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Lao Tzu the founder of Taoism ... PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 09 October 2008 13:17

Introducing Lao Tzu the Founder of Taoism ...

We speak about Jesus, about Confucius and Mencius and today we will speak about Lao Tsu, the founder of Taoism.

Lao Tzu, also known as Laozi, Lao Tsu, Lao Tse, Lao Zi, Laotze or a number of other ways, is said to have lived in the sixth century BC according to Chinese tradition. However, recent scholars believe this is incorrect place the life of Lao Tzu in the fourth century BC.

Although little is known about the life of Lao Tzu, his cultural significance is important to the lives of generations of Chinese. According to Chinese tradition, Lao Tzu was born in Ku Prefecture of the Chŭ state, which today is named Lù yì County of the Henan province during the Spring and Autumn Period, roughly between 722 BC and 481 BC. Some legends state he was born with white hair, having spent more than eighty years in his mother's womb, giving him his title Laozi, which means "the old master".

According to tradition, and biography which includes Sima Quian's works, Lao Tzu was an elder contemporary of Confucius and worked as an archivist in the Imperial Library of the Zhou Dynasty. Confucius met Lao Tzu near modern Luoyang where he was going to study library scrolls. Over the next few months, the two discussed ritual and properiety, the cornerstones of Confucianism - Laozi strongly opposed Confucius's ideals.

Laozi, now eighty, quit his work and headed west on a water buffalo through the state of Qin, which is now Tibet, and disappeared into a vast desert. However, before his enter into the desert, Yin Xi (Yin Hsi), a guard at the western-most gate, Hank Pass, of the Great Wall convinced Lao Tzu to write down his wisdom. Laozi's response to the soldier was Dao De Jing, also spelled Tao Te Ching, which means "The Law of Virtue and Its Way".

He introduce the Wu wei (traditional Chinese: 無為; simplified Chinese: 无为; pinyin: wúwéi) is an important tenet of Taoism that involves knowing when to act and when not to act.

Traditional accounts state that Laozi grew weary of the moral decay of city life and noted the kingdom's decline. According to these legends, he ventured west to live as a hermit in the unsettled frontier at the age of 160. At the western gate of the city, or kingdom, he was recognized by a guard. The sentry asked the old master to produce a record of his wisdom. This is the legendary origin of the Daodejing. In some versions of the tale, the sentry is so touched by the work that he leaves with Laozi to never be seen again. Some legends elaborate further that the "Old Master" was the teacher of the Buddha, or the Buddha himself

 

Laozi, now eighty, quit his work and headed west on a water buffalo through the state of Qin, which is now Tibet, and disappeared into a vast desert. However, before his enter into the desert, Yin Xi (Yin Hsi), a guard at the western-most gate, Hank Pass, of the Great Wall convinced Lao Tzu to write down his wisdom. Laozi's response to the soldier was Dao De Jing, also spelled Tao Te Ching, which means "The Law of Virtue and Its Way".

Lao Tzu's work, Tao Te Ching, was a testament to his rationalism and beliefs. The work later led to the creation of both the philosophical Taoism and religious taoism, with the help of Chuang Tzu, which is most associated with harmony and leading a simple life. Taoism is best known for its tiajitu (commonly misnamed as Yin and Yang) and the bagua.

Famous Quotes are:

 

  • Seek not happiness too greedily, and be not fearful of happiness.
  • A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
  • People are difficult to govern because they have too much knowledge.
  • Arms are instruments of ill omen.... When one is compelled to use them, it is best to do so without relish. There is no glory in victory, and to glorify it despite this is to exult in the killing of men.... When great numbers of people are killed, one should weep over them with sorrow. When victorious in war, one should observe mourning rites.

For a complete list of works you can visit:

The Tao Teh King, or the Tao and its Characteristics by Laozi

 

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Last Updated on Thursday, 09 October 2008 17:29