Tao Te Ching

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Tao Te Ching Mean?

Tao Te Ching” is a collection of philosophical verses written sometime between the eighth and third centuries B.C.E. The writing has typically been attributed to the Chinese prophet and purported founder of Taoism, Lao-tzu, but historians do not all agree on the authorship.

The “Tao Te Ching” is to Taoism what the Bhagavad Gita is to yogic philosophy.


Yogapedia Explains Tao Te Ching

“Tao Te Ching,” which contains 81 short verses, has been translated as “The Book of the Way of Virtue,” “Living and Applying the Great Way” and “The Classic of the Way and Virtue,” among others. The word, tao (or dao), means “way.”

It’s not just the translation of the title that has proven difficult. The book itself was written in ancient Chinese, so there are a multitude of different translations and interpretations. The subject matter may be described as practical wisdom to political counsel.

Some examples from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s “Living the Wisdom of the Tao” that encompass the teachings of Taoism are:

  • “The highest virtue is to act without a sense of self. The highest kindness is to give without condition.”
  • “A contented man is never disappointed.”
  • “A truly good man is not aware of his goodness and is therefore good. A foolish man tries to be good and is therefore not good.”
  • “When taxes are too high, people go hungry. When the government is too intrusive, people lose their spirit. Act for the people’s benefit; trust them, leave them alone.”

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