Laozi quotes: Inspiration for your Taijiquan practice

Lǎozi (老子) was a Chinese philosopher who lived around the 5th century BC. You might also know him as Lao Tzu or Lao Tse. He is traditionally regarded as the author of the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching)*. The Daodejing is the fundamental text for both philosophical and religious Daoism (Taoism).

In case you didn’t know yet, Taijiquan and Daoism are linked, too. I won’t go into detail on that now, I just invite you to dive into more than 40 Laozi quotes! I think they are great for inspiration in your Taijiquan practice. Actually not only there, but the Daoist quotes can be food for thought for your life in general!

Laozi Quotes

Laozi quote: water

In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it. (Laozi)

Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness. (Laozi)

I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. (Laozi)

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. (Laozi)

Stop trying to leave
And you will arrive.
Stop seeking
And you will see.
Stop running away
And you will be found.


Nature does not hurry,
Yet everything is accomplished.


Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them. That only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. (Laozi)

Those who know don’t talk.
Those who talk don’t know.


There are many paths to enlightenment. Be sure to take the one with a heart. (Laozi)

If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. (Laozi)

A tree that is unbending is easily broken. (Laozi)

A good traveler has no fixed plans. (Laozi)

Watch your thoughts,
They become words.
Watch your words,
They become actions.
Watch your actions,
They become habits.
Watch your habits,
They become character.
Watch your character,
It becomes your destiny.


Silence is a source of great strength. (Laozi)

He who stands on tiptoe doesn’t stand firm.
He who rushes ahead doesn’t go far.
He who tries to shine dimes his own light.
He who defines himself can’t know who he really is.
He who has power over others can’t empower himself.
He who clings to his work will create nothing that endures.
If you want to accord with the Tao,
Just do your job, then let go.


The best fighter is never angry. (Laozi)

Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy. (Laozi)

Clay is shaped into a bowl, but it is the empty space that makes it useful. (Laozi)

He who conquers others is strong,
He who conquers himself is mighty.


The music and the silence
One cannot exist without the other


The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. (Laozi)

Accomplish but do not boast, accomplish without show, accomplish without arrogance, accomplish without grabbing, accomplish without forcing. (Laozi)

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning. (Laozi)

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. (Laozi)

Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained.
Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.


A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. (Laozi)

Watch out – the next one is one of my favorite Laozi quotes:

Laozi quote: ant on the move

An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox. (Laozi)

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. (Laozi)

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. (Laozi)

Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy. (Laozi)

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. (Laozi)

If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve. (Laozi)

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. (Laozi)

Man’s enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself. (Laozi)

Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires. (Laozi)

People in their handlings of affairs often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure. (Laozi)

Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment. (Laozi)

The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself. (Laozi)

The True Person avoids extremes, self-indulgence, and extravagance. (Laozi)

To lead people walk behind them. (Laozi)

To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect. (Laozi)

Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good. (Laozi)

What is well rooted cannot be pulled up. What is firmly grasped will not slip loose. It will be honored from generation to generation. (Laozi)

Without stirring abroad, One can know the whole world;
Without looking out of the window One can see the way of heaven.
The further one goes The less one knows.


If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place. (Laozi)

Act without Expectation.

Wow, that is a long list of Laozi quotes! Use them for your Taijiquan practice. Maybe you want to memorize some of them.

And if you would like to read more from Laozi, have a look at The Dao De Jing: A Qigong Interpretation*. Or if you speak German, check out Jan Silberstorffs DAo De Jing books*!

Happy Qi!








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