Posted by: Lea | February 17, 2009

Tao Origins

Eastern philosophy has been infiltrating the west for many years now. Westerners have at least heard of Hinduism, Muslim, Buddhism, Taoism and Zen Buddhism, even if they haven’t studied them. As my journey in this life winds its way in search of truth, knowledge, understanding and wisdom, I have come to the Tao.

I’ve heard of the Tao, but know very little about it. So, what is Tao?

Translated, Tao means the path or the way and is an universal principle underlying anything and everything from creation to human interactions. To understand the Tao, one has to apply intuition with reasoning.-

The Tao Te Ching (pronounced Dow De Jing), contains the concepts of Tao and was written by Lao Tzu.

Many people are under the impression that Lao Tzu was the founder of Taoism. But, Tao was already an important part of Chinese culture for thousands of years before Lao Tzu lived.

The story of Lao Tzu and the Tao is that the Tao Te Ching was first written during the decline of the Zhou Dynasty. Lao Tzu was leaving his position with King Wu as the Royal Archivist and leaving Zhou State when he met the Commander of Hangu Pass, named Yin Xi (pronounced Yin Shi). Yin Xi was watching  travelers leaving and coming into the Zhou State. Commander Yin Xi was especially alert after hearing news of an impending war.

When Yin Xi saw an old man slowly approaching riding an ox, he sensed something different about this man and trusting his intuition, Yin Xi walked up and asked the man his name, to which the old man answered, Li Er.

Yin Xi recognized the name and asked if he was the one they called Lao Tzu, the Old Master? After the old man confirmed this, Yin Xi insisted that Lao Tzu have tea with him before continuing his journey and Lao Tzu accepted.

During tea, the Commander was curious and asked many questions of Lao Tzu, regarding where he acquired such extraordinary knowledge and about the Tao.

After awhile, Yin Xi stated that it was a pity that Lao Tzu was leaving and asked him if he would consider writing down notes, so that people could cultivate the Tao on their own? Lao Tzu felt that was an excellent idea and agreed to write down the basic concepts, standard sayings and summaries of the major works in the Royal Archives.

After completing the manuscript, Lao Tzu handed it to Commander Yin Xi and continued on his journey.-Tao Te Ching translated by Derek Lin.


  1. I did not know this story. Thanks for sharing, Lea :o)


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