The “Tao-te Ching” is a foundational text of Chinese philosophical literature, also known as the “Daodejing”.
Originally believed to have been written by Laozi, a figure traditionally identified as a 6th-century BCE curator of imperial Chinese archives and the founder of Daoism, doubts arose in the 19th century about his authorship and even his historical existence.
The text itself offers no clues for precise dating, leading to scholarly debates that place its composition between the 8th and 3rd century BCE.
The Tao-te Ching offers a philosophy aimed at restoring harmony in a tumultuous kingdom.
It critiques power-hungry rulers and contrasts with Confucian ethics. Central to the text is the concept of “nonaction” (wuwei), emphasizing spontaneity and allowing nature to run its course.
This Daoist approach suggests that when the Dao, an eternal and effortless Way predating heaven and earth, is followed, societal chaos and disputes diminish.
The Tao-te Ching’s impact is evident in the numerous commentaries on it—over 350 in Chinese, about 250 in Japanese and over 40 English translations since 1900.
I have shortlisted the top quotes from Tao Te Ching.
Best Tao Te Ching Quotes
The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
The further one goes, the less one knows. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long. ~ Lao Tzu, Te Tao Ching.
What is firmly rooted cannot be pulled out. ~ Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching.
To understand the limitation of things, desire them. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Close your mouth, block off your senses, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust. This is the primal identity. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Have the patience to wait! Be still and allow the mud to settle. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Famous Tao Te Ching Quotes
The road you can talk about is not the road you can walk on. ~ Lao-Tse, Tao Te Ching
Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
How do I know the way of all things at the Beginning? By what is within me. ~ Lao Tzu.
Sincere words are not fine; fine words are not sincere. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
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 toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
The world belongs to those who let go. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Must you value what others value, avoid what others avoid? How ridiculous! ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Inspirational Tao Te Ching Quotes
The moral man does something, and when no one responds he rolls up his sleeves and uses force. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self. When we don’t see the self as self, what do we have to fear? ~ Lao Tzu.
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. ~ Lao Tzu.
When goodness is lost there is morality. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
He who overcomes himself is mighty. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
If you want to accord with the Tao, just do your job, then let go. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
I am different from ordinary people. I drink from the Great Mother’s breasts. ~ Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Love is a decision – not an emotion! ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. ~ Lao Tzu, Te Tao Ching.
When there is no desire, all things are at peace. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Wise Tao Te Ching Quotes
It is because he is thus free from striving that therefore no one in the world is able to strive with him. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Clay is fashioned into vessels; but it is on their empty hollowness, that their use depends. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
It is better to leave a vessel unfilled, than to attempt to carry it when it is full. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
When the work is done, and one’s name is becoming distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know. ~ Lao Tsu, Tao Teh Ching
Great Tao Te Ching Quotes
The reason why heaven and earth are able to endure and continue thus long is because they do not live of, or for, themselves. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
There are few in the world who attain to the teaching without words, and the advantage arising from non-action. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. All can know good as good only because there is evil. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
A leader is best When people barely know he exists;
Of a good leader, who talks little;
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, They will say, ‘We did this ourselves.’ ~ Lao Tzu.
When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that is subtle and wonderful. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
A skillful soldier is not violent, an able fighter does not rage, a mighty conqueror does not give battle, a great commander is a humble man. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Profound Tao Te Ching Quotes
If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
Ordinary men hate solitude. But the Master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
A violent wind does not last for a whole morning; a sudden rain does not last for the whole day. ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching.
So these were the 50 top Tao Te Ching quotes on love, nature, change, mindfulness and soul.