Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu Quotes and Wisdom for Life

Tao Te Ching – A Guide to Life

If you are a wisdom seeker like me, then you’ve probably already of the Tao Te Ching – a tiny book of only 81 ‘stanzas’ written by Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu between the 4th-6th century BC. The wisdom of this little book has been so powerful that it’s credited with influencing Confucius, Buddha, and other philosophers. 

On this page I aim to share some of my favorite wisdom from The Tao. I’m also including visual content to make it easy for you to share with your friends too. 

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The Tao Te Ching – In Pictures

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(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 2

The Master of the Tao acts without doing anything. She teaches without saying anything. She has, but doesn’t possess. She acts but doesn’t expect. When her work is done, she forgets about it. That is why her work lasts forever. 

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 7

The Master stays behind, that is why she is ahead. She is detached from all things, that is why she is one of them. Because she has let go of herself, she is perfectly fulfilled. 

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 8

In dwelling, live close to the ground. 
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 9

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. 
Care about other people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. 
Do your work, then step back. This is the path to serenity. 

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 10

Giving birth and nourishing, having without possessing, acting with no expectations, leading and not trying to control: this is the supreme virtue. 

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 11

We join spokes to make a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds what we want.

We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.

We work with being, but non-being is what we use. 

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 15

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

That Master doesn’t seek fulfillment. Not seeking, not expecting, she is present and can welcome all things. 

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 22

The Master sets an example for all. Because he doesn’t display himself, people can see his light. Because he has nothing to prove, people can trust his words. Because he isn’t supposed to be anyone, people can recognize themselves in him. Because he has no goal in mind, everything he does succeeds. 

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 23

Express yourself completely, then keep quiet. 

Be like the forces of nature: when it blows there is only wind; when it rains there is only rain; when the clouds pass the sun shines through. 

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 24

He who stands on tiptoes doesn’t stand firm. He who rushes ahead, doesn’t get far. He who tries to shine, dims his own light. He who has power over others, can’t empower himself. He who clings to his work, will create nothing that endures.

To live in the Tao, Do your job, then let go. 

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 27

What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher? 

What is a bad man but a good man’s job?

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 29

The Master sees things as they are, without trying to control them. She lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle. 

(Text Version)

Tao Stanza 30

Believe in yourself and don’t try to convince others.

Be content with yourself and don’t need other’s approval.

Accept who you are and the whole world will accept you. 

More Tao Wisdom Coming Soon

This brings us a little more than 1/3 of the way through the Tao Te Ching. Keep checking back for more as I create new images you can use to share the Tao wisdom with your friends. 

Do YOU have a favorite Tao Stanza? 

Let us know in the comments below. 

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Video Readings of The Tao


References to Learn More about The Tao

Here are some helpful links to learn more about The Tao Te Ching and Lao Tzu.

  1. The Tao Te Ching: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tao_Te_Ching
  2. Lao Tzu, AKA Laozi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laozi
  3. Lao Tzu Teachings: http://www.laotzu.org/
  4. Lao Tzu GoodReadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2622245
  5. Complete Online PDF of Taohttp://www.with.org/tao_te_ching_en.pdf
  6. 81 Clickable Tao Te Ching Stanzas: http://thetaoteching.com/taoteching5.html

What to Read Next?

2 thoughts on “Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu Quotes and Wisdom for Life”

  1. Expectation is the root of all suffering.


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