Lao Tzu – Founder of Taoism

Laozi is one of the three saints of the East in the eyes of Westerners. His thoughts have long broken through national boundaries and become the common spiritual wealth of all mankind.

Lao Tzu, whose surname is Li and whose name is er, was born in the spring and Autumn period (now Henan Province). He was regarded as the ancestor of Li by the emperor of the Tang Dynasty and one of the world’s 100 historical and cultural celebrities. Ancient Chinese thinker, philosopher, writer and historian, founder and representative of Taoist school. Laozi’s thought has a profound impact on the development of Chinese philosophy. The Tao Te Ching is one of the most widely published works in the world.

Main works

Lao Tzu’s achievements are mainly reflected in the book Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu, also known as the Tao Te Ching, and the book of changes and the Analects of Confucius are considered to be the three great works of thought that have the most profound impact on the Chinese people.
“Tao Te Ching” was the later title. At first, this book was called “Lao Tzu” but not “Tao Te Ching”. The date of its completion was controversial in the past, but it is still uncertain, probably in the middle and early Warring States period.
His thoughts are broad and profound, which are discussed from the following five aspects: the separation of Taoism from nature, inaction, complementarity, the art of kings and the idea of health preservation.

Taoism follows nature

The main content of Laozi’s thought is “Tao”, and the word “Tao” appears many times in Laozi.
Tao is an initial state of chaos, which is not divided. It is the beginning of heaven and earth, the mother of all things, and the source of all things;
Tao is nameless. It does nothing but does nothing. Like water, it is good for all things and does not compete with them. It is the highest good;
Tao is unspeakable, and human senses cannot directly perceive it. They cannot see it, hear it, or hold it.
Tao is not only the noumenon of the universe, but also the rule of everything and the rule of life.
Lao Tzu opened an extremely lofty and imaginative ideological space with the “four major” of Tao, heaven, earth and man.
Tao comes out of the metaphysics and runs through the metaphysics.
And in the process of penetration, there is no room for such willful and purposeful creators as heaven and emperor to intervene. Natural inaction is the main theme of Laozi.
Two thousand and five hundred years ago, the Tao of Laozi was a great invention based on fundamentally transforming the original Tao theory.

Dialectical Thought

Laozi believed that everything in the world exists by comparison.
Beauty and ugliness, good and evil, existence, difficulty and length all depend on each other. Only when there is one can there be another, only when there is right can there be wrong, and only when there is good can there be evil.
On the surface, the two aspects of positive and negative are opposite to each other, but in fact, they contain and permeate each other.
Everything has me in you and you in me. Nothing is immutable.
When things develop to a certain extent, they will inevitably transform into the opposite. At the same time, the development of things and the transformation of things to the opposite are not realized at once, and they need to undergo a process of continuous accumulation in quantity.

Social politics

Laozi believes that the nature of Tao is natural inaction, which is the fundamental law governing all things in the universe and the basic code of conduct that human beings should abide by.
Proceeding from the principle of inaction, Lao Tzu opposed people’s action, because action destroyed people’s primitive natural simplicity, caused personality division, and brought hypocrisy, cunning, greed, crime and other social evils.
There is a way in the world, and everything will come naturally. I don’t deliberately advertise benevolence and righteousness, but I have my own. When people flaunt benevolence and righteousness, it means that benevolence and righteousness no longer exist.
I believe that the most perfect personality should have the same mentality and behavior as water, go to places that others are unwilling to go, do things that others are unwilling to do, bear heavy burdens with perseverance, and be humble and patient.

Aesthetic thought

The core of Laozi’s thought is Tao, and the nature of Tao is nature. Out of his respect for nature, Laozi also highly praises simplicity and naivety,
As a form of beauty, simplicity and childishness have always been praised by people in ancient China. The gaudy and frivolous opposite has always been despised by people. This tendency is influenced by Laozi’s thought.
In addition to being simple and unsophisticated, Lao Tzu also highly praised the beauty of being simple and plain, which is also respected by many people,
The ancient Chinese aesthetic theory was greatly influenced by Laozi’s thought.

Contribution impact

As early as the 18th century, some western countries had many versions of Lao Tzu. According to UNESCO statistics, Lao Tzu is the most widely published book in the world except the Bible. There are more than 300 editions in Japan alone. By the 1940s and 1950s, there were more than 60 translations of the Tao Te Ching in Europe. The German philosopher Hegel, Nietzsche, the Russian writer Tolstoy and other world-famous scholars had conducted in-depth research on the Tao Te Ching, and all of them had published monographs or monographs.

Laozi is one of the three saints of the East in the eyes of Westerners. The New York Times of the United States once listed Lao Tzu as the top ten writers in the world. There are statues of the world’s top ten thinkers in the British Library Square in London, of which Lao Tzu is one.
Laozi’s thought has long broken through national boundaries and become the common spiritual wealth of all mankind.

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