Quotations by Laozi

Quotations | Speeches | Poetry

Laozi, philosopher of ancient China and founder of Taoism

Laozi (Lao tzu; also Lao Tse, Laotze, Lao Zi, and other variations, born 4th century BC) was a philosopher of ancient China and is a central figure in Taoism (also spelled "Daoism"). Laozi literally means "Old Master" and is generally considered an honorific. Laozi is revered as a god in religious forms of Taoism. (Source: Wikipedia)


  1. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

  2. Seek not happiness too greedily, and be not fearful of happiness.

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

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

  5. He who knows others is wise;
    He who know himself is enlightened.

  6. He who loves the world as his body may be entrusted with the empire.

  7. I have three treasures. Guard and keep them:
    The first is deep love,
    The second is frugality,
    And the third is not to dare to be ahead of the world.
    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.

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

  9. Manifest plainness,
    Embrace simplicity,
    Reduce selfishness,
    Have few desires.

  10. People are difficult to govern because they have too much knowledge.

  11. The best [man] is like water.
    Water is good; it benefits all things and does not compete with them.
    It dwells in [lowly] places that all disdain.
    This is why it is so near to Tao.

  12. The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.

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

  14. The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.
    Through this I know the advantage of taking no action.

  15. The Way of Heaven is to benefit others and not to injure.
    The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.

  16. There is no calamity greater than lavish desires.
    There is no greater guilt than discontentment.
    And there is not greater disaster than greed.

  17. To be worn out is to be renewed.

  18. To have little is to possess.
    To have plenty is to be perplexed.

  19. To know that you do not know is the best.
    To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease.

  20. To produce things and to rear them,
    To produce, but not to take possession of them,
    To act, but not to rely on one's own ability,
    To lead them, but not to master them -
    This is called profound and secret virtue.

  21. When armies are mobilized and issues are joined,
    The man who is sorry over the fact will win.

  22. When the highest type of men hear Tao,
    They diligently practice it.
    When the average type of men hear Tao,
    They half believe in it.
    When the lowest type of men hear Tao,
    They laugh heartily at it.

  23. When the people of the world all know beauty as beauty,
    There arises the recognition of ugliness.
    When they all know the good as good,
    There arises the recognition of evil.