Taoism > Founder

The Founder of Taoism


Lao-tzu - founder of Taoism
Lao-tzu is the presumed author of Tao-te ching
Though one may find Taoist ideas and believes in the centuries before the Warring States period (5th century BC - 3rd century BC) in China, it may be assumed that the true founder of Taoism was Lao-tzu (the Old Wiseman), who lived in Chou and worked as an archivist at the sovereign court and met Confucius (1) to talk about rites. 

Lao-tzu is the traditional author of Tao-te ching (The Classic of Tao and its Characteristics), a handbook of wisdom written at the request of the Guardian of the Pass, Yin Hsi.

In his book Lao-tzu developed the main Taoist ideas and concepts such as nondoing, emptiness and fu. This is the core of the Taoist thinking. 

Lao-tzu applied the Taoist philosophy to the human conduct as well. He designed the behavior of the political leaders in conformity with the immutable laws of the Universe or the Path, or Tao. He also tried to describe what Tao is and the life style of the masters of the ancient times..

Most of the specialists today believe that Lao-tzu didn't even exist as a person and author of Tao-te ching. Lao-tzu would have been the title of the book (ascribed to him) or the name of a group of persons interested in philosophy and wisdom.

The three sages
Three sages: Buddha, Lao-tzu and Confucius
Usually we study Taoism in relation with Lao-tzu, his Tao-te ching and his life philosophy as recorded by the Chinese antiquity historian Ssu-ma Ch'ien (145-85 BC).

Most of the Taoist ideas and concepts are approached on this site. You may start by clicking the links on this page and follow the resources or by taking our online courses intended for beginners. Learn more about our courses and their benefits by clicking here.

1. The meaning of the dialogue between the two sages has been explained in our lesson two of the Lao-tzu and Tao-te ching Revealed email course. Learn more about this course


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