Biography of Messiahs and Prophets Lao-Tzu Part 2

About the famous religious figure Lao-Tzu, history and biography of the Chinese leader.


LAO-TZU (c. 604-531 B.C.)

In creating civilization, men had made themselves blind to the true center of their lives. They had set up artificial customs and laws, creeds and dogmas, all the time going farther and farther from their source, farther and farther from true contentment. The old librarian had seen little hope that this would change in his lifetime, and so he had renounced civilization itself. It was for this reason that he now journeyed to the outmost frontier of the empire, to the boundary wall beyond which lay the wilderness.

The sun had now set. The water buffalo reached the house of Yin Hsi, the keeper of the gate to the mountain pass. The gatekeeper did not know the old man but offered him the welcome of his humble home. Why would someone alone and old choose to journey into the wilderness? But it was not for him to question. He had seen the going out of many men, even of armies, and their return. He understood the necessities of passage. "Come in, old master (lao-tzu), and be welcome," he said.

In the long night, by the flickering light of a lamp, the old man brushed 5,000 picture-symbols in ink on joined strips of bamboo, setting down in words his reflections. This book, Tao Te Ching (pronounced dow day jing), he would leave for Yin Hsi, who had humbly accepted him into his home. The book (ching) would tell of the way (tao) and its power (te). He smiled at the word tao, written in a character that could mean not only the way of life but the very road or way that a man may travel. He did not place his name, Li Erh, upon it, for it was not fame that he cared about. If people forgot his name, would it matter? He was but a vehicle for the tao. It was the tao that was eternal. So it would always be. Knowing that would be enough.

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