Tao Te Ching

The Book Of The Way

By Lao Tzu

Ancient universal teachings
Published: April 7, 2022 Reading Time: 5 minutes

Overview

Written or compiled—its authorship is still debated, it might have been written by Lao Tzu, or it might have been compiled by other scholars from Lao Tzu’s teachings—around 400 BC, “The Book of The Way” is one of the most important texts that the ancient have left us. Its lessons are universal and still relevant. It’s a short book that we should all read at least once and perhaps keep it on your nightstand, close to your other religious and spiritual books.

Across its 81 shorts sections (not more than a page long each) and written mostly in aphorisms, one finds rules for power, health, ordinary life, and spirituality.

This is a book to read and re-read, and re-read.

Notes & Highlights

Opposites (on teaching detachment)

Restraint

Humility

Immateriality Paradox

Avoid extremes

Ancient Masters

Invisible Leaders

Hypocrisy

Common People

Peace

The Mother of All

Hidden values

Know yourself

Power

Persuasion

True Freedom

Explore Within

Invulnerable

A model for others

Become Childlike

Embrace Mystery

Good Government

Fearless

Small beginnings

Attend to the end

Bring out the best

Know your weakness

Not Knowing

Courage and Caution

Oppression

Stay flexible

True Words


  1. See Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind, Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice Mastery ↩︎

  2. This reminds me of the colloquial saying that “the best part of the donut is its center (the empty hole)” ↩︎

  3. Similar to how the best technology is the one that is invisible, so great leaders remove themselves completely and go unnoticed but everybody knows they are pulling the strings and making things happen. ↩︎

  4. See Explore vs. Exploit ↩︎

  5. See Change is the only constant ↩︎

  6. Venezuela is a cautionary tale of exactly this. Some politicians boast that our Constitution has the most laws, is the most complete. But it is so complex and long that nobody manages to enforce any law. Chaos ensues. ↩︎

  7. See Awareness ↩︎

  8. Remember the US Prohibition. Prohibiting something causes one to want exactly that which is prohibited. ↩︎