The Tao Te Ching

The book of the way

400 BCE Lao Tzu | 2016 Sam Torode and Dwight Goddard

5 Stars
Photo by Matt Paul Catalano

2500 year old wisdom

This is ancient philosophy at its best. The Tao Te Ching is not only thought-provoking but also fun to read. Gentle and fascinating words travel by when you slowly visit the passages one by one, each sentence more pleasant than the other. A tip: if you're on a long road trip, listen to this in the background: Tao Te Ching - Read by Wayne Dyer.

It may be strange, but reading or listening to the Tao Te Ching provokes a profound emotion within me.

This book is a gem, a real gem.


24 significant notes

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  • 4%Value virtue over wealth, and the people’s hearts will be at rest. Wise rulers do not accumulate treasures, but seek to quiet the hearts of their people. They soothe the people’s appetites and strengthen their bones. They treasure innocence, and protect the simple from the schemes of the clever. When a ruler practices restraint, everything will be in peace.
  • 9%They are not focused on outcomes or achievements; therefore they always succeed.
  • 9%True goodness is like water; it nurtures everything and harms nothing. Like water, it ever seeks the lowest place, the place that all others avoid. This is the way of the Tao.
  • 13%Matter is necessary to give form, but the value of reality lies in its immateriality. Everything that lives has a physical body, but the value of a life is measured by the soul.
  • 14%the pursuit of great riches leads to ruin. The wise attend to the inner truth of things and are not fooled by outward appearances. They ignore matter and seek the spirit.
  • 21%when great rulers lead, the people are hardly aware of their existence.
  • 23%Here are the four fundamentals of true spirituality: recognize simplicity, cherish purity, reduce your possessions, diminish your desires.
  • 28%They who act in the spirit of the Tao become Tao-like. They who follow the Tao, the Tao will guide. They who pursue virtue, virtue will reward. They who live by violence, violence will soon destroy.
  • 55%There is no sin greater than desire. There is no misfortune greater than discontent. There is no calamity greater than greed. To know the Tao is to know contentment.
  • 56%The wise explore without traveling, discern without seeing, finish without striving, and arrive at their destination without leaving home.
  • 62%To recognize your insignificance is empowering. To show sympathy is strength. Those who follow the Tao’s light arrive at enlightenment.
  • 67%The wise shut their mouths and watch their actions.
  • 71%Acquiring moderation results in accumulating virtue. By accumulating virtue, nothing is impossible. If nothing is impossible, one knows no limits.
  • 76%Respond to hatred with kindness. Resolve difficulties while they are easy, and manage great things while they are small.
  • 78%The wise do not desire what they do not possess. They learn to be unlearned; they attend to that which others ignore. In that spirit, they help things grow, without interfering.
  • 79%Clever people are difficult to govern. And so, governing people with cleverness is a mistake, while governing with simplicity is a blessing to all.
  • 80%Wise rulers, desiring to lead the people, humble themselves and stay below them; wishing to help the people, they stay out of the way.
  • 82%If you are compassionate, you can be truly courageous; if you are economical, you can be truly generous; if you are humble, you can be truly helpful.
  • 83%Bring out the best in yourself, and you will bring out the best in others. This is following the Tao.
  • 87%The wise, while valuing themselves, do not overestimate themselves. They reject flattery and gain true merit.
  • 88%Reckless courage leads to death. Cautious courage leads to life. These two things, courage and caution, must be balanced.
  • 90%Oppressive measures never achieve their intended results.
  • 93%Nothing is gentler than water, yet nothing can withstand its force. Likewise, nothing compares to the Tao. By it the weak defeat the strong; and the flexible conquer the rigid.
  • 97%True words are often unpleasant; pleasant words are often untrue. Those who know the truth do not argue about it; those who argue do not know the truth.