Talk:Laozi

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Laozi page.


early comments 2005 - 2007[edit]

"ommision" I just reverted seems more fabulous than factual. Cite your sources. ~ Kalki 23:15, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)


I didn't want to add this, as I don't quite know how things work around here, but I've heard of a saying by laozi:

I have three treasures which I hold fast. The first is mercy.

Dessydes 03:05, 4 June 2006 (UTC)


The Chinese edition of this page on wikiquote doesn't seem to have an equivalent of this attributed quote: "A true traveler has no fixed plan, and is not intent on arriving.", according to what I was told by someone who reads Chinese.

Can someone from the Chinese version verify it and add its Chinese version, please. meta:user:alif01


Stephen Mitchell's version of the Tao Te Ching is an interpretation, not a translation. Mitchell doesn't actually speak Chinese.[1] --130.76.96.14 23:56, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Regarding the unsourced quotes:

  • "A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step." - This comes from chapter 64. It is more accurate to say "A journey of a thousand li begins from beneath your feet."
  • "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." - This is not part of the Tao Te Ching. It is misattributed to Laozi by people who didn't actually read the book.
  • "Governing a large country is like frying a small fish. You spoil it with too much poking." - The first sentence comes from chapter 60. The second sentence is not in the Tao Te Ching. It was added by Stephen Mitchell in his interpretation. --130.76.96.14 00:39, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Regarding Chapter 60, first sentence "Ruling a big country is like cooking a small fish.", the Wing-Tsit Chan translation/commentary (Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, 1969) adds as a footnote "Too much handling will spoil it". Chan does not source this footnote to a particular commentator (all of the commentary in this book is translated from classical sources) which indicates that he sees "too much handling will spoil it" as more a translation than a commentary, something which would have been intrinsically understood by the reader.71.105.94.247

Point taken but literally it means "Ruling a big country is like cooking a small fish" and only: while I admit it is intrinsically understandable, grammatically it isn't translation. --Aphaia 09:14, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Translations[edit]

I am impressed with a bunch of translation linked as "external links" ... we need to have all of them? Now it seems to me sort of link directories ... --Aphaia 05:39, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

In a just society, it is shameful to be poor. In a corrupt society, it is shameful to be rich.[edit]

I see this going around on the internet but cannot find any source. Did some more extensive searching and found (on wikiquote) that it was not even him:

“When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honor are things to be ashamed of.” — Confucius (551–479 BC), 'The Analects', Chapter VIII (邦有道貧且賤焉恥也,邦無道富且貴焉恥也。)

(Attila.lendvai (talk) 15:21, 5 March 2014 (UTC))

when your cup is full, stop pouring[edit]

Wayne Dyer attributes the quote: when your cup is full, stop pouring to Lao Tzu. Is this correct? Thanks, --Lbeaumont 02:03, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Dyer is referring to Chapter 9:
Rather than fill it to the brim by keeping it upright

Better to have stopped in time;

Hammer it to a point,

And the sharpness cannot be preserved for ever;

There may be gold and jade to fill a hall

But there is none who can keep them.

To be overbearing when one has wealth and position

Is to bring calamity upon oneself.

To retire when the task is accomplished

Is the way of heaven.

--130.76.96.23 21:06, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

Unsourced[edit]

Note that many of the pictographic declarations in Tao Te Ching are interpreted, translated and paraphrased in many ways, and thus variants abound.
  • Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage.
  • He who obtains has little; he who scatters has much.
  • The true free living human-being is the one that achieves his dream without depending on someone.
  • To lead people walk behind them.
  • To see things in the seed, that is genius.
  • When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.
  • When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
  • New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.
    • This is being widely circulated in picture form, attributed to Lao Tzu, but I can't find source details. Greenman (talk) 11:33, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
  • “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
    • This is being attributed to Lao Tzu on social media sites. I believe that it's misattributed, but can't confirm that it's not from the Stephen Mitchell interpretation. Cobalt137cc (talk) 12:49, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Quotes about Laozi (unsourced)[edit]

  • I know how birds can fly, fishes swim, and animals run. The runner may be snared, the swimmer hooked, and the flyer shot by the arrow. But there is the dragon: I cannot tell how he mounts on the wind through the clouds, and rises to heaven. Today I have seen Lao-tzu, and can only compare him to the dragon.
  • I recall this was attributed to Confucius within an simplified version of the Zhuangzi - which I didn't perceive as an overly Confucius-friendly document. I look thru the full text (http://ctext.org/zhuangzi), but I don't see proper reference. perhaps parts of The Revolution of Heaven. Found references that it's from text translation (of what?) by James Legge.

Stephen Mitchell version[edit]

Please note that Stephen Mitchell's version, while a pleasure to read, is not a translation of Laozi. It is an interpretation that strays from the original work. Translations of the Daodejing vary in their quality. The Ivanhoe translation is said to be a good one. --130.76.96.23 20:50, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

"Water your dreams" quote[edit]

Anyone able to find a source for this quote, widely attributed to Laozi?

Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.

I'll see what I can dig up. JesseW (talk) 15:42, 25 April 2014 (UTC)