Four surprising facts about Lao Tzu

This August, the OUP Philosophy team is honoring Lao Tzu as their Philosopher of the Month.

Below are four facts you may not have known about this influential ancient Chinese philosopher, religious thinker, politician, and the founder of Taoism. All the facts below are taken from Oxford Reference Online.

  1. According to legend, Lao Tzu decided to leave society. He would have vanished without a trace if a customs official on the border had not asked him to write a book before he retired from the world.
  2. According to legend, Lao Tzu is thought to have left society on the back of a water buffalo.
  3. The identity and life of Lao Tzu is obscure, and there has been much controversy over his dates. Some scholars argue that he lived in the sixth century, whilst others maintain he lived two to three centuries later. Lao Tzu’s very existence has even been questioned – with debates raging as to whether he was a historical or mythical figure.
  4. Lao Tzu is said to have beaten Confucius, reputedly his junior, in debate. Lao Tzu advised Confucius to give up forcing information into his head and instead let go of everything and follow the natural Tao.

You can follow #PhilosopherOTM and @OUPPhilosophy for more facts about Lao Tzu.

Image Credit: ‘Confucius presenting the young Gautama Buddha to Laozi’, Qing Dynasty, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

sursa: Oxford University Press

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