Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Richard Dadd


Although the most obvious foundation for success, happiness, and the ability to accomplish almost anything; we so easily forget, ignore, and underestimate the importance of health. When problems make it impossible to ignore, it’s often too late. Like most of what’s valuable in life, good health develops tiny step by tiny step over a long period of time. Sudden bursts of enthusiasm followed quickly by neglect doesn’t help. The influence of unethical advertising on unthinking minds also creates huge health problems. The power of hypnotic advertising dramatically demonstrates itself in statistics showing what an alarming number of people still smoke cigarettes. The prevalence and overuse of drugs, alcohol, sugar, refined flour, soft drinks, chemically grown food, junk food, and food additives add to this list with cigarettes. Experimental placebo effect results also point to an overlooked but powerful influence on health. The Seventh Day Adventist approach make take this concept too far, but anyone interested in better health could learn a great deal from looking into how their attitudes, expectations, and opinions effect their health.

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Quotes (86)

“When the moon begins to grow, blood and breath are at their fullest, tendons and muscles are at their strongest. When the moon is completely empty, tendons and muscles are at their weakest.”

Huangdi 國語 2698 – 2598 BCE
(The Yellow Emperor)
Taoist patron saint, founder of Chinese civilization
from Internal Book of Medicine

Themes: Health Moon

“The whole of my teaching is simply making people recognize that what they mistake for conditions of health are really conditions of disease, that their virtues are really vices, that what they prize is really worthless.”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE - via Arthur Waley
from The Way and its Power

Themes: Health Virtue

71. Sick of Sickness

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth

79. No Demands

“Punishment is a kind of medicine.”

Aristotle Ἀριστοτέλης 382 – 322 BCE
from Nicomachean Ethics

Themes: Health

“The way we care for Heaven is by guarding our mind and nourishing our nature.”

Mencius 孟子 372 – 289 BCE
from Book of Mencius 孟子

Themes: Health

59. The Gardening of Spirit

“Birth and death, profit and loss, success and failure, health and sickness – the Master maintains his balance... he lets things go through their changes and stays focused on what is real.”

Chuang Tzu 莊周 369 – 286 BCE via Stephen Mitchell

from Zhuangzi

Themes: Health Middle Way

“If suffering is slight, disregard it; if great, it won’t last long.”

Epicurus ɛpɪˈkjɔːrəs 341 – 270 BCE
from On Nature

Themes: Suffering Health

“Wellbeing is attained little and little, and nevertheless is no little thing itself.”

Zeno Ζήνων ὁ Κιτιεύς 334 – 262 BCE
(of Citium)

Themes: Health

“Though bitter, good medicine cures illness. Though it may hurt, loyal criticism will have beneficial effects.”

Sima Qian 司馬遷 145 – 86 BCE
(Ssu-ma Ch'ien)
from Shiji, Records of the Grand Historian, 太史公書

“Philosophy is the best medicine for the mind.”

Cicero 106 – 43 BCE
from Tuscalanes Disputationes, 47-44 BCE

“We are usually the best men when in the worst health.”

Anonymous -800 to present
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history
from English proverb

Themes: Health

“Fiery fevers quit your body no quicker if you’re clothed in expensive, embroidered clothes than if you’re only wearing a common garment.”

Lucretius 99 – 55 BCE via Shan Dao
(Titus Carus)
from De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things)

“After a long period of disuse, the spark of life dries up and vision collapses—a person can only feel their way around like a blind person using a staff.”

Yang Xiong 揚雄 53 BCE – 18 CE via Michael Nylan, Shan Dao
from Fayan 法言, Exemplary Figures or Model Sayings

Themes: Longevity Health

“Realizing that fully-convinced 'knowing' creates suffering and delusion begins the healing.”

Wang Zhen 809 – 859 CE via Shan Dao
from Daodejing Lunbing Yaoyishu, The Tao of War

71. Sick of Sickness

“Donning the impregnable armor of patience, I embarked in the vessel of my mind and confidently took possession of my body.”

Kanakhala ཀ་ན་ཁ་ལཱ། late 9th century via Keith Dowman
("The Younger Severed-Headed Sister”)
Mahasiddha #67
from Masters of Enchantment

Themes: Patience Health

“There is perfect harmony in realizing the nature of every experience but only with the vision of ultimate reality can you drink the elixir of immortality and be truly alive.”

Vyālipa བྱཱ་ལི་པ། c. 884 - c. 1044 via Keith Dowman
("The Courtesan's Alchemist")
Mahasiddha #84

Themes: Health

“May they realize that the real nature of poison is the essential medicine.”

Mondup Sherab 12th century CE via Keith Dowman
from Masters of Mahamudra

“Always panting for riches and never giving our souls or our bodies a moment's peace, we are thrown into a continuous state of misery and anxiety.”

Poggio Bracciolini 1380 – 1459 CE via Sansoni
from Nel VI Centenario della Nascita

Themes: Wealth Health Greed

“Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind”

Leonardo da Vinci 1452 – 1519 CE
from Notebooks, c. 1500

Themes: Health

“Medicine is not merely a science but an art. The character of the physician may act more powerfully upon the patient than the drugs used.”

Paracelsus 1493 – 1541 CE
(Theophrastus von Hohenheim)
Revolutionary, shamanistic alchemist
from Archidoxies, 1525

Themes: Health Medicine

“The body is not a thing apart but a house for the soul. The physician, therefore, must treat the two simultaneously and strive at bringing them into harmony which is the only true health.”

Paracelsus 1493 – 1541 CE via Kurt Seligman
(Theophrastus von Hohenheim)
Revolutionary, shamanistic alchemist

Themes: Oneness Health

“I observe the physician with the same diligence as the disease.”

John Donne 1572 – 1631 CE

Themes: Health Medicine

“The art of letting things alone… Remedies often make diseases worse… It takes a wise doctor to know when not to prescribe, and at times the greater skill consists in not applying remedies.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE

Themes: Health Medicine

24. Unnecessary Baggage

“While deluded, one is used by this body; when enlightened, one uses this body.”

Bunan 至道無難 1603 – 1676 CE
(Shido Bunan Zenji Munan)

Themes: Delusion Health

“Sleep is an infallible miracle drug but perfect sleep requires a peaceful conscience. First rest your mind, then your eyes keeping your health by dividing half your time to rest, have to activity.”

Lǐ Yú 李漁 1610 – 1680 CE via Lin Yutang, Shan Dao
(Li Liweng)
from Art of Living

Themes: Health

“Bodies act as though there were no souls and souls as if there were no bodies, and both act as if each influence the other.”

Leibniz 1646 – 1716 CE
(Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz)

Themes: Health

“Drinking and gambling are curses that lessen any man’s mind and strength and waste his substance.”

Kāngxī 康熙帝 1654 – 1722 CE
from Emperor of China, Self-Portrait of K'ang-hsi

“Good artisans [...] concentration on one specialty, their refusal to dissipate their mental energy, seems to give strength to their bodies [...] they often live to be 70 or 80, healthy and skillful as in their youth”

Kāngxī 康熙帝 1654 – 1722 CE via Jonathan D. Spence
from Emperor of China, Self-Portrait of K'ang-hsi

Themes: Health Longevity

“Doctors put drugs of which they know little into bodies of which they know less for diseases of which they know nothing at all.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 1694 – 1778 CE

Themes: Health

“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 1694 – 1778 CE

Themes: Health Medicine

57. Wu Wei

“Nothing is more fatal to health than an overcare of it.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE

“God heals and the doctor takes the fees.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE

Themes: Health Medicine

“If a man thinks about his physical or moral state, he usually discover that he is ill.”

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 1749 – 1832 CE

Themes: Health Medicine

“The most essential factor in happiness is health.”

Arthur Schopenhauer 1788 – 1860 CE via T. Bailey Saunders
from Wisdom of Life

Themes: Health

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”

Lord Byron 1788 – 1824 CE
(George Gordon Byron)
The first rock-star style celebrity

“We rest—A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise—One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh, or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away

Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792 – 1822 CE
from Mutability

Themes: Health Problems

“He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything”

Thomas Carlyle 1795 – 1881 CE
"Great Man” theory of history creator

Themes: Health Hope

“To rise at six, to sleep at ten,
To sup at ten, to dine at six,
Make a man live for ten times ten.”

Victor Hugo 1802 – 1885 CE
Literary pioneer, poet, and social justice provocateur

Themes: Health Longevity

“If life and the soul are sacred, the human body is sacred;
And in man or woman, a clean strong firmfibred body is beautiful as the most beautiful face...
Who degrades or defiles the living human body is cursed”

Walt Whitman 1819 – 1892 CE
Premier "poet of democracy" and model for Dracula
from Leaves of Grass

Themes: Health

“illness of any sort was considered in Erewhon to be highly criminal and immoral; and that I was liable, even for catching cold, to be held up before the magistrates and imprisoned for a considerable period.”

Samuel Butler 1835 – 1902 CE
Iconoclastic philosopher, artist, composer, author, and evolutionary theorist
from Erewhon

Themes: Health

“Disease is the tax which the soul pays for the body, as the tenant pays house-rent for the use of the house.”

Ramakrishna 1836 – 1886 CE

Themes: Health

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.”

William James 1842 – 1910 CE
"Father of American psychology”

Themes: Health

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Thomas Edison 1847 – 1931 CE
America's greatest inventor

Themes: Health Medicine

“To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.”

Oscar Wilde 1854 – 1900 CE

Themes: Health Longevity

“Man should not strive to eliminate his complexes, but to get in accord with them; they are legitimately what directs his contact in the world.”

Sigmund Freud 1856 – 1939 CE

Themes: Health

“They came and gave an herb to me, the day-break star herb, the herb of understanding... all creatures saw it and in no place was there any more darkness”

Black Elk 1863 – 1950 CE
(Heȟáka Sápa)

Themes: Health Medicine

“Medicine—being a compendium of the successive and contradictory mistakes of medical practitioners—when we summon the wisest of them to our aid, the chances are that we may be relying on a scientific truth the error of which will be recognized n a few years' time.”

Marcel Proust 1871 – 1922 CE
Apostle of Ordinary Mind
from In Search of Lost Time

Themes: Health

“To believe in medicine would be the height of folly, if not to believe in it were not a greater folly still.”

Marcel Proust 1871 – 1922 CE
Apostle of Ordinary Mind
from In Search of Lost Time

Themes: Paradox Health

“Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.”

Marcel Proust 1871 – 1922 CE
Apostle of Ordinary Mind
from In Search of Lost Time

Themes: Health Happiness

18. The Sick Society

“In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”

Themes: Health

“I had to do certain yoga exercises in order to keep my emotions in check. But since it was my purpose to know what was going on within myself, I would do these exercises only until I had calmed myself enough to resume my work with the unconscious.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Memories, Dreams, Reflections

“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”

Albert Schweitzer 1875 – 1965 CE

Themes: Health Memory

“I didn't know that being religious meant health and cheerfulness.”

Hermann Hesse 1877 – 1962 CE

Themes: Religion Health

“Song brings us health, and color will heal wounds…therefore, I advise to keep more flowers. Plants wisely selected according to color are healing.”

Helena Roerich Елéна Ивáновна Рéрих 1879 – 1955 CE

“I stop drinking an take cod liver oil to lengthen my life... principally because of those who are my enemies—so that some regret may remain in their too perfect world... to make the so-called gentlemen uncomfortable for a few more days.”

Lǔ Xùn 鲁迅 1881 – 1936 CE via Lin Yutang
(Zhou Shuren; Lusin)
Insightful satirist representing the "Literature of Revolt"

from Epigrams

Themes: Health Longevity

“when you've struck the right vein, tiredness goes. It must be an effort, thinking wrong.”

Virginia Woolf 1882 – 1941 CE

Themes: Health

“your body is the harp of your soul... [you] bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds.”

Kahlil Gibran 1883 – 1931 CE
from The Prophet

Themes: Health Music

“The harmony of the part with the whole may be the best definition of health, beauty, truth, wisdom, morality, and happiness.”

Will (and Ariel) Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
from Heroes of History

39. Oneness

“Freud's fanciful pseudo-explanations (precisely because they are brilliant) perform a disservice. (Now any ass has these pictures available to use in 'explaining' symptoms of an illness.)”

Ludwig Wittgenstein 1889 – 1951 CE
One of the world's most famous philosophers

Themes: Health

“The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike, and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune.”

Boris Pasternak Бори́с Леони́дович Пастерна́к 1890 – 1960 CE
Russia's greatest poet

“What’s in a name? — practically everything… We give the stuff good names—moksha-medicine, reality revealer, a truth-and-beauty pill. And we know, by direct experience, that the good names are deserved.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE
from Island

Themes: Health Medicine

“Uniformity and freedom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible too. . . . Man is not made to be an automaton, and if he becomes one, the basis for mental health is destroyed.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE

Themes: Health

18. The Sick Society

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Krishnamurti 1895 – 1986 CE
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)

18. The Sick Society

“You are looking for a cure while I am concerned with prevention. As long as their are causes, there must also be results... If you want peace and harmony in the world, you must first have peace and harmony in your hearts and minds.”

Nisargadatta Maharaj 1897 – 1981 CE
Householder guru of non-duality
from I Am That

“Dying is easy. Living is a pain in the butt. It's like an athletic event. You've got to train for it. You've got to eat right. You've got to exercise. Your health account, your bank account, they're the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen: together, you have a kingdom.”

Jack LaLanne 1914 – 2011 CE

Themes: Health Medicine

“The most important thing in your life is your health… you can have all the education and you can have millions of dollars in the bank, but if you've got headaches every day, if you're fat and you are out of shape - what good is your money?”

Jack LaLanne 1914 – 2011 CE

Themes: Health

“If you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen.”

Alan Watts 1915 – 1973 CE

Themes: Health

“symptoms... say, anxiety, migraine, depression, alcoholism, phobia, or lethargy enable the person to control others without accepting responsibility for doing so.”

Alan Watts 1915 – 1973 CE
from Psychotherapy East and West

Themes: Control Health

“Psychotherapy and liberation are completed in the moment when shame and guilt collapse, when the organism is no longer compelled to defend itself for being an oganism.”

Alan Watts 1915 – 1973 CE
from Psychotherapy East and West

Themes: Health

“Institutions are not pretty. Show me a pretty government. Healing is wonderful, but the American Medical Association? Learning is wonderful, but universities? The same is true for religion... religion is institutionalized spirituality.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE

“What is sickness? What is health? Both are distractions. Put them both aside and go forward.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE

Themes: Health Medicine

“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos - the trees, the clouds, everything.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ 1926 CE –

“For every person who needs mental health care to be able to receive it close to his home, and to remove the stigma from mental health care so people will be free to talk about it and seek help. It's been taboo for so long to admit you had a mental health problem.”

Rosalynn Carter 1927 CE –
Insightful and compassionate politician

Themes: Health

“The conflict between right and wrong is a sickness of the mind.”

Seungsahn 숭산행원대선사 1927 – 2004 CE
(Soen Sa Nim)

Themes: Health Conflict

“No medicine cures what happiness cannot.”

Gabriel García Márquez 1927 – 2014 CE
(Gabo, Gabito)
The greatest Colombian

Themes: Health Medicine

“I heard a definition once: ‘Happiness is health and a short memory!’ I wish I'd invented it, because it is very true.”

Audrey Hepburn 1929 – 1993 CE

Themes: Health Memory

79. No Demands

“If someone thinks he doesn't depend on others, he is like a sick person who thinks he doesn't have to go to a doctor because he can cure himself with poison, or like a poor person who says he doesn't have to depend on richer people even though he has an empty wallet.”

Thinley Norbu གདུང་སྲས་ཕྲིན་ལས་ནོར་བུ 1931 – 2011 CE
(Kyabjé Dungse)

Themes: Health Delusion

“The path to true happiness is the same whoever, whenever, or wherever you are.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

Themes: Happiness Health

4. The Father of All Things

“People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.”

Wendell Berry 1934 CE –

75. Greed

“Man sacrifices his health in order to make money Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.”

Dalai Lama XIV Tenzin Gyatso 1935 CE –

44. Fame and Fortune

“I'm so mean, I make medicine sick.”

Muhammad Ali 1942 – 2016 CE
(Cassius Clay)

Themes: Health Medicine

33. Know Yourself

“Because of the way we are born and brought up, most people squander away the health of their body and a lot of people squander away the health of their mind”

Eva Wong (c. 1951- )
Champion of Qigong, Fengshui, and a Taoist approach to health and healing

Themes: Health

“It is a strange world that Industry has made. Kind of a seething toxic harbor, opening out on a blue unspoiled ocean. Most people are swimming in it... If people like me would just keep our mouths shut, people like him would never suspect why they got cancer. They’d chalk it up to God or probability. They wouldn't die with hearts full of venom.”

Neal Stephenson 1959 CE –
(Stephen Bury)
Speculative futurist and cultural social commentator

from Zodiac (1988)​​

Themes: Health Capitalism

“The problem is when that fun stuff becomes the habit—and I think that's what's happened in our culture—fast food has become the everyday meal. It's not enough just to limit ads for foods that aren't healthy. It's also going to be critical to increase marketing for foods that are healthy.”

Michelle Obama 1964 CE –

Themes: Health

“a cigarette robs 10 minutes from your lifespan, but.. withdraws all that time in bulk as you near the end of your life… a smartphone steals your time in the present moment, by degrees… you look up and you're 85 years old.”

Charlie Brooker 1971 CE –

Themes: Health

“In 2012 about 56 million people died throughout the world; 620,000 of them died due to human violence (war killed 120,000 people, and crime killed another 500,000). In contrast, 800,000 committed suicide, and 1.5 million died of diabetes. Sugar is now more dangerous than gunpowder.”

Yuval Harari יובל נח הררי‎ 1976 CE –
Israeli historian, professor, and philosopher

from Sapiens

Themes: Health Longevity


Internal Book of Medicine

by Huangdi

Taoist patron saint, founder of Chinese civilization

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