Laozi is known as the founder of Daoism (as a philosophical tradition) and the author of the DaoDeJing (the sacred book of the Way and the Virtue) written in the sixth century BCE, but his life is not well known. According to Shiji (the Book of History by Sima Quian), Laozi’s name is Li Er but he is also called Lao Dan. Several scholars today suspect that Laozi, Li Er, and Lao Dan are all different figures. In this article, Laozi is regarded as the author of the DaoDeJing and his thought, as reflected in the DaoDeJing, is discussed.
The DaoDeJingis the book of the Way (Dao) and the virtue (De, the power and expression of the Way in the universe). Literally, Dao is a way or a path but it has a rich set of metaphorical meanings, both descriptive and prescriptive. On the descriptive side, it refers to the natural, constant (often cyclic), and even seemingly chaotic flow of change pervading in the universe. Everything is changing, not just at the surface but at the core of its existence....
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