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Lao Tzu: Wen Tzu

Lao Tzu: Wen Tzu

Photo: A mendicant Daoist priest, China c.1900.


Lao Tzu said:

Those who practiced the Way in ancient times ordered their feelings and nature and governed their mental functions, nurturing them with harmony and keeping them in proportion. Enjoying the Way, they forgot about lowliness; secure in Virtue, they forgot about poverty.

There was that by nature they did not want, and since they had no desire for it they did not get it. There was that which their hearts did not enjoy, and since they did not enjoy it they did not do it.

Whatever had no benefit to essential nature they did not allow to drag their virtue down; whatever had no advantage for life they did not allow to disturb harmony. They did not let themselves act or think arbitrarily, so their measures could be regarded as models for the whole world.

They ate according to the size of their bellies, dressed to fit their bodies, lived in enough room to accommodate them, acted in accord with their true condition.

(Lao Tzu; Wen Tzu)


Source and Recommended reading:

'The Taoist Classics, Volume 1: The Collected Translations of Thomas Cleary'
By Thomas Cleary (Author)

Purchase Book:



This collection of translated texts includes:

Tao Te Ching: Cleary's original translations of the great classic of Taoism, accompanied by his commentary illuminating the text and its context.

Chuang-tzu: The "Inner Teachings" of a widely influential compendium of wisdom stories, fables, and anecdotes.

Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries: Another core text of Chinese Taoism, containing teachings also attributed to the author of the Tao Te Ching.

The Book of Leadership and Strategy: Lessons of the Chinese Masters: One of the great Chinese teachings on the subtle arts of management and leadership at all levels.

Sex, Health, and Long Life: Manuals of Taoist Practice: The techniques contained in these five texts reveal the transformative influence sex can have when wisely practiced.
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