The period between the fifth and sixth centuries BCE was a very miraculous era, when great thinkers appeared in both the East and the West of the world. Confucius and Laozi (Lao Tzu) appeared in China, while Socrates appeared in the West, and Buddha Shakyamuni appeared in India. The thoughts of those great thinkers guide our lives till date. Among them, Laozi’s thoughts are very unique. He understands and explains life and the world in a unique way. The study of Laozi Thought has become an important topic in the world of philosophy.
Laozi and Confucius are people of the same era. Confucius once visited Laozi and remarked that Laozi was a mysterious man like a dragon. Laozi’s name is Li Dan, he was a native of Chu State in China’s Spring and Autumn Period. He is said to have lived for a hundred years. He left the famous text “Tao Te Ching” to posterity, and then he disappeared. Lao Tzu has unique views on the universe, man and life. He famously argued that neither the gods in “heaven” nor the rulers of humans are benevolent in nature. Laozi both loved and hated the world, and he wrote down his thoughts for the latter. But Laozi’s writing style is also mysterious, and there are still different interpretations of his writings.
Thinkers in ancient China revered “heaven” as the supreme master. But it seems that Laozi looks at the world from outside the world. In Laozi’s philosophy, there is neither a need to be proactive towards life nor to be pessimistic. He simply interprets the world he knows in an extremely sober and objective manner. Lao Tzu created the world’s most primitive “utopia” concept, but his ideal which is different from reality is impossible to realize. Later generations developed some strategies based on Lao Tzu’s ideas, which diverged from the original Lao Tzu’s thought.
It seems that Laozi’s philosophy has no practical guiding value, but later generations are very obsessed with Laozi. Many people derive spiritual strength from the philosophy of Laozi. The essence of Laozi philosophy is to have a clear and calm mind in a chaotic world, and to allow your heart to stand above the world and look at life. Also, there are some practical skills in Laozi’s philosophy, such as analyzing matters from opposite angles, and achieving goals in ways that seem to contradict the original intention, etc. Many people all over the world read the “Tao Te Ching”. Versions of the “Tao Te Ching” in English, French, German and other languages have been continuously published. The world will never forget Lao Tzu because his unique ideas have an enduring appeal.
(Credits- China Media Group, Beijing)
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