An introduction to the history of lao tzu

Old Master Age equaled wisdom and superiority in ancient China, and Confucianism was the leading philosophy already soon after the death of its creator, so Taoists would have wished for Lao Tzu to be the senior of the two. Thereby, his thoughts would gain the prestige of being of older origin. Taoism and Confucianism are sort of competing philosophies, largely opposites of each another. Where Confucianism preaches obedience and strict conformity to social rules and human authorities, Taoism is almost indifferent to formalized social order.

An introduction to the history of lao tzu

February 17, Print Email Our Wisdom of the Ages section attempts to demonstrate the continuous stream of the ancient Wisdom Tradition throughout human history.

As we continue to build the section we will regularly bring to the fore selections highlighting individuals, systems of thought, schools, movements, etc. Nothing is known of this master with any certainty, though he is said to have been an elder contemporary of Confucius and therefore to have lived in the 6th century BCE.

The earliest biography of Lao Tzu comes to us from the Shiji Records of the Historian of Sima Qian, wherein a few fragments of his life are given. He frankly admits that he is puzzled, and simply presents the hodgepodge of opinions he has managed to collect with an avowal that, all things considered, no one can be sure what they add up to.

An introduction to the history of lao tzu

He may have met with Confucius on at least one occasion. His teachings emphasized hiding oneself and avoiding fame. Witnessing the decline of Zhou, he departed westward. Upon reaching the border, an official Yin Xi requested that he put his teachings into writing before leaving Zhou forever.

Lao Tzu subsequently composed the Tao Te Ching, then departed, never to be seen again. These must be viewed more in the light of legend than of history, and as but glimpses into the possible life of the sage. We can perhaps apply a touch of Taoist philosophy in our approach to the character of Lao Tzu, by allowing the truth to be, without clinging to the crystallization of any story.

We are unlikely ever to know more than what we can gather from these small fragments. As chapter 15 of the Tao Te Ching makes clear, Lao Tzu was not the sole originator of his philosophy, but rather a practitioner and transmitter.

As one author observes, to trace the history of Tao we must reach back to such characters as Huangdi and Fu Hsi and look to older works such as the I Ching. The Tao Te Ching is today the second most widely translated book in human history.

It forms the fundamental core of modern Taoist philosophy and has informed the beliefs of the people of China for millenia. It is immediately apparent upon first opening The Tao Te Ching that it is an exceedingly practical book. Can you coax your mind from its wandering and keep to the original oneness?

Can you cleanse your inner vision until you see nothing but the light? Can you love people and lead them without imposing your will?


Can you deal with the most vital matters by letting events take their course? Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing.Thus, Lao Tzu is regarded as a very important figure in Chinese history, and even revered by many as a deity in the Taoist pantheon. The Debated Existence of Lao Tzu.

Unlike Confucius, Lao Tzu is a much more difficult character to pin down. BUDDHISM. Buddhism has million followers. It was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha (Enlightened One), in southern Nepal in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. Lao-Tzu (also known as Laozi or Lao-Tze) was a Chinese philosopher credited with founding the philosophical system of Taoism.

He is best known as the author of the Tao-Te-Ching, the work which exemplifies his thought. Many centuries ago, Lao Tzu, spoke of the four cardinal virtues, teaching that when we practice them as a way of life, we come to know the truth of the universe.

Lao Tzu & Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, the tiny book of wisdom that take the world by storm since more than two centuries ago, is extolled as one of the wisest book ever written in the human history.

Many parts of the ancient book, unfortunately, are really not easy to comprehend. The Tao-Te Ching includes 'The Book of the Way' (the Tao) and 'The Book of Virtue or Power' (the Te) in which the teachings of Lao-Tzu are set down.

According to the teachings, wisdom is attained through understanding the way the universe works. In order to understand how the universe works, one must live in harmony with it, accepting the forces at play, and acting intuitively and.

Lao Tzu: The Founder of One of the Three Pillars of Traditional Chinese Thought | Ancient Origins