I appreciate very deeply what Arthur Hummel, former Library of Congress Director, had to say about the Daodejing.
He wrote that:
The Daoedejing was written in the morning of the human race, and still bears the freshness of the morning upon it. It exhibits a rush of lanugage, a boldness and exuberance of expresion for which paradox is the only adequate form....For the Daoists, Reality was beyond measurement, but not beyond apprehension by a mind that is still. The book's greatest gift, in my view, is its mind-stretching quality; it challenges us at every turn to expand our view of life's possibilities.
From the Foreword to Lao Tsu/Tao Teh Ching (St. John's University Press, 1961)
Some useful quotes:
“The Dao that can be the Dao, is not the eternal Dao.
The Name that is the Name, is not the eternal Name.”
“30 spokes share a common hub,
observe the emptiness, then there is a useful cart.”
“The five colors blinds the eyes.
The five tones deafen the ears.
The five tastes injure the palate.”
“Know the masculine,
But keep to the feminine.”
“Those who know others is wise.
Those who know the self is enlightened.”
道生一, 一生二, 二生三, 三生万物。
“The Dao gives birth to one,
The one gives birth to two,
The two gives birth to three,
The three gives birth to the myriad of creatures.”
“Those who know don’t talk.
Those who talk don’t know.”
“To know that one does not know is best.
Not to know that one does not know is an illness.”
“Nothing under heaven is softer and weaker than water.
But against the solid and strong nothing is stronger.”
“Beautiful words are not true,
True words are not beautiful.”
“The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.”
- Lao Tzu Tao Te King, Chapter 1
“Can you focus your breath
as supple as a newborn child?
Can you cleanse your vision
till there is no blemish?”
Tao Te Ching quotes – Verse 10
We mold clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes the vessel useful.
— Laozi Tao Te Ching 11
The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavors stale the palate.
The chase for preys deranges the mind,
too much treasure impedes one’s growth.
The Master acts on what he feels not what he sees,
so allows things to come and go.
– Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching quotes, Verse 12
“Be totally empty,
embrace the tranquility of peace.
Watch the workings of all creation,
observe how endings become beginnings.”
All creatures in the universe
return to the point where they began.
Returning to the source is tranquility
meaning submitting to what is and what is to be.”
Tao Te Ching quotes, Verse 16
“Knowing the constant, we accept things as they are.
By accepting things as they are, we are impartial.
By being impartial, we are part of the Nature.
By being a part of the Nature, we are one with Tao.
Tao is eternal, and we survive physical death.”
Tao Te Ching quotes, Verse 16
“The best leaders are those their people hardly know exist.
The next best is a leader who is loved and praised.
Next comes the one who is feared.
The worst one is the leader that is despised …
The best leaders value their words, and use them sparingly.
When they have accomplished their task,
the people say, “Amazing!
We did it, all by ourselves!”
Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching quotes (17)
Tao is great.
Heaven is great.
Earth is great.
Humanity is great.
Within the universe, these are the four great things.
Humanity follows the earth.
Earth follows Heaven.
Heaven follows the Tao.
The Tao follows the Nature.
– Tao Te Ching quotes, Verse 25
“The heavy is the root of the light.
The still is the master of impatience.
The Master therefore does not leave the gravity,
Despite the opulence, he is light and free.”
- Tao Te Ching quotes, Chapter 26
“He who knows others is clever;
he who knows himself is wise.
He who masters others is strong;
he who masters himself is powerful.”
– Tao Te Ching quotes, Verse 33
“Tao engenders One;
One engenders Two;
Two engenders Three;
Three engenders all things.
All things carry the yin (femininity)
while embrace the yang (masculinity).
Neutralising energy brings them into harmony.”
– Tao Te Ching quotes, Verse 42
“There is no greater misfortune
than not knowing what is enough.
There is no greater flaw
than wanting more and more.
Whoever knows contentment
is blissful at all times.”
Tao Te Ching quotes, Verse 46
Without going out the door,
Know the world.
Without looking out the window,
See the Way of Heaven.
Tao Te Ching, Verse 47
“Mastery of the world is achieved
by letting things take their natural course.
If you interfere with the way of Nature,
you can never master the world.”
Tao Te Ching quotes, Verse 48
“Disaster, has its roots in happiness,
and happiness, lurks in disaster.
Who knows when this cycle will end?”
– Tao Te Ching quotes Verse 58