300+ Insightful Lao Tzu Quotes And Philosophical Aphorisms

This collection of Lau Tzu quotes brings the wisdom of Taoism to bear on the problems and challenges we face in our daily lives.

Lau Tzu – Philosopher

Lao Tzu (also written Laozi, and Lao-Tze) was a Chinese philosopher and author of the Tao Te Ching, a collection of aphorisms that is considered the seminal work of Taoism. While little is known about his life, his philosophical teachings have exerted a profound influence on Chinese culture and thought.

In the Tao Te Ching, Lau Tzu sets forth his philosophy of Taoism, which stresses the importance of living in harmony with the Tao, or the natural order of things. His quotes offer keen insights into human nature and the universal truths that govern our lives.

Best Lao Tzu Quotes

Lao Tzu’s teachings have true wisdom. Here’s over 300 inspiring and thoughtful quotes:

Be the chief but never the lord.

– Lao Tzu


To lead people, walk behind them.

– Lao Tzu

To lead people, walk behind them. - Lao Tzu


The soft overcomes the hard, and the weak the strong.

– Lao Tzu


Because of deep love, one is courageous. Because of frugality, one is generous. Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes the leader of the world.

– Lao Tzu

Related: 300+ Courage Quotes To Help You Face Fears And Overcome Adversity


To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.

– Lao Tzu


Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found.

– Lao Tzu


Weapons are not proper instruments for gentle people; they use them only when they have no other choice. Peace and quiet are what they value. They do not glory in victory.

– Lao Tzu


What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.

– Lao Tzu

What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly. - Lao Tzu


Wasting energy to obtain rare objects only impedes one’s growth.

– Lao Tzu


When there is silence one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself.

– Lao Tzu

When there is silence one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself. - Lao Tzu


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

– Lao Tzu


Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength.

– Lao Tzu

Related: 175+ Discipline Quotes For Maximum Motivation


Act without striving. Work without interfering. Find the flavour in what is flavourless.

– Lao Tzu


When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’

– Lao Tzu


The best of all leaders is the one who helps people so that eventually they don’t need him.

– Lao Tzu


Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear.

– Lao Tzu


Quotes by Lao Tzu

Man’s enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself.

– Lao Tzu


For the wise man looks into space and he knows there are no limited dimensions.

– Lao Tzu


Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.

– Lao Tzu


The True Person avoids extremes, self-indulgence, and extravagance.

– Lao Tzu


Great acts are made up of small deeds.

– Lao Tzu


The words of truth are always paradoxical.

– Lao Tzu


The ruler attains wholeness in the correct governance of the people.

– Lao Tzu


Whoever can see through all fear, will always be safe.

– Lao Tzu


The ten thousand things flourish and then each return to the root from which it came. Returning to the root is stillness. Through stillness, each fulfils its destiny.

– Lao Tzu


To see things in the seed, that is genius.

– Lao Tzu


To avoid disappointment, know what is sufficient. To avoid trouble, know when to stop. If you are able to do this, you will last a long time.

– Lao Tzu


Surrender your self-interest. Love others as much as you love yourself. Then you can be entrusted with all things under heaven.

– Lao Tzu


The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.

– Lao Tzu


Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good.

– Lao Tzu


The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.

– Lao Tzu


Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

– Lao Tzu


Lao-Tzu Quotes

Love is a decision. Not an emotion.

– Lao Tzu

Love is a decision. Not an emotion. - Lao Tzu


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

– Lao Tzu


Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

– Lao Tzu

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


Act without expectation.

– Lao Tzu


When you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you.

– Lao Tzu


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

– Lao Tzu


The True Person governs by emptying the heart of desire and filling the belly with food, weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.

– Lao Tzu


When you realize where you come from, you naturally become tolerant, amused, kindhearted as a grandmother, and dignified as a king. Immersed in wonder, you can deal with whatever life brings you, and when death comes, you are ready.

– Lao Tzu


There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.

– Lao Tzu


Time is a created thing. To say, I don’t have time,” is like saying, I don’t want to.

– Lao Tzu


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

– Lao Tzu


At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.

– Lao Tzu


If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.

– Lao Tzu


Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.

– Lao Tzu


Use the light that is within you to revert to your natural clearness of sight.

– Lao Tzu

Use the light that is within you to revert to your natural clearness of sight. - Lao Tzu


Only fools seek power, and the greatest fools seek it through force.

– Lao Tzu


Quotes from Lao Tzu

He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted.

– Lao Tzu


If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.

– Lao Tzu


Without stirring abroad, One can know the whole world; Without looking out of the window One can see the way of heaven. The further one goes the less one knows.

– Lao Tzu


When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder.

– Lao Tzu


From caring comes courage.

– Lao Tzu


Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus, goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus, honesty is attained.

– Lao Tzu


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

– Lao Tzu


Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.

– Lao Tzu


The people are hungry: It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes.

– Lao Tzu


By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.

– Lao Tzu


Knowing others is to be clever. Knowing yourself is to be enlightened. Overcoming others requires force. Overcoming yourself requires strength.

– Lao Tzu


If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence.

– Lao Tzu


Of all that is good, sublimity is supreme. Succeeding is the coming together of all that is beautiful. Furtherance is the agreement of all that is just. Perseverance is the foundation of all actions.

– Lao Tzu


If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich

– Lao Tzu

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


What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher. What is a bad man but a good man’s job.

– Lao Tzu


If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

– Lao Tzu


Taoism Quotes

The master dwells in the substantial and not in the superficial. Rests in the fruit and not in the flower.

– 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


Nature is not human hearted.

– Lao Tzu


If the Great Way perishes there will morality and duty. When cleverness and knowledge arise great lies will flourish. When relatives fall out with one another there will be filial duty and love. When states are in confusion there will be faithful servants.

– Lao Tzu


When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.

– Lao Tzu


To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.

– Lao Tzu


It is better to leave a vessel unfilled than to attempt to carry it when it is full.

– Lao Tzu


Do not look only at yourself, and you will see much. Do not justify yourself, and you will be distinguished. Do not brag, and you will have merit. Do not be prideful, and your work will endure.

– Lao Tzu


A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.

– Lao Tzu

A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. - Lao Tzu


When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready… The teacher will Disappear.

– Lao Tzu


He, who defines himself, can’t know who he really is.

– Lao Tzu


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

– Lao Tzu


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

– Lao Tzu


Some lose yet to gain, others gain and yet lose.

– Lao Tzu


Those who have the knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.

– Lao Tzu


The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.

– Lao Tzu


Lao Tzu Quotations

Simplicity has no name is free of desires. Being free of desires it is tranquil. And the world will be at peace of its own accord.

– Lao Tzu


If we could renounce our sageness and discard our wisdom, it would be better for the people a hundredfold.

– Lao Tzu


Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

– Lao Tzu


Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success.

– Lao Tzu


He who talks more is sooner exhausted.

– Lao Tzu

He who talks more is sooner exhausted. - Lao Tzu


To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.

– Lao Tzu


The heart that gives, gathers.

– Lao Tzu


The career of a sage is of two kinds: He is either honoured by all in the world, like a flower waving its head or else he disappears into the silent forest.

– Lao Tzu


Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it.

– Lao Tzu


Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretches her fingers to touch the heavens.

– Lao Tzu


Remind yourself daily, there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

– Lao Tzu


Empty yourself of everything – let the mind become still.

– Lao Tzu


New beginnings are disguised as painful endings.

– Lao Tzu

New beginnings are disguised as painful endings. - Lao Tzu


Few things under heaven bring more benefit than the lessons learned from silence and the actions taken without striving.

– Lao Tzu


Failure is an opportunity.

– Lao Tzu


Knowledge is a treasure, but the practice is the key to it.

– Lao Tzu

Knowledge is a treasure, but the practice is the key to it. - Lao Tzu


Words of Wisdom by Lao Tzu

All things in the world come from being. And being comes from non-being.

– Lao Tzu


He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.

– Lao Tzu


Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

– Lao Tzu


He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.

– Lao Tzu


Love is the greatest link that we have with those who have temporarily left us.

– Lao Tzu


What is well-rooted cannot be pulled up. What is firmly grasped will not slip loose. It will be honoured from generation to generation.

– Lao Tzu


If you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness.

– Lao Tzu


Before healing others, heal yourself.

– Lao Tzu

Before healing others, heal yourself. - Lao Tzu


A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.

– Lao Tzu


Make your heart like a lake with a calm still surface and great depths of kindness.

– 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


The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, the more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.

– Lao Tzu


To become learned, each day add something.

– Lao Tzu


One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.

– Lao Tzu


He who is contented is rich.

– Lao Tzu

He who is contented is rich. - Lao Tzu


The best fighter is never angry.

– Lao Tzu


Lao Tzu Sayings

The higher the sun ariseth, the less shadow doth he cast; even so the greater is the goodness, the less doth it covets praise, yet cannot avoid its rewards in honours.

– Lao Tzu


Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.

– Lao Tzu

Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing. - Lao Tzu


He, who tries to shine, dims his own light.

– Lao Tzu


He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

– Lao Tzu


Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.

– Lao Tzu


The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he who the people revere. The great leader is he who the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’

– Lao Tzu


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

– Lao Tzu


Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?

– Lao Tzu


A man with outward courage dares to die: a man with inner courage dares to live.

– Lao Tzu

A man with outward courage dares to die: a man with inner courage dares to live. - Lao Tzu


Great indeed is the sublimity of the Creative, to which all beings owe their beginning, and which permeates all heaven.

– 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


To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.

– Lao Tzu


Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it

– Lao Tzu


If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame.

– Lao Tzu


The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.

– Lao Tzu


Sincere words are not fine; fine words are not sincere.

– Lao Tzu


Tao Quotes

Violence, even well-intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.

– Lao Tzu


Stop thinking and end your problems.

– Lao Tzu

Stop thinking and end your problems. - Lao Tzu


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

– Lao Tzu


If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.

– Lao Tzu

If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place. - Lao Tzu


The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.

– Lao Tzu

The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world. - Lao Tzu


Silence is a source of great strength.

– Lao Tzu

Silence is a source of great strength. - Lao Tzu


If you look to others for fulfilment, you will never be truly fulfilled.

– Lao Tzu


Who acts in stillness finds stillness in his life.

– Lao Tzu


Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.

– Lao Tzu


There is no greater offence than harbouring desires. There is no greater disaster than discontent. There is no greater misfortune than wanting more.

– Lao Tzu


A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth.

– Lao Tzu


One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him.

– Lao Tzu


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


Confidence is the greatest friend.

– Lao Tzu


Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.

– Lao Tzu


Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.

– Lao Tzu


Quotes from Lao Tzu from the Tao Te Ching

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

– Lao Tzu


Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success.

– Lao Tzu


Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.

– Lao Tzu


Life is going forth; death is returning home.

– Lao Tzu


All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.

– Lao Tzu


It is better to do one’s own duty, however defective it may be than to follow the duty of another, however, well one may perform it. He who does his duty as his own nature reveals it never sins.

– Lao Tzu


If I had just a little bit of wisdom I should walk the great path and fear only straying from it.

– Lao Tzu


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

– Lao Tzu


The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

– Lao Tzu

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. - 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



Most Quoted is the home of sayings, words of wisdom and quotes from the most quoted philosophers, writers, artists and thinkers. In addition to this collection of quotes from the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, you will find hundreds of other quotes lists and collections on this site.

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