90+ Insightful Lao Tzu Quotes On Generosity and Unity


Lao Tzu is a notorious ancient Chinese philosopher and writer. He is best known for his work, the Tao Te Ching, and as the founder of Taoism. Tao Te Ching and Taoism focus on the beliefs of genuineness, health, detachment, transformation, and more. Lao Tzu left behind a legacy of thought-provoking ideas. Here are some Lao Tzu quotes to inspire you to live the best version of yourself.

Lao Tzu: Biography

Although historians debate the facts of his life, it is said that Lao Tzu was born in the 5th or 6th Century B.C.

It is said that he was born with the name Er Li; later on in life, he gained the name Laozi 老 or Lao Tzu, meaning “old venerable master.” This is a name he is now remembered by. He worked as a scholar and kept archives for the Royal Court of Zhou, but his personal life has two versions:

One version tells that Lao Tzu was married and had a son named Zong. Somehow, Zong and Laozi became separated, with Zong going on to become a decorated soldier. By coincidence, they reunited one day, and Laozi lends advice to his son, causing Zong to bring peace between the armies at war.

In the second version, Lao Tzu lived in Changzhou. However, due to the city’s immoral and materialist manner, Laozi decided to flee and become a hermit in the mountains. Before he could go, a guard named Yinxi stopped him and asked Laozi to write his knowledge down for the benefit of the citizens. This written knowledge became what is known as the Tao Te Ching and left Yinxi so impressed, he became Laozi’s disciple.

Lao Tzu: Teachings and Writings

Laozi’s teachings, known as the Tao TeChing, are recognized as a Taoist religion cornerstone, alongside Chinese philosopher Zhuang’s, Zhuangzi. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu is considered the founder of philosophical Taoism (also known as Daoism). The Tao Te Ching is a classic Chinese religious text, serving to restore harmony and tranquility. In some branches of religious Taoism, he is worshiped as a god, for he is considered the perfect embodiment of the Tao. The core beliefs of Taoism focuses on genuineness, health, immortality, detachment, refinement, transformation, and so much more. Taoism is considered both a philosophy and a religion and is recognized as one of the five traditional Chinese religions.

Lao Tzu is known to be one of the most influential Chinese philosophers of all time. He left behind a legacy of wisdom about the harmonious life we all should live with the universe. Continue reading the article below to discover wise Lao Tzu quotes that teach generosity, knowledge, and meditation on being one with the universe.

Lao Tzu Quotes On Courage and Strength

“A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.” -Lao Tzu

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

“From caring comes courage.” -Lao Tzu

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

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

“Because of a great love, one is courageous.” -Lao Tzu

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

“The difficult problems in life always start off being simple. Great affairs always start off being small.” -Lao Tzu

“Your own positive future begins At this moment. All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here.” -Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu Quotes on Leadership

“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

“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

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

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

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” -Lao Tzu

“Trying to control the future is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place. When you handle the master carpenter’s tools, chances are that you’ll cut your hand.” -Lao Tzu

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

“When goodness is lost, there is morality.” -Lao Tzu

“The leader shows that style is no substitute for substance, that creating an impression is more potent than acting from one’s center.” -Lao Tzu

“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.” -Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu Quotes on Wisdom and Truth

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

“The Wise Man is square but not sharp, honest but not malign, straight but not severe, bright but not dazzling.” -Lao Tzu

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

“Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good. He who knows has no wide learning; he who has wide learning does not know.” -Lao Tzu

“From wonder into wonder, existence opens.” -Lao Tzu

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

“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” -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

Lao Tzu Quotes on Growth

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

“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” -Lao Tzu

“The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world. Through this, I know the advantage of taking no action.” -Lao Tzu

“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.” -Lao Tzu

“People in their handling of affairs often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure.” -Lao Tzu

“To be worn out is to be renewed.” -Lao Tzu

“A violent wind does not last for a whole morning; a sudden rain does not last for the whole day.” -Lao Tzu

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

Lao Tzu Quotes on Life and Mankind

“Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and look at the stars. This practice should answer the question.” -Lao Tzu

“Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel and cannot be controlled. Trying to control leads to ruin. Trying to grasp, we lose. Allow your life to unfold naturally. Know that it too is a vessel of perfection. Just as you breathe in and breathe out, there is a time for being ahead and a time for being behind; a time for being in motion and a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous and a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe and a time for being in danger.” -Lao Tzu

“Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.” -Lao Tzu

“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.” -Lao Tzu

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

Best Lao Tzu Quotes to Live By

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

“Manifest plainness, Embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, Have few desires.” -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

“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.”

“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.” -Lao Tzu

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” -Lao Tzu

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

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

“There is no disaster greater than not being content; there is no misfortune greater than being covetous.” -Lao Tzu

“The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” -Lao Tzu

“Accomplish but do not boast, accomplish without show, accomplish without arrogance, accomplish without grabbing, accomplish without forcing.” -Lao Tzu

“The road you can talk about is not the road you can walk on.” -Lao Tzu

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

“Become totally empty. Quiet the restlessness of the mind. Only then will you witness everything unfolding from emptiness.” -Lao Tzu

“If you wish to be out front, then act as if you were behind.” -Lao Tzu

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

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

“Stop thinking and end your problems.” -Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu Quotes on Nature and the World

“Heaven and Earth are not kind. They regard all things as offerings.” -Lao Tzu

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

“Strong winds do not last all morning, hard rains do not last all day.” -Lao Tzu

“Man is ruled by Earth. Earth is ruled by Heaven. Heaven is ruled by the Way. The Way is ruled by itself.” -Lao Tzu

“Those who would take over the earth / And shape it to their will / Never, I notice, succeed. / The earth is like a vessel so sacred / That at the mere approach of the profane / It is marred / And when they reach out their fingers it is gone.” -Lao Tzu

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” -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

“The world belongs to those who let go.” -Lao Tzu

Best Lao Tzu Quotes on Generosity and Kindness

“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

“The way of heaven is to help and not harm.” -Lao Tzu

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” -Lao Tzu

“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.” -Lao Tzu

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

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

Best Lao Tzu Quotes on Love and Friendship

“If a person seems wicked, do not cast him away. Awaken him with your words, elevate him with your deeds, repay his injury with your kindness. Do not cast him away; cast away his wickedness.” -Lao Tzu

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

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

“Love is a decision – not an emotion!” -Lao Tzu

“Go to the people. Live with them, learn from them, love them.” -Lao Tzu

“He who defends with love will be secure; Heaven will save him, and protect him with love.” -Lao Tzu

“The reason why the universe is eternal is that it does not live for itself; it gives life to others as it transforms.” -Lao Tzu

“He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.” -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

“A bad man is a good man’s job.” -Lao Tzu

“Our enemies are not demons, but human beings like ourselves.” -Lao Tzu

Best Lao Tzu Quotes From/About Tao Te Ching

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

“Act without expectation.” -Lao Tzu

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate towards yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.” -Lao Tzu

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.” -Lao Tzu

“The truth is not always beautiful, nor does beautiful word the truth.” -Lao Tzu

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?” -Lao Tzu

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

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

“The wise man is one who knows what he does not know.” -Lao Tzu

“The Tao is nowhere to be found. Yet it nourishes and completes all things.” -Lao Tzu

“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things. Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations. These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gate to all mystery.” -Lao Tzu

For Further Reading:

Read more of Lao Tzu quotes in some of his readings, which you can find here:

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