Tao Quotes on
Longevity and Death
Authentic Quotes from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Here are quotes from the Tao Te Ching, the Taoist classic by Lao Tzu, about longevity and death. To see the whole quoted chapter, click the chapter link within brackets.
Those who die without being forgotten get longevity.
We go from birth to death. Three out of ten follow life. Three out of ten follow death. People who rush from birth to death are also three out of ten. Why is that so? Because they want to make too much of life.
I have heard that the one who knows how to live can wander through the land without encountering the rhinoceros or the tiger. He passes the battlefield without being struck by weapons. In him, the rhinoceros finds no opening for its horn. The tiger finds no opening for its claws. The soldiers find no opening for their blades. Why is that so? Death has no place in him.
Filling life exceedingly is called ominous.
Things exalted then decay. This is going against the Way. What goes against the Way meets an early end.
Life and Death
There is one appointed supreme executioner. Truly, trying to take the place of the supreme executioner is like trying to carve wood like a master carpenter. Of those who try to carve wood like a master carpenter, there are few who do not injure their hands.
People take death lightly. They expect too much of life. That is why people take death lightly.
Truly, only acting without thought of one’s life is superior to valuing one’s life.
People are born soft and weak. They die hard and stiff.
All things such as grass and trees are soft and supple in life. At their death they are withered and dry.
The hard and stiff are death’s companions. The soft and weak are life’s companions.
Let people take death seriously, and not travel far.
Tao Quote Categories
Here are the 388 Tao quotes extracted from the Tao Te ching by Lao Tzu, sorted into 19 topics. Each Tao quote has a link 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.
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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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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.