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The Tao Te Ching (pronounced Dow De Jing) was written by Lao Tzu around 600 BCE
The Tao is an ancient philosophy rather than a religion - it is a way of life.
Lao Tzu developed the concept of "Tao", often translated as "the Way"
He also highlighted the concept of wei-wu-wei, or "action through inaction".
Lao Tzu believed that violence should be avoided whenever possible, and that military victory was an occasion to mourn the necessity of using force against another living thing, rather than an occasion for triumphant celebrations.
The Tao is about living in the world as it is, going with the flow and being in tune with the way of nature. Taoism advocates a simple, honest life and noninterference with the course of natural events.
Describing the Tao is not easy. It is often paradoxical. Lao Tzu himself says;
"The Tao that can be talked about is not the real Tao” and
“He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know."
From "Tao Te Ching - Lao Tsu" 25th Anniversary Edition
translated by Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English (ISBN 0679776192)
Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self needs strength.
He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of will power.
He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not perish is to be eternally present.
Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk do not know.
Keep your mouth closed.
Guard your senses.
Temper your sharpness.
Simplify your problems.
Mask your brightness.
Be at one with the dust of the earth.
This is primal union.
He who has achieved this state
Is unconcerned with friends and enemies,
With good and harm, with honour and disgrace.
This therefore is the highest state of man.
In caring for others and serving heaven,
There is nothing like using restraint.
Restraint begins with giving up one's own ideas.
This depends on Virtue gathered in the past.
If there is a good store of Virtue, then nothing is impossible.
If nothing is impossible, then there are no limits.
If a man knows no limits, then he is fit to be a ruler.
The mother principle of ruling holds good for a long time.
This is called having deep roots and a firm foundation.
The Tao of long life and eternal vision.
See also Yin & Yang