Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
Search Quotes Search Sages Search Chapters


Pluralism - the super food of culture and civilization.
Throughout history, the societies that embraced religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity became more successful. It was the secret to Genghis Khan’s success, the unprecedented flowering of global prosperity after Yung Lo’s expeditions, and the cause of China’s falling out of its world leadership role after Yung Lo died and China embraced isolationism. Attitudes like white nationalism and fascism though inspired by a lack of economic opportunity and meaningfulness completely backfire and exacerbate the problems people hope it will cure.

Read More

Quotes (78)

“There is infinite space in your garden; all men, all women are welcome here; all they need do is enter.”

Solomon 990 – 931 BCE via Stephen Mitchell
Magician, exorcist, great prophet of Judaism and Islam
from Odes of Solomon (1st or 2nd century CE)

“Since, O Mazda, from the beginning, Thou didst create soul and body […] you wished that everyone should choose his or her own faith and path freely .”

Zarathushtra زرتشت‎‎ 628 – 551 BCE via Dawson

from Avesta

Themes: Pluralism Freedom

“Water and fire compensate each other,
Thunder and Wind do not disturb each other,
Mountain and Lake are dependent on each other
Thus change and transformation become possible,
And all things become completed.

Confucius 孔丘 551 – 479 BCE
(Kongzi, Kǒng Zǐ)
History's most influential "failure"

Themes: Pluralism

“Learn the unshaken heart of persuasive truth. Don’t believe status quo opinions in which there is no truth at all.”

Parmenides 540 – 450 BCE via Shan Dao
Grandfather of Western philosophy
from On Nature

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“The nature of God is a circle of which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere.”

Empedocles 490 – 430 BCE
"The father of rhetoric"—Aristotle
from On Nature

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE via Galatians 3:28 (tr: the Apostle Paul)
from New Testament Διαθήκη

Themes: Pluralism

“In comparing various authors with one another, I have discovered that some of the gravest and latest writers have transcribed, word for word, from former works, without making acknowledgment.”

Pliny 23 – 79 CE
(Pliny Gaius Plinius Secundus, Pliny the Elder)
Founding father of the encyclopedia

from Natural History

Themes: Pluralism

“Perhaps the teaching is one, but there are various people who hear it. On account of the inconceivable merit it bestows, it shines forth in various ways.”

Aacharya Haribhadra Suri 459 – 529 CE
Apostle of many-sided view

Themes: Pluralism

“O fool, know yourself. It is not a matter of meditation, or concentration… the diversity of existence is but a form of thought.”

Saraha 1

33. Know Yourself

“We ought not to be embarrassed of appreciating the truth and of obtaining it wherever it comes from, even if it comes from races distant and nations different from us. Nothing should be dearer to the seeker of truth than the truth itself, and there is no deterioration of the truth, nor belittling either of one who speaks it or conveys it”

Al-Kindi 801 – 873 CE
(Abu Yūsuf Yaʻqūb ibn ʼIsḥāq aṣ-Ṣabbāḥ)

“When a man who practices one version of the Way of Buddha vilifies another because it differs from his own sect, he cannot avoid the sin of slandering the Truth.”

Mujū Dōkyō 無住道曉 1227 – 1312 CE
(Ichien Dōkyō )
”The Non-Dweller”
from Shasekishū (Sand and Pebbles)

Themes: Pluralism

“I have learned so much from God that I can no longer call myself a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew… a man, a woman, an angel, or even pure Soul.”

Hafiz خواجه شمس‌‌الدین محمد حافظ شیرازی 1315 – 1394 CE via Daniel Ladinsky
(Hafez, Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad)
Inspiring friend to the true and free human spirit

Themes: Pluralism

“Benares is to the East, Meca to the West; but explore your own heart, for there are both Rama and Allah.”

Kabīr कबीर 1399 – 1448 CE

“Let every foot have its own shoe.”

Montaigne 1533 – 1592 CE
Grandfather of the Enlightenment

Themes: Pluralism

33. Know Yourself

“There never were two opinions alike in all the world, no more than two hours or two grains: the most universal quality is diversity.”

Montaigne 1533 – 1592 CE
Grandfather of the Enlightenment

Themes: Pluralism

“Words are rooted in the mind and differ [from person to person] as much as faces do... the Tao is public, but the study of it is private.”

​Zhang Xuecheng 章学诚 章学诚 1738 – 1801 CE via Nivison
(Chang Hsüeh-ch'eng)

Themes: Pluralism

“It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God.”

Thomas Jefferson 1743 – 1826 CE
from Notes on the State of Virginia (1784)

Themes: Pluralism

“I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.”

Abigail Adams 1744 – 1818 CE
One of the most exceptional women in American history

“It is only our own basic thoughts that possess truth and life… other people’s thoughts are like crumbs form another’s table, the cast-off clothes of an unfamiliar guest.”

Arthur Schopenhauer 1788 – 1860 CE via R.J. Hollingdale, Shan Dao
from Parerga and Paralipomena, "Appendices" and "Omissions"

Themes: Truth Pluralism

“In the human mind, one-sidedness has always been the rule, and many-sidedness the exception. Hence, even in revolutions of opinion, one part of the truth usually sets while another rises.”

John Stuart Mill 1806 – 1873 CE
from On Liberty, 1859

“The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

Bahá'u'lláh بهاء الله‎‎, 1817 – 1892 CE
("Glory of God")

“Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.”

Bahá'u'lláh بهاء الله‎‎, 1817 – 1892 CE
("Glory of God")

“I adopt each theory, myth, god, and demi-god, I see that all the old accounts, bibles, genealogies, are true, without exception”

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

Themes: Pluralism

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.”

Herman Melville 1819 – 1891 CE
from Moby Dick or The Whale

“Everywhere these days, we have ceased to understand that we only find true security in social solidarity, not in isolated individual effort.”

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky Фёдор Миха́йлович Достое́вский 1821 – 1881 CE via Constance Garnett
from Brothers Karamatzov

“‘Well, everybody does it that way, Huck.’ ‘Tom, I am not everybody.’”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
America’s most famous author

Themes: Pluralism

18. The Sick Society

“Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, while all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.”

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

“Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.”

Oscar Wilde 1854 – 1900 CE

“The apparent multiplication of gods is bewildering at the first glance, but you soon discover that they are the same GOD. There is always one uttermost God who defies personification. This makes Hinduism the most tolerant religion in the world, because its one transcendent God includes all possible gods. In fact Hinduism is so elastic and so subtle that the most profound Methodist, and crudest idolater, are equally at home with it.”

George Bernard Shaw 1856 – 1950 CE
UK playwright second only to Shakespeare

“Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment and the merging of races”

Nikola Tesla Никола Тесла 1856 – 1943 CE

Themes: Pluralism

“Man has no individual 'i'. But there are, instead, hundreds and thousands of separate small 'i's, very often entirely unknown to one another, never coming into contact, or, on the contrary, hostile to each other, mutually exclusive and incompatible. Each minute, each moment, man is saying or thinking, 'i'. And each time his 'i' is different. Just now it was a thought, now it is a desire, now a sensation, now another thought, and so on, endlessly. Man is a plurality. Man's name is legion.”

G. I. Gurdjieff 1866 – 1949 CE

13. Honor and Disgrace

“international government is at least as important to mankind as national government... either man must again become a rare species as in the days of Homo Pekiniensis, or we must learn to submit to an international government. Any such government, whether good, bad or indifferent, will make the continuation of the human species possible”

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

“It was the Stoics who invented the conception of the brotherhood of man. They taught that all men are children of Zeus and that the sage will ignore the distinctions of Greek and barbarian, bond and free. When Rome brought the whole civilized world under one government, the political environment was favorable to the spread of this doctrine.”

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

Themes: Pluralism

“just as the human body shows a common anatomy over and above all racial differences, so to, does the psyche possess a common substratum... the collective unconscious... latent dispositions toward identical reactions.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Introduction to Secret of the Golden Flower

“it is the tremendous experiment of becoming conscious, which nature has imposed on mankind, uniting the most diverse cultures in a common task.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist

80. A Golden Age

“No one can flatter himself that he is immune to the spirit of his own epoch, or even that he possesses a full understanding of it. Irrespective of our conscious convictions, each one of us, without exception, being a particle of the general mass, is somewhere attached to, colored by, or even undermined by the spirit which goes through the mass.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist

Themes: Pluralism

53. Shameless Thieves

“Rise above sectional interests and private ambitions... Pass from matter to spirit. Matter is diversity; spirit is light, life and unity.”

Muhammad Iqbal محمد اقبال 1877 – 1938 CE

“First of all, what man must know is that he is not one; he is many. He has not one permanent and unchangeable ‘I’ or Ego. He is always different. One moment he is one, another moment he is another, the third moment he is a third, and so on, almost without end.”

Ouspensky Пётр Демья́нович Успе́нский 1878 – 1947 CE
(Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii)

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

Albert Einstein 1879 – 1955 CE

Themes: Pluralism

81. Journey Without Goal

“If it meant conventionality, meant slavery, meant deceit, meant denying her love, fettering her limbs, pursing her lips, and restraining her tongue, then she would turn about with the ship and set sail once more for the gypsies.”

Virginia Woolf 1882 – 1941 CE
from Orlando: A Biography

“It is a good thing to demand liberty for ourselves and those who agree with us, but it is a better thing and a rarer thing to give liberty to others who do not agree with us.”

Franklin Roosevelt 1882 – 1945 CE
Champion and creator of a more just and equitable society
from Radio address (1933)

Themes: Pluralism

“The vision of one person lends not its wings to another… no one can teach you anything that doesn’t already lie half asleep in the dawning of your understanding.”

Kahlil Gibran 1883 – 1931 CE via Shan Dao
from The Prophet

Themes: Pluralism

“Religious sectarianism... turned Western Asia from world leadership to destitution... into the poverty, disease, and stagnation of modern times.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Age of Faith

“What did it matter which religion we professed or which philosophy we believed, any more than which language we spoke or what clothes we wore?”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Transition

“If you think in terms of people divided up into countries, you won't follow me. The idea of countries is going by the boards. Young people are getting wonderfully uprooted and they're too strong to get sucked into this 'country' crap.”

Buckminster Fuller 1895 – 1983 CE

78. Water

“The human desire to see only one phase of the truth which we happen to perceive, and to develop and elevate it into a perfect logical system is one reason why our philosophy is bound to grow stranger to life.”

Lín Yǔtáng 林語堂 1895 – 1976 CE

“It is high time that we stop thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans about national security based on individual freedom.”

Margaret Chase Smith 1897 – 1995 CE

“The conservative who resists change is as valuable as the radical who proposes it.”

Ariel Durant 1898 – 1981 CE
(Chaya Kaufman)

“It is not possible for this nation to be at once politically internationalist and economically isolationist. This is just as insane as asking one Siamese twin to high dive while the other plays the piano.”

Adlai Stevenson 1900 – 1965 CE
from Speech, 1952

“We are—all of us—pilgrims who struggle along different paths toward the same destination.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 1900 – 1944 CE

“Social evolution proceeds most rapidly when different cultures come into close contact with each other and thus can exchange information and goods, even though each retains its originality.”

René Dubos 1901 – 1982 CE
Influential scientific environmentalist

from Celebrations of life (1981)

Themes: Culture Pluralism

“[Whitman's] all-embracing words lock arms with workers and farmers, Negroes and whites, Asiatics and Europeans, serfs, and free men, beaming democracy to all”

Langston Hughes 1901 – 1967 CE
Pioneering elevator of Black culture

Themes: Pluralism

“From all living beings something flows into him all the time, and something flows from him.”

John Fire Lame Deer 1903 – 1976 CE via Richard Erdoes
from Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions

Themes: Pluralism

36. The Small, Dark Light

“Big mind is something you have, not something to seek for... there is no Hinayana way or Mahayana way. Only because you seek to gain something through rigid formal practice does it become a problem”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE via Trudy Dixon
from Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Themes: Pluralism

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE

12. This Over That

“To the questioner, nothing is sacred, he detests dogma, defies any finite definition of morality, rebels against any repression of a free, open search of ideas no matter where they may lead.”

Saul Alinsky 1909 – 1972 CE
from Rules for Radicals

“founded on a pluralistic value system, that circumstances must be appropriately weighed... wasn't it the mission of the philosopher to ask what pluralism is, and to unify the discordant value systems of our world? There can be only one absolute value system, and it should have been up to philosophy to show this.”

Masanobu Fukuoka 福岡 正信 1913 – 2008 CE via Metreaud
from Road Back to Nature

Themes: Pluralism

“The courage to doubt, on which American pluralism, federalism, and religious liberty are founded, is a special brand of courage, a more selfless brand of courage than the courage of orthodoxy. A brand that has been rarer and more precious in the history of the West than the courage of the crusader.”

Daniel J. Boorstin 1914 – 2004 CE
American intellectual Paul Revere
from Hidden History, 1987

Themes: Doubt Pluralism

“If we cannot end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”

John Kennedy 1917 – 1963 CE
Modern America's most popular president

from Speech (1963)

Themes: Pluralism

“All -isms end up in schisms.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE

Themes: Pluralism Opinion

“Walnuts have a shell, and they have a kernel. Religions are the same. They have an essence, but then they have a protective coating. So the kernels are the same. However, the shells are different”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE
from World's Religions

“I'm not a chauvinist. I'm a universalist.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE
from World's Religions

“Every gross part of our anatomy has originated in various countries throughout the world, some in ancient times some very recently.”

Ralph Alan Dale 1920 – 2006 CE
Translator, author, visionary
from Tao Te Ching, a new translation and commentary

“Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.”

César Chavez César Estrada Chávez 1927 – 1993 CE
(César Estrada Chávez)

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

Martin Luther King Jr. 1929 – 1968 CE
Leading world influence for equality, peace, non-violence, and poverty alleviation

“We can't let people drive wedges between us... because there's only one human race.”

Dolores Huerta 1930 CE –

Themes: Pluralism Oneness

“Sectarianism is the problem; pluralism is the answer.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

“You have to be able to imagine lives that are not yours.”

Wendell Berry 1934 CE –

Mandala means 'society' or 'group' and is connected with unique or alone, loneliness. When you stand in the middle of your mandala, no one else, only you can see this vision.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE via The Six Chakras and the Four Karmas (tr: Judith Lief, editor, Shan Dao)
from Secret Beyond Thought, Boston, 1971

“All religions are branches of one big tree. It doesn't matter what you call Him just as long as you call.”

George Harrison 1943 – 2001 CE
Guitar-playing philanthropist

“The Bhagavad Gita, like the Divine Comedy, is one of the greatest works of education ever composed. It leads from the darkness of a life without meaning to the clarity of God’s wisdom... The ultimate message of the Bhagavad Gita is that God has created many roads to the truth; each person must find his or her own road.”

J. Rufus Fears 1945 – 2012 CE

“The balance of male and female became a guiding principle in Genghis Khan’s political strategy and tactics, as well as in his spiritual worldview.”

Jack Weatherford 1945 CE –
from Secret History of the Mongol Queens

“Oh, I've been smiling lately, reaming about the world as one. And I believe it could be, someday it's going to come”

Cat Stevens 1948 CE – via Peace Train
(Steven Demetre Georgiou, Yusuf Islam)

“A real story requires a kind of magical baptism to link the world on this side with the world on the other side.”

Haruki Murakami 1949 CE – via Philip Gabriel
from Sputnik Sweetheart

Themes: Magic Pluralism

“With a limited diversity of life, there is a greater diversity of purpose.”

Amy Tan 1952 CE –
Rock and roll singer, bartender, and insightfully talented author
from Saving Fish From Drowning

Themes: Pluralism

“Multiculturalism should not mean that we tolerate another culture’s intolerance. If we do in fact support diversity, women’s rights, and gay rights, then we cannot in good conscience give Islam a free pass on the grounds of multicultural sensitivity.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali 1969 CE –
Powerful voice for Islamic reform
from Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now

“Gatherers usually ate better, more varied food than many modern factory workers, and they suffered less from starvation and disease... they were quite strong and healthy because they ate a lot of different things.”

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

from Unstoppable Us (2022)

Themes: Pluralism

“Throughout the world, more and more entrepreneurs, engineers, experts, scholars, lawyers, and managers... must ponder whether to answer the imperial call—with a growing disregard for the borders and opinions of states—or to remain loyal to their state and their people. More and more choose the empire.”

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

from Sapiens

Themes: Pluralism

Comments (0)