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Tao Quotes on
War and Violence

Tao Te Ching

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 war and violence. To see the whole quoted chapter, click the chapter link within brackets.



War and Violence

Those who advice the ruler on the Way, do not want the world subdued with weapons.


Thorn bushes grow where armies have camped.


Battles are followed by years of famine.


Weapons are ominous tools. They are abhorred by all creatures. Anyone who follows the Way shuns them.


Weapons are ominous tools. They are not the noble rulerís tools. He only uses them when he canít avoid it.


Peace and quiet are preferred. Victory should not be praised.


Those who praise victory relish manslaughter. Those who relish manslaughter cannot reach their goals in the world.


When many people are killed, they should be mourned and lamented. Those who are victorious in war should follow the rites of funerals.


Those who defeat others are strong, those who defeat themselves are mighty.


The fish cannot leave the deep waters. The stateís weaponry should not be displayed.


The forceful and violent will not die from natural causes.


When the Way governs the world, the proud stallions drag dung carriages. When the Way is lost to the world, war horses are bred outside the city.


Those who have compassion when they do battle will be victorious. Those who likewise defend themselves will be safe. Heaven will rescue and protect them with compassion.


Excellent warriors are not violent.


Excellent soldiers are not furious.


Excellent conquerors do not engage.


Warriors say: I dare not be like the host, but would rather be like the guest. I dare not advance an inch, but would rather retreat a foot.


No misfortune is worse than underestimating the enemy. Underestimating the enemy, I risk losing my treasure.


When equal armies battle, the grieving one will be victorious.


The unyielding army will not win.


When bitter enemies make peace, surely some bitterness remains.


Although there are weapons for tens and hundreds of soldiers, they will not be used.



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.

  1. Tao, the Way Quotes


  2. Nature and the world Quotes


  3. Knowledge and wisdom Quotes


  4. Opposites and paradoxes Quotes


  5. Non-action and action Quotes


  6. Prevention and patience Quotes


  7. Moderation and modesty Quotes


  8. Humility and compassion Quotes


  9. Desire, wealth and greed Quotes


  10. Good and bad Quotes


  11. Role Models Quotes


  12. Simplicity, stillness and silence Quotes


  13. Fear and imperfection Quotes


  14. The female, child and family Quotes


  15. Yielding Quotes


  16. Rulers and government Quotes


  17. Longevity and death Quotes


  18. Seeing clearly Quotes


  19. War and violence Quotes






My Taoism Books:


Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Te Ching

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.

       More about the book here.


Tao Quotes - the Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Quotes

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.

       More about the book here.



My Other Websites:


I Ching Online

The 64 hexagrams of the Chinese classic I Ching and what they mean in divination. Try it online for free.


Qi Energy Exercises

The ancient Chinese life energy qi (chi) explained, with simple instructions on how to exercise it.


Life Energy

The many ancient and modern life force beliefs all over the world explained.


Creation Myths

Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal.


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Other Books by Stefan Stenudd:


Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Cosmos of the Ancients

The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


QI - increase your life energy. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Qi - Increase Your Life Energy

The life energy qi (also chi or ki) explained, with exercises on how to awaken, increase and use it. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Aikido Principles. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Aikido Principles

Basic Concepts of the Peaceful Martial Art
Aikido principles, philosophy, and basic ideas. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Sunday Brunch with the World Maker. Novel by Stefan Stenudd. Sunday Brunch with the World Maker

Fiction. A brunch conversation slips into the mysterious, soon to burst beyond the realm of possibility. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Stefan Stenudd, Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction. Stefan Stenudd


About me

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.

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