THE ANCIENT MYTH OF
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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
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 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.
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