Tao Te Ching
THE TAOISM OF LAO TZU
Fake Lao Tzu Quote
"If there is to be peace in the world..."
This is NOT a quote from Tao Te Ching:
"If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart."
This long quote ascribed to Lao Tzu is not to be found in Tao Te Ching. But there is something at least similar in form, in chapter 54 (my version):
The quote examined here would fit better with the philosophy of Confucius, who insisted on the necessity of the people being loyal to their families all the way up to the ruler. But he, too, is not the source to this quote.
The earliest example of this exact quote I have found is in Lifeskills from 1997, by Virginia and Redford Williams (page xix), accrediting it to Lao Tzu with the reservation that it might be from Mo Tzu. No source to this is given.
Mo Tzu is a probable alternative source to the quote, but where Lao Tzu's focus was virtue, Mo Tzu's was love — not peace per se. Still, it would lead to peace.
The below quote is from Book 4 of Mo Tzu's work, the last paragraph of the chapter called "Universal Love III," translated by Y. P. Mei in The Ethical and Political Works of Motse from 1929 (page 97):
Still, neither Lao Tzu nor Mo Tzu is the source to the exact quote examined here, or for that matter anything close enough to it. I have not found its origin, but it is likely to be either a very free paraphrasing of chapter 54 in Tao Te Ching, or the words of someone else that were later assumed to be Lao Tzu.
September 16, 2020.
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