Lao Tzu and the "Tao Te Ching" Essay

784 Words Feb 8th, 2012 4 Pages
Lao Tzu and the “Tao Te Ching”

Laozi or Lao Tzu, was a mystical philosopher who lived in ancient China. Most scholars believe Lao Tzu was born around 600 B.C.E. However, some authorities have him being born about 500 B.C.E. and some, question if Lao Tzu was actually a person or just a mythical figure. Generally, the majority of scholars believe Lao Tzu to be an actual person being born about 600 B.C.E. in the state of Ch’u, now known as the Hunan Province in Southern China according to the Shinji. His surname was Li and his given name was Er. Not much is known about the early life of Lao Tzu nor about his life in general, though he is considered the founder of Taoism and the writer of the “Tao Te Ching” which the practices of
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This is symbolized in the Yin Yang symbol. Taoist ethics generally focus on compassion, moderation and humility which are known as the “Three Jewels” while Taoist thought focuses on nature and the relationship between the cosmos or universe and humanity. Harmony with the universe or with the source of life is the intended goal of the Taoist. This harmony then appears in life as health, vitality, longevity, peace and joy amongst others attributes.

Lao Tzu was not only a mystic, but a philosopher as well. He clearly emphasizes in the “Tao Te Ching” that the eternal way, in reality, cannot be fully described by words. The book is an outline about “the way” and “the way” is continually unfolding according to a universal order. Simply, words are finite and limited and can only describe aspects about reality. Therefore, the “Tao Te Ching” would be a book which details the truth about the truth or describes “the way,” but “the way” is something that must be lived and experienced. In essence, in the action of no action or sitting in silence with the absence of thought, comes thought from no thought. Finite words come from the infinite expanse of nothingness. Since finite words cannot fully describe all of infinite reality and language is an aspect and part of reality, the part cannot contain the whole. Hence, the “Tao Te Ching”…