Lao-tseu (transcript EFEO) or Lǎo Zi (pinyin)老子( "old child" or "master Lao") is a Chinese philosopher who lived in the sixth century BC. AD. It is occasionally called Laojun, "Mr. Lao".
The Book of the Way and Virtue or Dao De Jing he attributes initiated (post) Taoism and is considered by other currents also important philosophical texts. Of his life, no one knows very little. Some historians believe that it never existed.
He is considered by the religious Daoism as a god and the ancestor of all schools.
Myth or real person?
The first mention of Lao Zi are in the Zhuangzi (eighteen passages), where he appears mostly in the name of Lao Dan. There is an isolated case of Lao Laizi. One passage describes him as archivist of the King of Zhou. We see it most often criticize the efforts of Confucius to implement the Confucian virtues, according to him ineffective and unnatural. Laozi is called by his first name, Qiu, as would an elder, but it may be that this is an initiative of authors to highlight the superiority of Lao Zi.
A passage from the Book of Rites, Confucian classic, mentions that one day asked Confucius Lao Dan on the rites of mourning.
The Hanfeizi and Huainanzi are the first to impute Dao De Jing.
In the second century BC. AD Sima Qian wrote his biography: According to him, he was named Li Er, surname social Boyang, also known as Dan. He was born in the land of Chu in County Ku. He was archivist of Zhou. He practiced "Dao and Virtue" and stood hidden. He allegedly met Confucius to Luoyang when the latter came to consult the library. They had a series of discussions during which Lao Zi Confucius would have exposed the futility of its practices. At maturity, tired men, it would have left the country by the West, riding a buffalo, and would have dictated to guard the pass Xi Yin who prayed in the five thousand characters (approx.) the famous Book of the Way and Virtue who is with the Book of Changes to the sources of the esoteric Chinese.
One theory says that he would have written that the first ten sections of the Book of the Way and Virtue, and the others were added later. This hypothesis is linked to doubts about the identity of Lao Laizi, one of the names by which mentioned the criticism of Confucianism of Zhuangzi. There are actually in texts dating from before the empire, as Zhanguoce, mention of a Lao Laizi Chu, living at the time of the Spring and Autumn, born under King Kang (559-545 BC.), and death under King Hui (488-432 BC.), Dao practitioner who have lived 160 or 200 years. It would be withdrawn in the mountains around 479 BC. AD To live as a hermit with his wife, refused the post offered by the king. He is the author of a Laolaizi in 15 or 16 items, lost in the late Han. The folklore of the region of Jingmen in Hubei has kept his memory, he became the fourteenth century the hero of one of Twenty-four stories of filial piety Jujing Guo.
There is no evidence thus closing the debate. The Lao Dan Zhuangzi of it is inspired by a real person? Could it be the Lao Laizi Hubei? Although this is a historical figure, it really is the author of the Tao Te Ching? Hence the historian Sima Qian tire Does the name of Li Er and place of origin mentioned in his biography? So many questions remain unanswered. There are also two candidates possible for the Ku County: the current Luyi County in the Henan and the city of Guoyang in Anhui. The Lao meaning of the name itself is debated: the literal interpretation of "old" or "former", referring to the wisdom, is tempting some to take the suffix zi in the literal sense of "child" and "make the old child "appellation mystical or symbolic. However, others point out that the surname Lao is evidenced at the time of the Warring States. Different historical identifications were proposed by Chinese scholars. Some, noting that Mencius, a great continuation of Confucius with Xun Zi, no mention of Lao Zi in his diatribes against the excesses of mohistes and Taoism, Lao Zi conclude that is probably not a historical character, but perhaps simply be the fruit of the imagination of Zhuang Zi and other thinkers of the same course as Lie Zi, author of the classic True perfect vacuum. One of them had the bright idea to sign her book named after the reclusive sage with which Confucius, the first master of China according to Feng Youlan, would have gone for advice and would, says the legend, lost three days in the use of words.
Lao Zi in Taoism
Lao Zi and the sovereign civilizing mythical Huangdi are the central characters of the current huanglao, whose name comes from the combination of their two names. This current, very widespread in the late Warring States to early Han, is at the root philosophical and political then reportedly became more religious when it was ousted by Confucianism. There are testimonies of divinization of Lao Zi from the Eastern Han: Emperor Huandi (r. 146-168), for example, makes him a cult. Under his reign in 153, Wang Fu, prefect of the region of Changsha, is drawing up a stele dedicated to Lao Zi on which it is identified in the original Dao commencement of things. At the same time, the literate Bian Shao said that Lao Zi is an immortal and the master of Elders. It is one of the four major gods of the cult of the five bushels of rice, which requires its followers récitaton the regular Dao De Jing and become under the names of celestial Venerable Dao and Virtue or Pur the ridge Supreme ' One of Three Pure, deities of major Taoist modern schools. In this role, it appears in various forms over the centuries to guide the faithful. Thus, Taoism religious faced in the third century to the arrival of Buddhism in China, sought a rapprochement between this character daring party in the country and barbaric to be Buddha's incarnation or his pupil. A member of the Ecole des Maitres celestial exhibited in this opinion Conversion Barbarians by Lao Zi, a book which will be regularly repeated and expanded until the fourteenth century where the claims to see Lao Zi in the Buddha will be permanently dismissed.
In his temples effigy is to the right of the trio of Three Pure and has a beard and white hair and holds a range.
The emperors of the Tang Dynasty, whose name was Li clan, accèptèrent willing to consider themselves as their descendants when they Taoism their official religion and honour as Shengzu"Saint ancestor." Emperor Gaozong (r. 649-683) granted him the title of "Supreme Emperor celestial mystery original"
Lao-Tze: forerunner of anarchism?
Lao-Tseu is regarded by many as a precursor of anarchism, in fact, some quotations (see below) corresponds to a certain idea of anarchism. Nevertheless, this question remains open to debate because of the many interpretations of the writings of Lao-Tze, some seeing the contrary advice of the government by non-action, a view echoed by the current huanglao which would have inspired the emperors and Wendi Jingdi Han. For Graham, a specialist in Zhuangzi, it is in this book that we find traces of the first Chinese anarchists, some of whom it is true based on Laozi.
His divinization has stepped up its appearance out of the ordinary: his mother would have worn it for eight or eighty. Ge Hong described as follows: light yellow skin, long ears, big eyes, teeth apart, square mouth with thick lips, fifteen rides on a broad front bringing in the corners shape of the moon and sun. He has two edges of the nose and three holes in each ear, and the ten lines beings elite mark his palms.
When it was born, a comet appeared in the sky and nine dragons out of the earth to swim. This last detail, coupled with the fact that according to Bian Shao, his birthplace stood at the confluence of rivers and Guo Gu and on the shore of the yáng Guo, who encouraged the city to apply for Guoyang instead of rise Birth of the wise. There is indeed a site called "Wells of the nine dragons" that dates Spring and Autumn.
The characters that make up his name, Lao (old), Li (plum) and Er (ear) have inspired the imagination. Some believe that the nickname of "old" comes from the fact that he was born with white hair, others prefer to imagine that her mother had on the future. "Prune" come from the fact that her mother would be designed by seeing a comet or a dragon flying when she was sitting under a plum tree, or by consuming a magical fruit. As for "ear", it is usually explained by their size particularly developed, especially the lobes, a characteristic often paid to elders.
* None of us knows what we all know, together.
* If someone offended you, not trying to avenge you. Sit by the river and you will see soon move his body.
* Men are different in life, similar in death.
* Know be content with what we have is to be rich.
* Failure is the foundation of success.
* It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
* The man who knows does not speak. The man who speaks does not know.
* Plus there are laws there are thieves.
* If you abolished the love of gain, thieves and bandits disappear.
* When the holy man steering, it's empty heart, it fills her belly (the interior), it weakens its control, and it strengthens his bones.
* The battle has nothing to do with the quarrel
* Give a man a fish, you feed him for one day. Teach him how to fish, he will feed his whole life.
* Whoever invented the boat had also invented the sinking.
* Anyone who knows the other is insightful, he who knows himself is intelligent.
* Money is the lifeblood of war, and O2 is at the heart of life.
* Money does not buy happiness.
* You know the value of useful, but do you know the usefulness of the useless?
* When the big meagre long ago that scarce died.