The Wisdom of Lao Tzu

Lao TzuI love to read quotes. To me, quotes are like poetry.

Why do we love quotes? Quotes reaffirm, remind and put life into perspective. Quotes help us to understand ourselves. Quotes are popular sayings that often express common sense and universal truths. They often motivate us and make us think. Quotes inspire. Quotes pack a lot of wisdom into a few words. Quotes explain a purpose to life.

I have been inspired by Lao Tzu quotes for a long time. Many people have heard a Lao Tzu quote but are not quite sure who he was and what he was teaching. Almost daily I seem to come across one of his quotes and I am inspired and comforted. So, here you go incase you wanted to know!

Who was Lao Tzu?
Lao Tzu was a philosopher and poet of ancient China. He is said to have been a record keeper in the court of the central Chinese Zhou Dynasty in the 6th century B.C., and an older contemporary of Confucius. Lao Tzu is said to have tired of life in the Zhou court as it grew increasingly morally corrupt. So he left and rode on a water buffalo to the western border of the Chinese empire. Although he was dressed as a farmer, the border official recognised him and asked him to write down his wisdom. This may be a myth and his teaching may be a compilation of many authors.

How does the world know him?
He wrote a book called the Tao Te Ching and is considered to be the founder of Taoism (pronounced “Daoism”). The Tao Te Ching is a collection of 81 verses offing advice and guidance. I found it interesting that “Tao” means way, “te” means virtue, personal character, inner strength or integrity and “ching” means classic or great book. I highly recommend Wayne Dyer’s interpretation of the Tao Te Ching, CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS, CHANGE YOUR LIFE. (Comment below and be entered in a chance to win this book.)

Here are some of my favorites quotes.

“Nature does not hurry; yet everything is accomplished.”

"Nature does not hurry; yet everything is accomplished."

“Nature does not hurry; yet everything is accomplished.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

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

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

“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. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”

“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. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”

“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. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”

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

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

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

“Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”

“Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures."

“Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

"Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become deeds. Watch your deeds; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become deeds. Watch your deeds; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

“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.”

"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."

“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.”

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

"To see things in the seed, that is genius."

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

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~Lao Tzu

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~Lao Tzu

What’s your favorite? Comment below and be entered in a drawing to win Wayne Dyer’s book, CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS, CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

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31 Responses to The Wisdom of Lao Tzu

  1. Krista Prebble says:

    Nature does not hurry yet everything’s accomplished anda a thousand step journey begins with one step

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    I love those two quotes, too, Krista! You are in the running for the Wayne Dyer book now!
    Thanks for leaving a comment!!

    [Reply]

  2. christie says:

    Hi Betsy,
    There are many favorite quotes but to just say one, if you’re depressed you’re living in the past, if you’re anxious you’re living in the future, if you are at peace you’re living in the present.
    Do please write more often, missing your posts, I’ve book marked your blog.

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    I love that quote, too, Christie!
    Thank you so much for missing my posts. I will be writing more, I promise!! I was in the middle of assessments and conferences at my school. Plus my father had a surgery and we had people in town. I got busy and have a lot of 1/2 written posts that I will finish. Thanks for letting me know!
    Cheers!!

    [Reply]

  3. adie says:

    “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become deeds. Watch your deeds; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

    I think both these quotes are amazing – they speak such truth – who I am and what I am can come from my thoughts, my actions etc. I can choose who I become. Just imagine each single step we take in life can lead to another new and exciting journey.

    Love your blog

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Adie,
    I love that quote, too. And I, too, agree that it’s a choice! Isn’t it amazing that a man who lived so many thousands of years ago wrote such truths that still speak to us today. So glad you love the blog and left a comment! I’m looking forward to hearing from you again!
    Cheers!

    [Reply]

  4. Karen says:

    Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. This is extremely powerful to me in this moment as I teach reading at a small Montessori school. I think I will write this quote out for over my desk and use it daily for both myself and those students that are struggling with their confidence and are feeling discouraged.

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Karen,
    What grade/age do you teach. I’m just starting to make posters of these quotes. I’d love to send you the poster. Let me know in an email (thezenmama@gmail.com) your school address and I’ll send it to you.
    Thanks for the comment!

    [Reply]

  5. Pratikshya says:

    very inspiring quotes ….

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Pratikshya,
    So glad you enjoyed!
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
    Cheers!

    [Reply]

  6. Angela says:

    Hi Betsy! I love,

    “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. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”
    I am going to print it and put it somewhere I can see on a daily basis. I want to start up my own business and this quote is perfect for helping me stay on track and be successful! Thank you!!!!

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Hi Angela,
    I can’t wait to hear about your business idea! So glad you enjoyed that one. I’ll make a copy for you!
    Thanks for your support and stopping by and commenting!
    Cheers!

    [Reply]

  7. Susan says:

    Hi Betsy,

    I, like the others, have a hard time just picking one and love the ones the ladies above already picked. But I’ll go ahead and say the “Being Deeply Love” quote – because I feel it is true that loving deeply gives me courage and also the “Watch your thoughts” quote. I teach Hypnobabies and we teach how powerful our minds (thoughts) are so this quote really rings true to me.

    What a great way to start the day, reading these wonderful words! I also love your posts and am glad to have them delivered to my inbox so I don’t miss any. I’ve also been busy and writing less, so I understand! I love a good giveaway – sounds like a great book!

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Susan,
    I love that quote, too, because when you’re loved unconditionally, anything is possible. I’ve never heard of hypnobabies… sounds very interesting. And so glad you’re part of our positive community. I’ll check out your blog, too.
    Cheers!

    [Reply]

  8. Kim Dyer says:

    Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, love is knowing I am everything, & between the two my life moves.

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Kim,
    That is a wonderful quote and one I’ve never heard before!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Cheers!

    [Reply]

  9. Hi Betsy, I’m not a Zen Mama, but I am a Zen Teacher (www.thezenteacher.com) My favorite quote of those you listed is “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” I think this quote has such relevance both for me as a teacher and for my students. Thought it is not always easy, learning is about risk and taking leaps. It’s also about being able to let go of what was to reach for what might be. I try to make that a vibe in each of my classes. Thanks for sharing these quotes. I enjoy what you do here. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Dan,
    Love what you wrote Dan! Looking forward to checking out your website!
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.
    Cheers!

    [Reply]

  10. Kathleen says:

    I think of my children when I read this quote. I strive to model this behavior and am not always on the mark…
    “I have three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”
    This morning I did not model these behaviors, but this afternoon, I will have this quote on our chalkboard to remind me of the direction I am headed in.

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Kathleen,
    I, too, love to have this quote around to remind me that life is better with these three qualities, whether as a parent or a co-worker, a spouse or anyone you come across in life. I hope the rest of your day went well!
    Cheers!

    [Reply]

  11. Laura says:

    My favorite of these is, “Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”. It really speaks to me and to how I hope to live my life!

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Laura,
    I agree! I’m always hoping that I’m practicing this for myself and for the people in my life.
    Thanks for stopping by to comment!
    Cheers!

    [Reply]

  12. Amazing collection! I love Lao Tzu and I’m literally obsessed with wise and powerful quotes. If I have to choose from the list above I’d say that “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” is my favorite. Such a powerful thought…

    Can I borrow some of these for my website? Don’t worry though, I’m not taking all of them!

    Thanks for putting them all together!

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Hello Zdravko,
    So glad you enjoyed! That quote is probably one of my favorites as well. Please feel free to put any on your site… just have a link back to the post.
    Looking forward to seeing your website as well!
    Cheers!

    [Reply]

  13. Mahesh Mahajan says:

    “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” What a beautiful and powerful reality!

    [Reply]

  14. Getter says:

    Beautiful read! Lots of love, thank you!

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    So glad you enjoyed!!

    [Reply]

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  16. Siobhan Gayle says:

    Great quotes – thanks for posting. Do you know where the quote, “Be careful what you water your dreams with” comes from originally? I quite like the quote, but I can’t seem to find it in the Tao te Ching, and I was wondering about its provenance. Thanks much for your help, and have a great day!

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Glad you enjoyed Siobhan! I tried to find the origin but couldn’t either.
    I’ll keep searching! Take care and thanks for stopping by!

    [Reply]

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