It was a historic event described as the meeting of two giants. Lao Tzu had been a kind, warm, and often humorous, old gentleman, treating him as his own son. There had always been a full answer whatever Confucius's question was.

When Confucius was on his way home with the capital in the distance, a few men were hunting on horse back. A duck fell from the sky at the release of the bowstring. It suddenly dawned on Confucius who recited slowly,

"Birds can fly but will fall at the hunter's arrow. Fish can swim but will be hooked by the fisherman. Beasts can run but will drop into people's nets and traps. There is only one thing that is out of man's reach. That's the legendary dragon. A dragon can fly into the sky, ride on clouds, dive into the ocean. A dragon is powerful yet so intangible to us. Today I have seen Lao Tzu, and Lao Tzu is a dragon."

runaway train

"There is no material that exists for the production of Name and Form; and when Name and Form cease, they do no go anywhere in space. After Name and Form have ceased, they do not exist anywhere in the shape of heaped-up music material. Thus when a lute is played upon, there is no previous store of sound; and when the music ceases it does not go anywhere in space. When it has ceased, it exists nowhere in a stored-up state. Having previously been non-existent, it came into existence on account of the structure and stem of the lute and the exertions of the performer; and as it came into existence so it passes away. In exactly the same way, all the elements of being, both corporeal and non-corporeal come into existence after having previously been non-existent; and having come into existence pass away."


"Some people are very hard to deal with. If you are friendly with them, they get out of hand, and if you keep your distance, they resent it."

"If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself."

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

"The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools."

"To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it."

"It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get."

"Look at the means which a man employs, consider his motives, observe his pleasures. A man simply cannot conceal himself."

"Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change."

"The man who in view of gain thinks of righteousness; who in the view of danger is prepared to give up his life; and who does not forget an old agreement however far back it extends - such a man may be reckoned a complete man."

"In all things success depends on previous preparation, and without such previous preparation there is sure to be failure."

"The cautious seldom err."

"Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself."

"On a journey of revenge,
dig two graves."

Lao Tzu

"Better to stop short than fill to the brim. Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow."

"He has not experienced the union of man and woman, but is whole. His manhood is strong. He screams all day without becoming hoarse. This is perfect harmony. Knowing harmony is constancy. Knowing constancy is enlightenment."

"Can you be without cleverness? Opening and closing the gates of heaven, Can you play the role of woman?"

"Accept disgrace willingly. Accept misfortune as the human condition. Accept being unimportant. Do not be concerned with loss or gain. Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things. Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things."

"Who can wait quietly while the mud settles? Who can remain still until the moment of action? Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment. Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change."

"The way of nature is unchanging. Knowing constancy is insight. Not knowing constancy leads to disaster."

"A foolish man tries to be good, And is therefore not good. A truly good man does nothing, Yet leaves nothing undone."

"There is no greater sin than desire, No greater curse than discontent, No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself. Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough."

"The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering. In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired. In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped."

"Keep your mouth shut, Guard the senses, And life is ever full. Open your mouth, Always be busy, And life is beyond hope."

"A man without Virtue requires others to fulfill their obligations. The Tao of heaven is impartial. It stays with good men all the time."