Tao Te Ching
THE TAOISM OF LAO TZU
Fake Lao Tzu Quote
"One cannot reflect..."
This is NOT a quote from Tao Te Ching:
"One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others."
The idea of only a peaceful person being able to make others peaceful fits well with Lao Tzu's thoughts. He didn't express it exactly like the quote above, but close enough — for example, in chapter 57 of Tao Te Ching (my version):
The earliest example of this exact quote I have found is in the book One Home, One Family, One Future from 2009, by B. A. Zikria (page 73). He listed a number of Lao Tzu quotes and stated as his source the website Quotationspage. I have not found that quote there, though, nor some others in Zikria's list. But that is no mystery — web pages change constantly, and this reference is more than a decade old.
So, I used Internet Archive to check versions of that web page from before Zikria's book was published, but with no luck. The content seems to have been the same all through the years. The source to just about all the quotes is Wing-tsit Chan's version of Tao Te Ching from 1963, but his book does not contain the quote examined here.
The oldest example of the quote I found on Facebook is a meme posted January 14, 2011, where the quote is accredited to Confucius, not Lao Tzu. That did not stop later posts on Facebook from accrediting it to Lao Tzu.
To be sure, I made a search through James Legge's translations of Confucian texts, without finding the quote. But in Chuang Tsu: Inner Chapters from 1974, by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, Confucius says (page 95):
Feng and English also wrote a popular version of Tao Te Ching, so it is quite plausible that this quote from Chuang Tzu has been spread and paraphrased into the quote examined here, along the way mistakenly accredited to Lao Tzu.
September 19, 2020.
More Fake Lao Tzu QuotesThere are many more fake Lao Tzu quotes examined on this website. Click the header to see a list of them.
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