Lao Tsu Biograghy

Lao-Tsu (also known as Lao-Tzu or Lauxi) was a philosopher, a writer and the author of the legendary Dao-de-jing (道德經).  He was the founder and creator of philosophical and traditional Chinese religions (Taoism 道教), and believed to start the modern Li or Lee family (李氏家族血統). In fact, he was the ancestor of many members of Lee’s Benevolent Association of Canada in Vancouver. The name “Tsu” () is not known as a personal name but as an honourific title of “Teacher”. Main source of information about Lao-Tzu and his life was a biography recorded in (太史公書 or 史記) written by Qian.(司馬遷 145–86 b.c.e.) 

Lao-Tsu  (老子), original name Li Er (姓李, 名耳). He was born with long earlobes, therefore, also called Dan (字聃). He was born in the Warring States Period (春秋戰國) 5th or 4th century, 475 – 221 b.c.e,  a native of Quren (曲仁里),  a village in the district of Hu (苦縣)  in the state of Chu (楚國), which is the Luyi (鹿邑縣) in Henan province (河南) of China today.  

Lao-Tsu was the curator of the Royal Library (守藏室)of shi (史記) in the Zhou dynasty (周朝) 1046–256 b.c.e.  “Shi” (), in ancient China, were historians or scholars specializing in matters such as astrology and divination, also in charge of religious texts or scriptures.

At the end of the Warring States period(春秋戰國後期), the ineptitude and cruelty of politicians of the Zhou Dynasty (周朝) was noticeable. Lao-Tsu recognized the situation and the suffering of the citizens, departed Zhou Dynasty and headed west on a water buffalo to find a place of peace and solitude.

On his way through the western pass of the frontier, he came across Xiangu pass (函谷關), the entrance to the state of Qin (秦國). He met the guardian of the pass Yinxi (尹喜) who asked Lao-Tsu to write a book before passing the gate. Accordingly, Lao-Tsu wrote a book in two sections (,下篇)of 5,000 characters which became the legendary Dao-de-jing (道德經) . The book was based on his ideas about the “Dao” (上篇-) and “De” (下篇-). He handed the book, Dao-de-jing (道德經), to Yinxi (尹喜), then walked through the pass and disappeared into the mists. After noting the civil status of Lao-Tsu, the historian proceeds to a celebrated meeting with the younger Confucius (551–479 bce).  

Sima Qian (司馬遷) wrote in the biography, “Lao-Tsu may has lived one hundred and fifty years, he was a gentleman in secluded and solitary lifestyle, his teaching consisted in non-action, the cultivation of a state of inner calm, and purity of mind”. 

Lao-Tsu’s wisdom wrote in the mural outside of the Lee’s Association building at 313 East Pender St. Vancouver BC:

知人者智,自知者明.

勝人者有力,自勝者強.

It takes knowledge to understand others, but it needs a clear mind to know oneself.

It takes strength to surpass others, but it requires a strong will to surpass oneself. 

Other Lao-Tzu’s teaching of Wisdoms:

Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.

 

Acknowledgement:

Mr. James Lee, Lee’s Benevolent Association of Canada in Vancouver.

References:

1. Mr. Joshua J. Mark, Dec. 20, 2012. “Ancient.eu/Lao-Tzu/”

2. Lao-Tsu Dao-de-jing 道德經, 上篇, Published in Hong Kong.

3. Britannica.com/biography/Lao Tzu

4. Wikipedia.org/Lao Tzu

5. BrainyQuote.com