Laozi

Laozi a Chinese man originating from Henan, Zhoukou, Lüyi. He was a Chinese philosopher who lived around the years 604 BC to 507 BC. He is said to be one of the founders of Taoism. Taoism, Daoism or written as Taoism is a Chinese philosophical and religious movement. Taoism is about how to act in life. Laozi, Confucius, Gautama Buddha are the three holy persons, San Sheng or 三聖, of Taoism. They lived around the same time, in the 6th to 4th century BC.

According to the Chinese historian Sima Qian, about 100 BC, the true name of Laozi was ‘Li Er’. Lao Zi’s family name was then Li 李 and his given name was Er 耳. He came to this claim after researching a family tree of a Li family from Shandong that reduced its origins to Lao Zi. This claim can not be proved historically, but the name Li is thus interwoven with the form Lao Zi, that the later Tang Dynasty, who also had Li as his family name, regarded Lao Zi as their ancestor. The name Lao Zi is a composition of ‘Lao’, old and ‘Zi’, master and thus, in fact, means Old Master. He is also known as Lao Dan. The Laozi refers to the book attributed to Lao Zi, the Tao Te Ching or Dao De Jing.

Lao Zi was aware of the contradictions in things that always return in an eternal transformation process. Once the good or the beauty is assumed, the bad and the ugliness is already present. Any action that focuses on good or beauty is therefore counterproductive in advance. The highest good is therefore as water, which fills all spaces without making any distinction. Changes do not take place in a progressive way but in a constant cycle. According to Lao Zi, striving is therefore pointless in advance. A Wise One would “have to act without striving for something”, the principle of Wu Wei. Although it is now assumed that Lao Zi himself has not put any writings on paper, besides the Tao Te Ching / Daodejing a number of works are attributed to him, such as Wenzi and Hua Hu Jing. In any case, these works contain at least a number of statements that can be made by Lao Zi. In religious Daoism, there are quite a number of writings that are given to Lao Zi as “Taishang Laojun”. Two of these are the Qing Jing Jing and the Nei Riyong Jing

The greatest leaders are those who people barely know he exists when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: “we did it ourselves”.

May we meet again!

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