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THE ANCIENT MYTH OF
LAO-TSE

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Lao-Tse - Chinese Myth

Lao-Tse was a Chines Philosopher who lived in the 6th century BC. Known today as Laozi or Lao-Tzu after changes in the modern Chinese phonetic, he was the founder of the Taoism a philosophy based on the Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing or Dàodéjing), later adopted as a religion in part of China, Manchuria, Japan, and India.

In many ancient cultures, the elderly was always associated with wisdom, the factor that contributed to spreading the Lao-Tse teaching. According to the myths surrounding his existence, it is believed that he was born as an elderly man rather than being a baby like any other human being.

Legends situated his birth date about 604 BC, although his birth could have occurred sometime between the sixth and the fourth century BC. Lao-Tse was conceived by a shooting star, and his name literally means, "master old one". When Lao-Tse was only an infant his appearance was depicted as the characteristic of a hundred-year man.

Like other philosophers of the same period, such as Zoroaster, Lao-Tse never wrote down his beliefs fearing that people could take them as a formal dogma, and dogmas were against his theory of simplicity based on "The Book of Changes" (I Ching), the oldest Chinese classic text.

However, it is commonly accepted that the Tao Te Ching contains Lao-Tse's philosophy word by word, exactly as he saw the world during his time on earth. Some historians believe that Lao-Tse was a mythical figure, but the Imperial Library of the Zhou Dynasty cites him as a man working there.

There is also reference of a meeting between Confucius and Lao-Tse held in Zhou, a prefecture city known today as Luoyang. In that place both philosophers discussed about property and ritual topics for many months, but once again the legend says that Lao-Tse felt that Confucius’ practices were disintegrating the Chinese Empire and riding a buffalo he traveled to the west of China.

When Lao-Tse arrived to Han Gu Pass in the Mount Zhongnan, the keeper of the pass asked him to write his wisdom before departing, then Lao-Tse climbed down the animal to write the Tao Te Ching using as teachings the experience of his previous twelve incarnations through 900 years.


Lao-Tse mythology.

 The myth of Lao-Tse.

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