Laozi - The Founder Of Taoism

An artist's rendering of the Taoist sage Laozi (Lao Tzu).

Laozi (also spelled Lao Tzu) was a Chinese philosopher and poet considered to be the founder of Taoism (also spelled Daoism). The literal English translation of the Chinese word "Laozi" is "old master." Laozi is known also as the "ancient child" -- a reference, perhaps, to the child-like sage nature of this legendary figure. With his profound wisdom came a great sense of humor and playfulness -- qualities found frequently among the Taoist masters.

Very little is known about the historical life of Laozi. What we do know is that his birth name was Li Erh, and that he was a native of the southern feudal state of Chu. As an adult, he held a minor government post as a librarian in the imperial archives. At some point he relinquished this post - presumably to engage more deeply with his spiritual path.

As legend has it, Laozi underwent a profound spiritual awakening, and then traveled to the western frontier, where he disappeared forever, into the land of the Immortals. The last person that he encountered was a gatekeeper, named Wen-Tzu, who requested that Laozi offer to him (and all of humanity) the essence of the wisdom that had been revealed to him.

In response to this request, Laozi dictated what was to become known as the Daode Jing (also spelled Tao Te Ching). Along with the Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu) and the Liehzi (Lieh Tzu), the 5,000 word Daode Jing forms the textual core of Daojia, or philosophical Taoism.

Of Related Interest

Tao: The Pathless Way
The Three Purities
The Eight Immortals

Of Special Interest

Meditation Now - A Beginner's Guide by Elizabeth Reninger (your Taoism guide). This book offers step-by-step guidance in a number of Taoist Inner Alchemy practices (e.g. the Inner Smile, Walking Meditation, Developing Witness Consciousness & Candle/Flower-Gazing Visualization) along with more general meditation instruction.

An excellent resource, which introduces practices for balancing Yin-Qi and Yang-Qi and harmonizing the Five Elements; while offering support for the “path of return” to resting naturally in alignment with the vast and luminous Tao (i.e. our True Nature as an Immortal). Highly recommended.