A Tao Te Ching Summary: The 6 Powerful Lessons From Lao Tzu

Welcome to this Tao Te Ching summary with a difference. Instead of looking at every one of the verses individually we will take the 6 most valuable ideas from the Tao Te Ching and look at it from the perspective of the practical life lesson that you can actually use in your everyday life.

There are many accepted accounts of LaoTze’s life and it is considered he lived between c. 604-c.531 BCE. However it is difficult to separate some of the myths from the facts, even as to which century he lived in.

Legend has it that he was created while his mother watched a falling star and he stayed in the womb and grew for sixty-two years. His mother gave birth to him as she rested against a plum tree.

He surfaced a grown man with a gray beard and long earlobes. These are said to be a sign of long life and wisdom.

Many popular biographies say he worked as the custodian of the records for the royal court of Chou in the Zhou Dynasty. He was a philosopher, recognized for writing of the Tao-Te-Ching and the originator of Taoism.

Lao Tzu was not his actual name but more exactly an honorary title he was given by his followers. It means Old Master.

What Is The Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching, a book of wisdom, which has been translated more than any book in the world, excluding the Bible. He believed that our lives are continually influenced by outer forces in the same way everything else in the universe is.

He believed that simplicity was key to freedom and all truth. He encouraged those who followed him to study and understand the laws of nature.

The central principle around Lao Tzu’s writing is that all life is part of an inseparable whole, which arises from a mysterious unexplainable source, the Tao itself. There have been many western translations that compare this to the idea of the Universal Mind or God.

Taoism is structured around several key beliefs and, like any philosophical viewpoint, presents a way of perceiving reality.

The Tao Te Ching meaning translates as The Way, or The Path.

The fact that Taoism is open ended and unique has allowed it to flourish, mainly unchanged and undisturbed for over two thousand years and the writings of Lao Tzu present us with an ancient wisdom for our world today.

The way we see our world, our values, the way we make assessments, the way we behave and interact with life. It demonstrates that the way we perceive our reality influences our path of action, our way of being in the world.

Using the Tao Te Ching to Improve Every Area of Your Life

Taoism is becoming more popular today for a number of reasons. Our lives are ever more complex and stressful, as we have to deal with escalating crises on personal, local and worldwide levels.

It is only natural that we should seek answers that will re-establish balance, harmony, and satisfaction in our lives.

Lao Tzu teaches us that many of the complications in life are of our own making because we choose to make them that way.

Ambition, fame, desire and selfishness are seen as obstacles to living a life of harmony and that it is only when we rid ourselves of such desires can the Tao can be achieved.

Lao Tzu knew what it was like to be a human and uses paradox and irony in order to get us to take a look at life and see that forcefulness is inappropriate, asking us to see the value in humility and non-action.

This course aims to take six of Lao Tzu’s most valuable lessons and to explore their relevance in our lives today.

These will include:

1.The Lesson of God

The lesson of God teaches us to live life for the real, permanent, eternal and everlasting and that this is not outside of us. To seek and find, give and receive, ask and it will be given and know that we are all interconnected with all of Creation.

2.The Lesson of Silence

In order to understand the Tao you need to have a still mind. This means being able to focus it on one thing. From here you are able to meditate with a perfectly still mind and be totally open to receive the wisdom of your creator or Higher Self.

3.The Lesson of Simplicity

This does not mean having a rigid set of rules, but challenges us to live consciously and intentionally. It is not always easy but in the end deeply satisfying. Simplicity is when we dispense with the idea that we have to amass wealth and accomplishments. Living simply tends to involve wanting less, working less and spending less. When we are peaceful, content and fulfilled we savour every experience.

4.The Lesson of Acceptance

Some people mix up acceptance with indifference but these are worlds apart.  Indifference fails to tell between what can and cannot be helped; acceptance makes the distinction. Indifference paralyses the will-to-action; acceptance frees it by alleviating it of unbearable burdens.

5.The Lesson of Detachment

Our most common attachments are attachment to stuff, to other people, to the past, to our form, to ideas and being right, to money and to winning. When we realize that all things change, then there is nothing for us to try and hold on to and if we are not afraid of dying, then there is nothing that we cannot achieve.

6.The Lesson of Giving

Lao Tzu advises being content with what we have and to rejoice in the way things are. He said that when we realize that there is nothing lacking in our lives, then the whole world belongs to us. If we would take, we must first give, this is the start of intelligence. He, who attains, has little. He, who shares, has much.

This will then be taken to the next step with practical applications for you to use in your daily life.


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With a passion for spirituality, self discovery, and understanding this life, Neod spends his time musing about what is, what could be and what might come about. After writing for 20 years he's still growing, learning, exploring and sharing with love, joy and compassion.

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