Lao Tseu citations

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Lao Tseu

Date de naissance: 604 av. J.-C.

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Lao Tseu ou Laozi ou Lao Zi , plus communément appelé en Chine Tàishàng lǎojūn , de son vrai nom Li Er , aurait été un sage chinois et, selon la tradition, un contemporain de Confucius . Il est considéré a posteriori comme le père fondateur du taoïsme. Il serait né dans le pays de Chu du royaume des Zhou et serait parti pour une retraite spirituelle vers l’ouest de la Chine actuelle avec une destination inconnue. Les informations historiques le concernant sont rares et incertaines et sa biographie se développe à partir de la dynastie Han, essentiellement à partir d’éléments surnaturels et religieux ; quelques chercheurs sceptiques estiment depuis la fin du XXe siècle qu'il s’agit d’un personnage fictif ou composite, et non proprement historique,.

Le Tao Tö King que la tradition lui attribue est un texte majeur du taoïsme, considéré comme important par d'autres courants également. Lao Tseu est considéré par les taoïstes comme un dieu et comme leur ancêtre commun.

Il est représenté comme un vieillard à la barbe blanche, parfois monté sur un buffle.

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Citations Lao Tseu

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„With the best leaders when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say, "We have done this ourselves."“

—  Laozi
Context: "Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. With the best leaders when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say, "We have done this ourselves." Only the final bold section is connected to Laozi (see Ch. 17 of Tao Te Ching above). The origin of the added first section is unclear.

„The mark of a moderate man
is freedom from his own ideas.“

—  Laozi
Context: The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas. Tolerant like the sky, all-pervading like sunlight, firm like a mountain, supple like a tree in the wind, he has no destination in view and makes use of anything life happens to bring his way. Ch. 59 as interpreted by Stephen Mitchell (1992)

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„The Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao; The name that can be defined is not the unchanging name.“

—  Laozi
Context: The Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao; The name that can be defined is not the unchanging name. Non-existence is called the antecedent of heaven and earth; Existence is the mother of all things. From eternal non-existence, therefore, we serenely observe the mysterious beginning of the Universe; From eternal existence we clearly see the apparent distinctions. These two are the same in source and become different when manifested. This sameness is called profundity. Infinite profundity is the gate whence comes the beginning of all parts of the Universe. Ch. 1, as translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao (1904) Also as Tao called Tao is not Tao.

„The more you use it, the more it produces;
the more you talk of it, the less you understand.“

—  Laozi
Context: The Tao is like a bellows: it is empty yet infinitely capable. The more you use it, the more it produces; the more you talk of it, the less you understand. Ch. 5, as interpreted by Stephen Mitchell (1992)

„Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, take it and practice it earnestly.“

—  Laozi
Context: Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, take it and practice it earnestly. Scholars of the middle class, when they hear of it, take it half earnestly. Scholars of the lowest class, when they hear of it, laugh at it. Without the laughter, there would be no Tao. Ch. 41

„It is hidden but always present.“

—  Laozi
Context: The Tao is like a well: used but never used up. It is like the eternal void: filled with infinite possibilities. It is hidden but always present. I don't know who gave birth to it. It is older than God. Ch. 4, as interpreted by Stephen Mitchell (1992)

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