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Lao Tzu 604 BC - 479 BC

Lao Tzu (translated the old sage or master) is traditionally known as the father of Taoism. He lived during China's Warring States period and worked as an archivist at the emperor court. There he met Confucius himself with whom he talked about rites.

Rites were the subject-matter of Confucius and Confucianists. Taoism didn't bother with such themes pointing to society, morals and ethics. Therefore the dialogue of these two masters shows a clear demarcation between their specific doctrines.

Lao Tzu preached the retirement and seclusion, while Confucius insisted on the practicing the humanhood as the main virtue of a civilized person, and on personal education.

Later on, disguised by the court decline of morals, Lao Tzu would left his job and departed to West. He was asked by the Guardian of the Pass to write a book and thus come into being the Tao Te Ching (translated as The Classic of Tao and Te).

Tao and Te are basic concepts in Taoist philosopy. Related one to each other they pointed to the Supreme Power in the Universe and its features.

In conclusion, one could trace 4 main features of Lao Tzu's life:

1. He seemed to be an archivist at the royal court of Chou;

2. He was supposed to be visited by Confucius and talked about rites;

3. He preached the retirement from the world;

4. He would have left the court, wrote the Tao Te Ching, and disappeared without a trace.


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