Laozi Lao-tse, Laotze, Lao-Tsu, Laocius
(6th century BC -According to Chinese tradition) (4th century BС – Another version)
Category: Votaries оf Spirit
Occupation: Spiritual teachers, Philosophers
Unique distinction: Founder of Taoism. The author of the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching).
The main contribution to (what is known): Laozi was the founder and a central figure in Taoism (also spelled “Daoism”).
Contributions: According to tradition, Lao Tzu was a contemporary of Confucius, and developed Taoism as a mystical reaction to Confucianism.
Laozi is the founder of Taoism connected with the Daodejing and “primordial” (or “original”) Daoism.
The Great Tao. The main idea of this work – the conception of Tao – is treated as the natural order of things, universal law of nature, worldwide natural rhythm of events, “the will of Heaven”, “Pure Nothingness” or “Powers of Nothingness”
Tao – eternally infinite, inconceivable, ineffable, goes beyond distinctions, not having “image, taste or smell. Emptiness” – this is the same as the non-existence, from which Tao produces all things.
Tao is the source of the origin of the world.
Tao gave birth to one (‘chi’ as a life breaths and global substrate).
One gave birth to two (polar entities of Yin and Yang).
Two gave birth to three (the great triad of Heaven – Man – Earth).
Three gives birth to the ten thousand things.
All things carry Yin yet embrace Yang. They blend their life breaths in order to produce harmony.
He put forward the principle of the Eternal return, or the continual return of the myriad creatures to the cosmic principle from which they arose.
Tao and Te in the concept of LA are inextricably linked: Tao creates things, and Te’ grows, feeds and perfects them.
The aim is to achieve harmony with the Universe. In parables and verse, it advocates contemplative and intuitive behavior in natural harmony with the Tao, a cosmic unity underlying all phenomena.
Compared to Confucius, who focuses on right avd moral relations in human society, Lao Tzu takes a more mystical and broader approach to tuning into the natural order of things as a way of achieving personal and social harmony.
He stressed that important quality of the tao is its “empty”, “yielding,” or “submissiveness.” Because the Tao itself is basically empty, yield and submissive, it is best for a person to be the same and to put himself in harmony with the Tao. Inside emptiness can mean having no fixed preconceptions, preferences and intentions.
The method of achieving. It emphasizes the value of wu-wei, “non-striving” or “non-purposeful action,” by which one returns to a primitive state closer to the Tao, a stage of atomization of creative possibility symbolized by the child activity.
For comprehension of the Tao silence, simplicity, naturalness, calmness, moderation and impassive are recommended, which confer a merger with the Tao. Violence should be avoided. Sage, making your heart impassive and preserving the peace, likened to the eternal Tao until identification. He who serves and follows the Tao is identified with the Tao.
“Transition to the contrary – the path of Tao, yielding – the method of Tao.
It also promotes a laissez-faire approach to government.
Religion. The story of Laozi has taken on strong religious overtones. As Daoism took root, Laozi was recognized as a god. In later mature Daoist tradition, Laozi came to be seen as a personification of Dao.
Dao (Tao) literally means “the Way”. It implies the essential, process of the universe.
Te means “inner strength”, “virtue” or “divine power” Ching as it is used here means “canon” or “classic”. Thus, Tao Te Ching can be translated as “The Canon of the Way and the Power”.
The oxymoron nickname Lao-tse, the literal meaning of which – Old Child. The heart of the wise quite equal to the heart of the child.
” Tao’s Mysterious Virtue”- Tao does not fight with anyone, benefits all types of beings, it does nothing but everything is well done.
Yin and yang are complementary opposites within a greater whole.
Many natural dualities — dark and light, cold and hot — are thought of as manifestations of yin and yang . Yin is female and yang is male.”Yin yang constantly interacts. They should be balanced.
Daodejing’s ideas: Man follows the Earth. Earth follows Heaven. Heaven follows the Tao. The Tao follows only itself.
Duality of nature that complements each other instead of competing with each other- the two faces of the same coin – one cannot exist without the other.
The harder one tries, the more resistance one creates for oneself.
The more one acts in harmony with the universe (the Mother of the myriad things), the more one will achieve, with less effort.
The qualities of flexibility and suppleness, especially as exemplified by water, are superior to rigidity and strength.
Soft overcomes hard, weak overcomes strong.
Everything is in its own time and place. Know when it’s time to stop.
Live simply. Humility is the highest virtue.
Major works: Laozi is traditionally regarded as the author of the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching), though its authorship has been debated throughout history.
Education: Laozi is considered as a synthesis of multiple historical figures.
Career highlights: A general history of China describes Laozi as an older contemporary and teacher of Confucius (551-479 B.C.).
According to popular traditional biographies, he worked as the Keeper of the Archives for the royal court of Zhou. This reportedly allowed him broad access to the works of the Yellow Emperor and other classics of the time.
The stories assert that Laozi never opened a formal school, but he nonetheless attracted a large number of students and loyal disciples. There are numerous variations of a story depicting Confucius consulting Laozi about rituals.
Personal life: Many of the popular accounts say that Laozi married and had a son named Zong, who became a celebrated soldier and commander in the district of Wei.
Zest: According to legend, Lao-tzu simply decided to leave society. At the western gate of the city, or kingdom, a guard asked the old master to produce a record of his wisdom. So the sage wrote about ‘the proper way to live’. This is the legendary origin of the Daodejing. Then he went on. No one knows where he died. Taoist mythology was to claim of the final journey into the West that it allowed Lao-tzu to visit India as the Buddha. Popular legends say that he was conceived when his mother gazed upon a falling star and was born when his mother leaned against a plum tree. He had a long earlobes, golden face, a bump on the crown which are a symbol of wisdom and long life. In other versions he was reborn in some thirteen incarnations since the days of Fuxi; in his last incarnation as Laozi he lived to nine hundred and ninety years, and traveled to India to reveal the Dao. Some his biographies contains an account of not one, but three, men called Lao Tzu.