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best of Lao Tzu — an intro to Daoism

best of Lao Tzu — an intro to Daoism
Photo by Krisztian Tabori / Unsplash

The Dao De Ching is so compact.

IMO it takes what I've learned from years of reading and practicing Buddhism and puts it into <80 pages.

It's electric to read. Read Stephen Mitchell's translation. His translations actually makes sense.

And here are my favorite verses from the book:

Realize you have enough

If you realize you have enough,
you are truly rich.

Forget work

When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.


Express yourself completely. Then keep quiet.

Don't overesteem anyone

If you overesteem great men,
people become powerless.

Don't compare

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don't compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.

Don't see things as good or bad

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.

When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Let go of money and security

Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.

Let go of people's approval

Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Success is as dangerous as failure

What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

Fear is an illusion

There is no greater illusion than fear,
no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself,
no greater misfortune than having an enemy.

Whoever can see through all fear
will always be safe.


Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

No-think 2

Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?

Weaken your ambition

The Master leads
by emptying people's minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.
weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve

Make use of solitude

Ordinary men hate solitude.
But the Master makes use of it,
embracing his aloneness, realizing
he is one with the whole universe.

Wait until the right action arises

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?
The Master gives himself up
to whatever the moment brings...

He doesn't think about his actions;
they flow from the core of his being.

Define yourself is closing yourself off

He who defines himself
can't know who he really is.

Knowledge ain't it

In the pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.

The hustle ain't it

The Master does nothing,
yet he leaves nothing undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things,
yet many more are left to be done.

Important note

The tao that can be told, is not the eternal Tao.