When everyone recognizes beauty as beautiful, then there is ugliness. When everyone recognizes goodness as good, then there is evil. Thus being and non-being arise mutually. Easy and difficult are mutually implied. Short and long are mutually contrasted. High and low are mutually posited.
Lao Tzu, also referred to as Laozi, was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer. He is known as the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching, the founder of philosophical Taoism, and a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions.
A semi-legendary figure, Laozi was usually portrayed as a 6th-century BC contemporary of Confucius, but some modern historians consider him to have lived during the Warring States period of the 4th century BC. A central figure in Chinese culture, Laozi is claimed by both the emperors of the Tang dynasty and modern people of the Li surname as a founder of their lineage. Laozi’s work has been embraced by both various anti-authoritarian movements and Chinese Legalism.
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Written more than two thousand years ago, the Tao Te Ching is one of the true classics of spiritual literature. It is a guide to cultivating a life of peace, serenity, and compassion. Through aphorisms and parable, it leads readers toward the Tao, or the “Way”: harmony with the life force of the universe. (This version was translated/interpreted by Stephen Mitchell in 1988.)