many more are left to be done. – Lao Tzu

View the world with compassion. Understand the whole.

Return and yield. All things are born of being. Being is born of non-being.

It is seemingly difficult to locate Tao. However, it does complete everything.

Male and female combination leads to harmony. Embrace your loneliness and be at peace with the Universe.

Non-action has huge value in this world. Teach with words is the Master’s way.

If you look to others for fulfilment, you will never truly be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. 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

Allow things to happen and let Tao speak for itself.

See through your fears. Fear is an illusion. Do not prepare to defend yourself. Have no enemies.

The Master arrives without leaving. The more you know, the less you understand.

In Tao, things are dropped and non-action is practised. Let things go along by nature’s flow.

In Tao, it trusts everyone. Everyone is treated and taken care by Tao like children.

Give yourself up to the moment. Hold nothing back. Be ready for death.

Be spontaneous. Tao comforts and nourishes everyone.

If you close your mind in judgments and traffic with desires, your heart will be troubled. If you keep your mind from judging and aren’t led by the senses, your heart will find peace. – Lao Tzu

When you are extravagant or greedy, you are not being in line with Tao.

Look inside yourself and if you believe in Tao, you will prosper much.

Never expect anything and you won’t be disappointed. Thus, your spirit will never grow old.

Be like the Tao and give yourself up continually.

Stop trying to control. The more rules you have, the larger it will backfire. Let go of religion, economics and the law.

Do not impose your will, but still be pointed in a certain direction.

Be a moderate man and make sure of whatever that comes your way. Let go and care for others.

Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear itself.

Do not meddle in the affairs of others and see those who point out your faults as being very benevolent.

Offer to teach your new leader, Tao. Tao will forgive your mistakes.

Confront the difficult while it is easy; accomplish the great task by a series of small steps.

Nip danger in the bud and prevent it from escalating. Remain calm as a Master.

By non-knowing, you will not be stubborn and become more open to experiences.

If you want to lead, you must know how to follow. Place yourself below others. Do not compete with anyone.

I only teach 3 things: simplicity, patience and compassion. Be compassionate towards yourself.

The best businessmen only compete in the business of play. Follow the will of others.

Observe before moving. Do not underestimate your enemy. Victory will go to the one that yields first.

If you want to know Tao, look inside your heart.

The Master is a physician who heals herself of everything. She is whole again.

The Master steps back so that people won’t be confused. They have nothing to learn.

Tao doesn’t let a thing slip and overcomes without competing. It is constantly at ease.

All things change. Don’t cling on to one too tightly. The future can’t be controlled. Go with the flow.

Trust the common folks and leave them alone.

Whoever is stiff and inflexible is a discipline of death. Be soft and yielding.

The master can keep giving without fear.

Remain serene even when upset. Do not allow evil to enter your heart. Life is paradoxical.

Treat failure as an opportunity. Correct the mistakes yourself and do not expect things from others.

A master doesn’t need to travel. He is content at home and takes delight in everyday activities.

Wise men don’t have to prove anything. Do not dominate or force others.

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. – Lao Tzu