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Taoist Spirituality quotations

Taoism, Chuang Tzu & Mysticism

Some two and a half thousand years ago two enduring philosophic-religious traditions emerged in China. One of these, Confucianism, is not directed towards exploiting or exploring Mystical Wisdom or Spirituality the other, Taoism, is.

Lao Tzu was one of the earlier figures of note in the Taoist tradition, his teachings are associated with a central Taoist text called the Tao Te Ching - a title which has been translated as "the Way and its Power".

Taoism holds that those who live in full sympathy and harmony with original nature are also, inevitably and beneficially, attuned to the Way. Those who defy original nature rarely find tranquility.

The influence and appeal of Taoism was much enhanced by the writings of one Chuang Tzu who lived some two centuries after Lao Tzu.

Please be prepared for some "soul-force" that might be held to reside within many of these quotations!!!

Disdain for Material Things

Chuang Tzu put on cotton clothes with patches in them, and arranging his girdle and tying on his shoes,
( to keep them from falling off)
went to see the prince of Wei.
"How miserable you look, Sir!" Cried the prince. "It is poverty, not misery", replied Chuang Tzu. "A man who has TAO cannot be miserable. Ragged clothes and old boots make poverty, not misery".

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 20

Distrust of Intellect

"Heaven cannot but be high. Earth cannot but be broad. The sun and moon cannot but revolve. All creation cannot but flourish. To do so is their TAO".
"But it is not from extensive study that this may be known, nor by dialectical skill that his may be made clear. The true sage will have none of these".

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 22

It was the time of the autumn floods. Every stream poured into the river, which swelled in it's turbid course. The banks receded so far from one another that it was impossible to tell a cow from a horse.
Then the Spirit of the River laughed for joy that all the beauty of the earth was gathered to himself. Down the stream he journeyed east, until he reached the ocean. There, looking eastwards and seeing no limit to the waves, his countenance changed. As he gazed over the expanse, he sighed and said to the Spirit of the Ocean, "A vulgar proverb says that he who has heard but part of the truth thinks no one equal to himself. And such a one am I".
"When formerly I heard people detracting from the learning of Confucius or underrating the heroism of Poh I, I did not believe. But now that I have looked upon your inexhaustibility - alas for me had I not reached your abode, I should have been for ever a laughing-stock of those of comprehensive enlightenment".

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 17

Spiritual Insights are possible!

The intelligence of the mean man does not rise beyond bribes and letters of recommendation. His mind is beclouded with trivialities. Yet he would penetrate the mystery of TAO and of creation, and rise to participation in the ONE. The result is that he is confounded by time and space; and that trammelled by objective existences, that he fails apprehension of that age before anything was.
But the perfect man, - he carries his mind back to the period before the beginning. Content to rest in the oblivion of nowhere, passing away like flowing water, he is merged in the clear depths of the infinite.

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 32

Only the perfect man can transcend the limits of the human and yet not withdraw from the world, live in accord with mankind and yet suffer no injury himself. Of the worlds teaching he learns nothing. He has that within which makes him independent of others.
If the eye is unobstructed, the result is sight. If the ear is unobstructed, the result is hearing. If the nose is unobstructed, the result is smell. If the mouth is unobstructed, the result is taste. If the mind is unobstructed, the result is wisdom.

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 26


The love of a Sage for his fellows likewise finds expression amongst mankind. Were he not told sop, he would not know that he loved his fellows. But whether he knows it or whether he does not know it, whether he hears it or whether he does not hear it, his love for his is without end, and mankind cease not to repose therein.

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 25

Purity of Heart

When Tzu Kung went south to the Ch'u State on his way back to the Chin State, he passed through Han-yin. There he saw an old man engaged in making a ditch to connect his vegetable garden with a well. He had a pitcher in his hand, with which he was bringing up water and pouring it into the ditch, great labour with very little result. "If you had a machine here," cried Tzu Kung, "in a day you could irrigate a hundred times your present area. The labour required is trifling as compared with the work done. Would you like to have one?" "What is it?" asked the gardener. "It is a contrivance made of wood," replied Tzu Kung, "Heavy behind and light in front. It draws up water as you do with your hands but in a constantly flowing stream. It is called a well sweep." Thereupon the gardener flushed up and said, " I have heard from my teacher that those who have cunning implements are cunning in their dealings and that those who are cunning in their dealings have cunning in their hearts, and that those who have cunning in their hearts cannot be pure and incorrupt, and that those who are not pure and incorrupt are restless in spirit and not fit vehicles for TAO. It is not that I do not know of these things. I should be ashamed to use them."

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 12


Therefore, the truly great man, although he does not injure others, does not credit himself with charity and mercy ( these are natural to him )
He does not seek gain, but does not despise his followers who do. He struggles not for wealth, but does not take credit for leaving it alone… The ranks and emoluments of the world are to him no cause for joy, it's punishments and shame no cause for disgrace.

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 17


Sorrow and happiness are the heresies of virtue; joy and anger lead astray from TAO; love and hate cause loss of virtue. The heart unconscious of sorrow and happiness - that is perfect virtue. One, without change - that is perfect repose. Without any obstruction - that is the perfection of the unconditioned. Holding no relations with the external world, - that is perfection of the negative state. Without blemish of any kind, - that is the perfection of purity.

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 15

"Joy, anger, sorrow, happiness, find no place in that man's breast; for to him all creation is ONE. And all things being thus united in ONE, his body and limbs are but as dust of the earth, and life and death, beginning, and end, are but as night and day, and cannot destroy his peace. How much less such trifles as gain or loss, misfortune or good fortune?

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 21

Communion with God

"Man may rest in the eternal fitness; he may abide in the everlasting; and roam from the beginning to the end of all creation. He may bring his nature to a condition of ONE, he may nourish his strength; he may harmonise his virtue, and so put himself into partnership with God.

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 19

"He is perfect," replied Tzu Fang "In appearance, a man; in reality, God. Unconditioned himself, he falls in with the conditioned, to his own greater glory. Pure himself he can still tolerate others. If men are without TAO, by a mere look he calls them to a sense of error, and causes their intentions to melt away".

Chuang Tzu ~ Chap 21

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The following linked pages are intended to fully demonstrate a degree of Common Ground between the Inner-most Spiritual Teachings of several major World Religions on Charity, Purity of Heart, Humility, Meekness, A Disdain for Materialism (compared to the Spiritual), A Distrust of the Intellect (compared to Divine Inspiration) and A Yearning for Divine Edification (or A Thirst for Spiritual Enlightenment).
These quotations are presented on a series of very brief pages where each faith is considered individually.

We have seen it as worthwhile to add another category of quotation ~ where recognition has been given to the possibility of Mystical Communion with God ~ as this addition may rather directly tend the range of agreement about "Core Spiritual Truths" already demonstrated towards actually becoming something of a proof of the Existence of the one God or Spirit which is the focus of Mystical Faith.

World Religions Spirituality Quotations

Buddhist       Islamic       Hindu


Sikh       Taoist       Jewish