Tao Quotes on
Moderation and Modesty
Quotes from the Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Here are quotes from the Tao Te Ching, the Taoist classic, about moderation and modesty. To see the whole quoted chapter, click the chapter link within brackets.
Filling all the way to the brim is not as good as halting in time.
Pounding an edge to sharpness will not make it last.
(The five) colors blind the eye. (The five) tones deafen the ear. (The five) flavors dull the mouth.
Racing through the field and hunting make the mind wild.
He who holds on to the Way seeks no excess. Since he lacks excess, he can grow old in no need to be renewed.
Those who stand on their toes are not steady.
Those who take long steps cannot keep the pace.
The sage avoids extremity, excess, and extravagance.
Those who know when it is enough will not perish.
Those who are content suffer no disgrace.
To have enough of enough is always enough.
Seal the openings, shut the doors, dull the sharpness, untie the knots, dim the light, become one with the dust. This is called the profound union.
When leading people and serving Heaven, nothing exceeds moderation.
The sage never strives for greatness, and can therefore accomplish greatness.
By moderation one can be generous.
Let the country be small, and the inhabitants few.
Because he (the Sage) demands no honor, he will never be dishonored.
Not praising the deserving prevents envy.
He (the Sage) does not show off, therefore he shines.
He (the Sage) does not justify himself, therefore he is revered.
He (the Sage) does not boast, therefore he is honored.
He (the Sage) does not praise himself, therefore he remains.
Those who show off do not shine.
Those who are self-righteous are not prominent.
Those who boast are not respected.
Those who praise themselves do not prevail.
The sage does not strive to be great. Thereby he can accomplish the great.
Do not strive for the shine of jade, but clatter like stone.
The sage wears coarse clothes, concealing jade.
The sage knows himself, but does not parade. He cherishes himself, but does not praise himself.
The sage acts without taking credit. He accomplishes without dwelling on it. He does not want to display his worth.
Stay Where You Are
Those who stay where they are will endure.
Without stepping out the door, you can know the world.
Without looking through the window, you can see Heavenís Way.
The longer you travel, the less you know.
They can see their neighbors. Roosters and dogs can be heard from there. Still, they will age and die without visiting one another.
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.
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