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Fake Lao Tzu Quote

"When you find the way..."

Fake Lao Tzu quote: When you find the way others will find you...

This is NOT a quote from Tao Te Ching:


"When you find the way
others will find you.
Passing by on the road
they will be drawn to your door.
The way that cannot be heard
will be echoed in your voice.
The way that cannot be seen
will be reflected in your eyes."






These are not the words of Lao Tzu, but the quote partly reflects what Tao Te Ching states about following Tao, the Way. Chapter 35 reads (my version):


Hold on to the great image,
And the whole world follows,
Follows unharmed,
Content and completely at peace.

Music and food make the traveler halt.
But words spoken about the Way have no taste.
When looked at, there's not enough to see.
When listened to, there's not enough to hear.
When used, it is never exhausted.


       The similarities between the quote examined here and this chapter of Tao Te Ching makes me suspect that it is a rather free interpretation of that chapter's message. Its gravest anomaly is the focus on the person instead of the principle. It is all about you and yours, whereas Lao Tzu insisted that the sage would be almost invisible because of modesty. Chapter 77 states:


The sage acts without taking credit.
He accomplishes without dwelling on it.
He does not want to display his worth.


       Still, the source to the quote discussed here claims it to be from Tao Te Ching. It appeared in Real Magic: Creating Miracles in Everyday Life, by Wayne W. Dyer, published in 1992 (page 106).

       He said nothing about what version of the Lao Tzu text he got it from, and I have not found it - not even in his own version of Tao Te Ching from 2008. He must have allowed himself some extensive poetic license in this version, and it is most likely based on chapter 35.

       Dyer's version of that chapter in Living the Wisdom of the Tao from 2008 (page 73) has no likeness to the quote examined here, nor is it more faithful to standard translations of the text. Some of the lines are influenced, to say the least, by Jonathan Star's 2001 version of the chapter (page 48) and the last three lines follow almost completely Stephen Mitchell's 1988 version (page 35).

       It is strange that Dyer would more or less improvise the long quote examined here and claim it to be from Lao Tzu. In his 1992 book, Dyer quoted Lao Tzu three times more, neglecting to mention his sources. But they are easy enough to find. On page 72 he quoted the last lines of Arthur Waley's 1934 version of chapter 11 in Tao Te Ching (page 155), with the only change of replacing one word with a synonym. On page 126 he quoted a part of chapter 25 from Tao: The Watercourse Way, 1975, by Alan Watts (page 41). On page 230 he used the same source for part of chapter 38 (page 109).

       Just the quote examined here remains a mystery. Its source is found if "the way" is replaced by "the TAO," which is what Benjamin Hoff wrote in his version of Tao Te Ching from 1981, called The Way to Life: At the Heart of the Tao Te Ching. Hoff is most famous for the book he published the following year - The Tao of Pooh, where he had Winnie the Pooh explain Taoism.

       The quote examined here is the beginning of Hoff's version of chapter 35. Dyer only made the little change to "the way." Hoff's wording deviates much more than that from the standard translations. My version is given above. Here is how chapter 35 begins in Philip J. Ivanhoe's version from 2002 (page 35):


Hold on to the great image and the whole world will come to you.
They will come and suffer no harm;
They will be peaceful, secure, and prosperous.


       The great image is Tao, of course. As for the rest of Hoff's version, he must have gotten carried away by some poetic urge, adding a bundle of words and making the whole thing seem like idolatry.

       Another quote from Hoff's Tao Te Ching version is discussed in the chapter Stop leaving. For more about Wayne W. Dyer and his interpretations, see the chapter Every human being's essential nature.


Fake Lao Tzu Quotes - Erroneous Tao Te Ching Citations Examined. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Now it's a book, too!

90 of the most spread false Lao Tzu quotes, why they are false and where they are really from. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

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Stefan Stenudd
September 22, 2020.



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Fake Lao Tzu Quotes - Erroneous Tao Te Ching Citations Examined. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Fake Lao Tzu Quotes

Erroneous Tao Te Ching Citations Examined. 90 of the most spread false Lao Tzu quotes, why they are false and where they are really from. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

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