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Fake Lao Tzu Quote

"Why do you run..."

Fake Lao Tzu quote: Why do you run around looking for the truth...

This is NOT a quote from Tao Te Ching:


"Why do you run around looking for the truth? Be still, and there it is - in the mountain, in the pine, in yourself."






I would imagine that Lao Tzu was not much for running, for whatever reason. He would surely also agree that if you can't find the truth while being still, you are not likely to find it running around.

       The truth was to Lao Tzu nothing but Tao, the Way. In my version of Tao Te Ching the word "truth" does not appear even once, nor does it in several other versions I checked. James Legge in 1891 used it twice - in chapter 21 and 41, both referring to Tao being that truth.


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       But certainly, Tao can be found anywhere - in the mountain, the pine, and oneself, as well as everywhere else. To Lao Tzu, Tao was the source and ruler of everything in the world.

       Still, the quote examined here is not from Lao Tzu. But he stated something similar in chapter 47 of Tao Te Ching (my version):


Without stepping out the door,
You can know the world.
Without looking through the window,
You can see Heaven's Way.
The longer you travel, the less you know.

Therefore:
The sage knows without traveling,
Perceives without looking,
Completes without acting.


       I have not found the exact quote discussed here in any book search, and on the Internet it seems not to have appeared until a few years ago. I did not even find it on the Goodreads website.

       It may have started in 2016 with a meme produced by the website Chill-app, with an image of cloudy mountains and the quote accredited to Lao Tzu. Its first appearance on Facebook, as far as I have found, was in a post dated 22 October 2016.

       It is possible that the quote is a poetic license paraphrasing of chapter 47 in Tao Te Ching, but I have not been able to confirm that. It seems to be so recent that I rather suspect it to be a contemporary effort at ancient wisdom, based on nothing in particular.

Stefan Stenudd
September 23, 2020.



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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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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.


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.

       More about the book here.



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