Tao Quotes on
Desire, Wealth and Greed

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 desire, wealth and greed. To see the whole quoted chapter, click the chapter link within brackets.


Free from desire you see the mystery. Full of desire you see the manifestations.

Lessen selfishness and restrain desires.

Without desire there is stillness, and the world settles by itself.

There is no greater crime than desire.

I have no desire to desire, and people become like the uncarved wood by themselves.

The sage desires no desire, does not value rare treasures, learns without learning, recovers what people have left behind.

Wealth and Greed

Not valuing wealth prevents theft.

Keeping plenty of gold and jade in the palace makes no one able to defend it.

Displaying riches and titles with pride brings about oneís downfall.

Searching for precious goods leads astray.

Abandon cleverness, discard profit, and thieves and robbers will disappear.

Those who know when they have enough are rich.

Gain or loss, what is worse?

Greed is costly. Assembled fortunes are lost.

There is no greater misfortune than greed.

When the palace is magnificent, the fields are filled with weeds, and the granaries are empty.

Some have lavish garments, carry sharp swords, and feast on food and drink. They possess more than they can spend. This is called the vanity of robbers. It is certainly not the Way.

People starve. The rulers consume too much with their taxes. That is why people starve.

Heavenís Way is like stretching a bow. The high is lowered and the low is raised. Excess is reduced and deficiency is replenished. Heavenís Way reduces excess and replenishes deficiency. Peopleís Way is not so. They reduce the deficient and supply the excessive.

Who has excess and supplies the world? Only the one who follows the Way.

The virtuous carry out the settlement, but those without virtue pursue their claims.

The sage does not hoard. The more he does for others, the more he has. The more he thereby gives to others, the ever more he gets.

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.

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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.

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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.