Home Discussion Forum What do these quotes of Lao-Tzu mean to you?

What do these quotes of Lao-Tzu mean to you?

“He who knows does not speak.
He who speaks does not know.”
Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
“He who knows others is wise;
He who know himself is enlightened.”
Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu


  1. Well for the first quote, people who know what’s going on don’t need to talk about it. For example, if you know how to do something, you just do it silently. If you don’t, you speak up about it. You ask how to do it. When you don’t talk, you know what you’re doing, and you’re just doing. At my job, I knew why we weren’t getting any overtime anymore so I didn’t say anything about it. Someone else didn’t, actually organized a meeting to ask about it that took an hour away from worktime, and got fired for it. So when you know others, you’re wise because that’s just knowledge that you’ve gained about someone else. When you know yourself, you’re enlightened because you know how you want to live. Much like the people who have no idea what their careers should be. They don’t know what they want to do and so they’re not enlightened yet.

  2. you learn by observing others…not by speaking all the time…
    enlightenment is achieved by knowledge of self…

  3. “Man who go sideways through airport turnstile going to Bangkok.”
    For the first one stop breath and listen and you will find that answer yourself. Dont talk a day or two and you will see.
    For the second replace the word “knows” with “has sex with” and you will find the true answer grasshopper.

  4. He who knows has no need to speak
    He who speaks is (often) pretentious
    He who knows others, knows understands their thoughts and actions
    He who knows himself, knows he is no different than anyone else.
    Now…what do Lao-Tzu’s statements mean to you?…or are you trying to get others to do your homework again?

  5. The Truth cannot be verbalized, there is no words on any language would reflect the truth without missing infinity chunk of it. The words is not Truth, only may lead to Truth those who truly seek it.
    The one who knows himself may knows others, not vise versa. Enlightenment and wisdom is synonymous..Indivisible whole

  6. I often say..
    “Those who know do not tell, those who tell do not know”
    I forget where I heard that, it is possibly a different translation of the same quote.
    The next one I guess it is harder to gain the perspective to look from the outside in.
    We cant compare our inside, to the outside of others.

  7. Words/thoughts/mind can not capture truth fully and as it is. Let ourselves open and give space to It to enter and reveal. That is the way of true being/knowing!

  8. the way of lao tzu concerns itself with involving the reader in a harmonious understanding of the tao.
    it is impossible to describe the tao completely as definition itself is a subset of it thus we to allude to it and to it’s flow within us – Lao Tzu does this in two major ways – with allusion to the Tao directly with vague language and with dualistic understanding of the good and the bad attempts at encapsulating it in ones own TE ( TE = ones own personal goodness)
    these two you have quoted here have to be two of the many dualistic TE statements (Stanzas 38 onwards relate to TE and how the tao flows in us ,)
    the first looks like it deals with how one dwells in the Tao, flowing with it harmoniously or grasping after it unknowingly,
    the second is much cheekier because when fitting it into ‘high te and low te’ pattern you see it is actually decrying wisdom because the truth is everything start with us as the second line of the couplet indicates
    but then this is not unusual that things that are seeming of quality to us in this age are decried by lao tzu “banish skill discard profit” being my fave of these punches lau tzu lands straight into our modern faces
    as you know …
    ..”.best to be like water”

  9. I like these quotes!
    “He who knows does not speak.
    He who speaks does not know.”
    He who knows is being observant. He is watching life from an objective standpoint, rather than experiencing it and missing out on a few key elements. He is not being caught up in his own emotions and subjectivity, because their subjective world is transient and does not hold true for everyone.
    “He who knows others is wise;
    He who know himself is enlightened.”
    He who knows himself realizes that what he is observing is his own self. Every and all things are him. He has merged his subjective and objective awareness into one.
    Whereas he who knows others is not not aware of the fact that he is God. He views life as detached from himself, when there is not detachment.

  10. if i speak, why would you listen, unless you wanted to know?
    “O my people, listen to my teaching. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past-
    stories we have heard and know, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD. We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles that He did.” Psalm 78:1-4
    perhaps that is why wisdom is couched in parables and stories…
    perhaps these are the words of a wise, enlightened monk…
    Lao-tzu… shhhh… πŸ™‚
    “picking up sticks and putting down bundles.”

  11. First off I DO like those quotes. I sense though it is more of a trick question? LOL However you DID ask what it means to us. So here is my answer.
    What it means to me.
    It means that those who speak without thinking often does not know and those who know often do not speak because they are thinking.
    The next quote I also like.
    What it means to me.
    To know oneself is in itself enlightenment. Wisdom is gained through knowing others.
    If I may add a few thoughts to it.
    Since more than 80% of our (human) communication is ‘non-verbal’ we should rely more on action rather than just words to communicate. Having stated that, we ARE using words here in this forum. LOL That’s why I gave a thumbs up to …….
    Second, knowing others is wisdom and knowing yourself is enlightenment. I also believe that if we know ourselves we know others also.
    After all this is a forum for entertainment purposes only.

  12. Enlightenment is more than an intellectual understanding though, it’s also an intuitive knowing. It is a total transformation of the heart and mind.

  13. If you know the Truth, you do not go on talking about how much you know, the people who do not really know the Truth are always talking about how much they know it.


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