“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.” - Lao Tzu
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150 Lao Tzu Quotes That Will Bring You True Wisdom

Lao Tzu, also rendered as Laozi, was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer who’s known as the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching (an ancient Chinese text that describes the Tao or Dao as the source of all existence), the founder of philosophical Taoism, and a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions. Lao Tzu was usually portrayed as a 6th-century BC contemporary of Confucius and is considered a central figure in Chinese culture, which influenced many school of thoughts such as Confucianism and Buddhism.

The Teachings of Lao Tzu and his timeless philosophical sayings can teach us a lot about life, love and Enlightenment. They are both practical and deep. His quotes are full of wisdom in getting to know oneself and a practical guideline for harmonious living.

Below are 150 of the best Lao Tzu quotes to help you develop the inner strength within yourself to pursue a life of greatness.

150 Lao Tzu Quotes On Life, Love And Enlightenment

Top 10 Lao Tzu Quotes

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

“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

“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.” – Lao Tzu

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.” – 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 do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” – Lao Tzu

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

“He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” – Lao Tzu

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

Best Lao Tzu Quotes

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“Failure is an opportunity.” – Lao Tzu

“He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted.” – Lao Tzu

“Act without expectation.” – Lao Tzu

“There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.” – Lao Tzu

“New beginnings are disguised as painful endings.” – Lao Tzu

“The words of truth are always paradoxical.” – Lao Tzu

“Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.” – Lao Tzu

“Before healing others, heal yourself.” – Lao Tzu

“The heart that gives, gathers.” – Lao Tzu

“Sincere words are not fine; fine words are not sincere.” – Lao Tzu

“The best fighter is never angry.” – Lao Tzu

“From caring comes courage.” – Lao Tzu

“Nature is not human hearted.” – Lao Tzu

“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.” – Lao Tzu

“Great acts are made up of small deeds.” – Lao Tzu

“He who is contented is rich.” – Lao Tzu

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

“Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success.” – Lao Tzu

“Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” – Lao Tzu

“The people are hungry: It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes.” – Lao Tzu

“It is better to leave a vessel unfilled than to attempt to carry it when it is full.” – Lao Tzu

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

“Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretches her fingers to touch the heavens.” – Lao Tzu

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

“Some lose yet to gain, others gain and yet lose.” – Lao Tzu

“The master dwells in the substantial and not in the superficial. Rests in the fruit and not in the flower.” – Lao Tzu

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

“Act without striving. Work without interfering. Find the flavour in what is flavourless.” – Lao Tzu

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

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

“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

“One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him.” – Lao Tzu

“The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.” – Lao Tzu

“If you keep feeling a point that has been sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness.” – Lao Tzu

“When you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you.” – 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

“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

“There is no disaster greater than not being content.” – Lao Tzu

“If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame.” – Lao Tzu

“Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good.” – Lao Tzu

“Violence, even well-intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.” – Lao Tzu

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.” – Lao Tzu

“Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.” – Lao Tzu


Lao Tzu Quotes On Love

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

“Love is a decision. Not an emotion.” – 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

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

“A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.” – Lao Tzu

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

Great acts are made up of small deeds. Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu Quotes On Life

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“Who acts in stillness finds stillness in his life.” – Lao Tzu

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

“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

“Man’s enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself.” – Lao Tzu

“Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.” – Lao Tzu

“Confidence is the greatest friend.” – Lao Tzu

“Few things under heaven bring more benefit than the lessons learned from silence and the actions taken without striving.” – Lao Tzu

“When there is silence one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself.” – Lao Tzu

“Remind yourself daily, there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” – Lao Tzu

“If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.” – Lao Tzu

“Wasting energy to obtain rare objects only impedes one’s growth.” – Lao Tzu

“The soft overcomes the hard, and the weak the strong.” – 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 knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.” – Lao Tzu

“Silence is a source of great strength.” – Lao Tzu

“Knowledge is a treasure, but the practice is the key to it.” – Lao Tzu

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

“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

“He who talks more is sooner exhausted.” – Lao Tzu

The master observes the world but trusts his innervision. He allows things to come and go. His heart is as open as the sky. Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu Quotes On Death

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“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

“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

“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

“Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.” – Lao Tzu

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

Lao Tzu Quotes On Time

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“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

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

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

Lao Tzu Quotes On Change

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“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

“Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear.” – Lao Tzu

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

“When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.” – Lao Tzu

“What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.” – Lao Tzu

“To become learned, each day add something.” – 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

“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

When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you. LAO TZU

Lao Tzu Quotes On Water

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

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it” – Lao Tzu

“One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.” – Lao Tzu

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

“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

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 yieldingis a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail. LAO TZU

Lao Tzu Quotes On Leadership

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“Be the chief but never the lord.” – 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

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

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

“To lead people, walk behind them.” – Lao Tzu

“He, who tries to shine, dims his own light.” – Lao Tzu

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

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

“The ruler attains wholeness in the correct governance of the people.” – 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

“For the wise man looks into space and he knows there are no limited dimensions.” – Lao Tzu


Lao Tzu Quotes On Enlightenment

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

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

“All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.” – Lao Tzu

“Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it.” – Lao Tzu

“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

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

“Only fools seek power, and the greatest fools seek it through force.” – Lao Tzu

“The True Person avoids extremes, self-indulgence, and extravagance.” – Lao Tzu

“A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth.” – Lao Tzu

“The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.” – Lao Tzu

“Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength.” – Lao Tzu

“Those who have the knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.” – 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

“The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.” – Lao Tzu

“The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.” – Lao Tzu

“All things in the world come from being. And being comes from non-being.” – Lao Tzu

“If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich” – 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

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – 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 would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence.” – Lao Tzu

“Knowing others is to be clever. Knowing yourself is to be enlightened. Overcoming others requires force. Overcoming yourself requires strength.” – Lao Tzu

“Great indeed is the sublimity of the Creative, to which all beings owe their beginning, and which permeates all heaven.” – Lao Tzu

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

Lao Tzu Quotes Watch Your Thoughts

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“He, who defines himself, can’t know who he really is.” – Lao Tzu

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

“Empty yourself of everything – let the mind become still.” – Lao Tzu

“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” – Lao Tzu

“Whoever can see through all fear, will always be safe.” – Lao Tzu

“Stop thinking and end your problems.” – 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

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

“To see things in the seed, that is genius.” – 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

Time is a created thing. To say I don't have time is like saying I don't want to. LAO TZU

In Conclusion

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Lao Tzu’s wisdom rings with practicality and depth that makes his words both significantly valuable and often easy to apply. Hopefully, these quotes from the legendary philosopher have helped you develop your inner strength and inspired you to be the best you can be.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this considerable collection of Lao Tzu quotes to inspire greatness in you and instil his timeless wisdom.

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