Tao Quotes on
Knowledge and Wisdom
Quotes from the Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Here are quotes from the Tao Te Ching, the Taoist classic, about knowledge and wisdom. To see the whole quoted chapter, click the chapter link within brackets.
When wisdom and knowledge appear, great pretense arises.
Those who understand others are clever, those who understand themselves are wise.
The more clever and cunning people are, the stranger the events will be.
People are difficult to rule, because of their knowledge.
Know What You Don't Know
Not knowing of the eternal leads to unfortunate errors.
Those who know it do not speak about it. Those who speak about it do not know it.
Correct becomes defect. Good becomes ominous. Peopleís delusions have certainly lasted long.
Knowing that you do not know is the best. Not knowing that you do not know is an illness.
Truly, only those who see illness as illness can avoid illness.
The sage is not ill, because he sees illness as illness.
True words seem false.
True words are not pleasing. Pleasing words are not true.
Those who are right do not argue. Those who argue are not right.
Those who know are not learned. Those who are learned do not know.
Abandon wisdom, discard knowledge, and people will benefit a hundredfold.
Abandon knowledge and your worries are over.
I have the mind of a fool, understanding nothing.
Those who seek knowledge, collect something every day. Those who seek the Way, let go of something every day.
They Do Not Understand
My words are very easy to understand and very easy to practice. Still, no one in the world can understand or practice them.
My words have an origin. My deeds have a sovereign. Truly, because people do not understand this, they do not understand me.
That so few understand me is why I am treasured.
Teacher and Student
A good person is the bad personís teacher. A bad person is the good personís task.
The one who does not honor the teacher and the one who does not honor the task, although ever so knowledgeable, they are confused.
The superior student listens to the Way and follows it closely. The average student listens to the Way and follows some and some not. The lesser student listens to the Way and laughs out loud. If there were no laughter it would not be the Way.
Tao Quote Categories
Here are the 388 quotes extracted from the Tao Te ching, sorted by topics. Each quote has a reference to its chapter in the book.
My Taoism Books:
The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained.
The great Taoist philosophy classic by Lao Tzu translated, and each of the 81 chapters extensively commented. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.
389 quotes from the foremost Taoist classic, divided into 51 prominent topics. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
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The 64 hexagrams of the Chinese classic I Ching
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I'm a Swedish author and aikido instructor. In addition to fiction, I've written books about Taoism and other East Asian traditions. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching ancient thought and mythology. Click the image to get to my personal website.