Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Quotes (78)

“Forward and backward, abyss on abyss, in danger like this pause at first and wait, otherwise you will fall into a pit.”

Fu Xi 伏羲 1 via Richard Wilhelm, Hexagram 29
Emperor/shaman progenitor of civilization symbol
from I Ching

Themes: Patience

30. No War

“My soul shall bear that also; for, by practice taught, I have learned patience, having much endured.”

Homer 1 via William Cowper
Primogenitor of Western culture
from Odyssey, Ὀδύσσεια

Themes: Patience

“When a person is in turmoil, how can they find peace except by staying patient until the stream clears?”

Lao Tzu 老子 1 via Witter Bynner, Shan Dao
from Way of Life According to Lao Tzu

Themes: Patience

“The greatest prayer is patience.”

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

Themes: Patience

32. Uncontrived Awareness

“Time is the wisest counselor of all.”

Pericles 495 – 429 BCE via Thucydides
Disprover that all power corrupts

Themes: Time Patience

“Because my great aim in life is to get on well with people, I chose Xanthippe for my wife because I knew if I could get on with her I could with anyone.”

Socrates 469 – 399 BCE
One of the most powerful influences on Western Civilization

Themes: Patience

“He who awaits his time, who submits
When his work is done,
In his life there is no room
For sorrow or rejoicing.”

Chuang Tzu 莊周 369 – 286 BCE

Themes: Patience

23. Nothing and Not

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”

Anonymous 1
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history
from Chinese proverb

Themes: Anger Patience

“Patience is the virtue of asses.”

Anonymous 1
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history
from French proverb

Themes: Patience

“Nature, time, and patience are the three great physicians.”

Anonymous 1
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history
from Proverb

“A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.”

Anonymous 1
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history
from Dutch proverb

Themes: Patience

“A miser and a liar both bargain quickly.”

Anonymous 1
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history
from Greek proverb

Themes: Business Patience

“With time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.”

Anonymous 1
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history
from Chinese proverb

Themes: Patience

“Every misfortune can be subdued by patience.”

Virgil 70 – 19 BCE
(Publius Vergilius Maro)
from Aeneid

Themes: Patience Problems

“Patience makes lighter
What sorrow may not heal.”

Horace 65 – 8 BCE
from Odes (23 BCE)

Themes: Patience

“There is nothing so bitter that a patient mind cannot find some solace for it.”

Seneca ˈsɛnɪkə 4 BCE – 65 CE
(Lucius Annaeus)

Themes: Patience

“Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig... there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”

Epictetus Ἐπίκτητος 55 – 135 CE
from Discourses of Epictetus, Ἐπικτήτου διατριβαί

Themes: Patience

59. The Gardening of Spirit

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.”

Augustine ɔːɡəstiːn 354 – 430 CE
(Saint Augustine, Saint Austin, Augustine of Hippo)

Themes: Patience

“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། 1 via Keith Dowman
("The Younger Severed-Headed Sister”)
Mahasiddha #67
from Masters of Enchantment

Themes: Patience Health

“The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones.”

Solomon ibn Gabirol שלמה בן יהודה אבן גבירול 1021 – 1070 CE via Ascher
from Choice of Pearls

Themes: Patience

“With the armor and weapons of patience and knowledge, what need is there for an iron bow and sharp weapons?”

Gesar of Ling གེ་སར་རྒྱལ་པོ། 1 via Robin Kornman
from Gesar of Ling Epic

Themes: Patience

“To get what you love, you must first be patient with what you hate.”

Al-Ghazali أبو حامد محمد بن محمد الطوسي الغزالي 1058 – 1111 CE
(Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali)
Philosopher of Sufism

“Desire makes slaves out of kings, and patience makes kings out of slaves.”

Al-Ghazali أبو حامد محمد بن محمد الطوسي الغزالي 1058 – 1111 CE
(Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali)
Philosopher of Sufism

“Patience is not sitting and waiting, it is foreseeing. It is looking at the thorn and seeing the rose, looking at the night and seeing the day. Lovers are patient and know that the moon needs time to become full.”

Rumi مولانا جلال‌الدین محمد بلخی 1207 – 1283 CE
(Rumi Mawlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī)

Themes: Patience Moon

“To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin.”

Thomas Aquinas 1225 – 1274 CE

“Slowly slowly O mind, everything in own pace happens, fruit arrives only in its season.”

Kabīr कबीर 1399 – 1448 CE

Themes: Patience

61. Lying Low

“Genius is eternal patience.”

Michelangelo 1475 – 1564 CE

Themes: Patience

“I am as poor as Job, my lord, but not so patient.”

William Shakespeare 1564 – 1616 CE
from Henry IV

Themes: Patience

“How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?”

William Shakespeare 1564 – 1616 CE

Themes: Patience

“The first great rule of life - to put up with things – is half of all wisdom… We often have to put up with the most from those on whom we most depend… Out of patience comes forth peace, the priceless boon that is the happilness of the world.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs, Shan Dao chapter #159
from Art of Worldly Wisdom

61. Lying Low

“Things are done quickly enough if done well. If just quickly done, they can be quickly undone.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE

Themes: Patience

54. Planting Well

“Fools rush in through the door — for folly is always bold.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs, #78

Themes: Patience

“When people press for a reply, it is best to defer it... Long expected is highest prized.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs, chapter #132
from Art of Worldly Wisdom

Themes: Patience

“If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought.”

Isaac Newton 1642 – 1726 CE

Themes: Reason Patience

“He who has patience can accomplish whatever he wants.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE

Themes: Patience

“Patience is bitter but its fruits are sweet.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712 – 1778 CE

Themes: Patience

“When the mind clearly understand true and false, it awaits the right time to act with strength and harmony, serene and without pressure.”

Liu Yiming 刘一明 1734 – 1821 CE via Thomas Cleary, Shan Dao, #43 Parting
(Liu I-ming)
from Taoist I Ching, , Zhouyi chanzhen 周易闡真

Themes: Patience

“There is no greater impediment to progress in the sciences than the desire to see it take place too quickly.”

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg 1742 – 1799 CE
One of history’s best aphorists

“People who know how to employ themselves, always find leisure moments, while those who do nothing are forever in a hurry.”

Madame Roland 1754 – 1793 CE via Mémoires de Madame Roland (1795)
(Marie-Jeanne Phlippon)
Revolutionary heroine

“Accustom yourself to regarding the world as a place of suffering, a sort of penal colony and expect the calamities, torments, and miseries of life as normal... this makes us see other people in their true light and reminds us of what is most important: tolerance, patience charity”

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

“Endurance is patience concentrated.”

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

Themes: Patience

“Endurance is patience concentrated.”

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

“Seeking variety is a sign of impotence.”

Balzac 1799 – 1850 CE
(Honoré de Balzac)
from Cousin Bette

“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.”

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

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803 – 1882 CE
Champion of individualism

Themes: Patience

63. Easy as Hard

“I’m a slow walker but I never walk back.”

Abraham Lincoln 1809 – 1865 CE

59. The Gardening of Spirit

“We shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it.”

Abraham Lincoln 1809 – 1865 CE
from Speech (1865)

Themes: Patience

“Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.”

Søren Kierkegaard 1813 – 1855 CE via Swenson
"The first existentialist philosopher"
from Either/Or (1843)

Themes: Pleasure Patience

“Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty.”

John Ruskin 1819 – 1900 CE

Themes: Patience Beauty

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”

Leo Tolstoy 1828 – 1910 CE

Themes: Patience Warriors

“It takes patience to appreciate domestic bliss; volatile spirits prefer unhappiness.”

Santayana, George 1863 – 1952 CE
(Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás)
Powerfully influential, true-to-himself philosopher/poet

Themes: Patience

“To lose patience is to lose the battle.”

Mahatma Gandhi 1869 – 1948 CE

Themes: Patience

“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. I feel as if this tree knows everything I ever think of when I sit here. When I come back to it, I never have to remind it of anything; I begin just where I left off.”

Willa Cather 1873 – 1948 CE
Modern day Lao Tzu

Themes: Patience

66. Go Low

“Patience is a most necessary quality for business; many a man would rather you heard his story than grant his request.”

G. K. Chesterton 1874 – 1936 CE

Themes: Patience Business

“I have offended many people, for as soon as I saw that they did not understand me, that was the end of the matter, I had to move on. I had no patience with people—aside from my patients. I had to obey an inner law which was imposed on me and left me no freedom of choice.”

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

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart... live in the question.”

Rainer Maria Rilke 1875 – 1926 CE
Profound singer of universal music

Themes: Patience Openness

“You find yourself in your desire… wherever the creative power of desire is, there springs the soil’s own seed. But do not forget to wait.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE via Sonu Shamdasani
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Red Book, Liber Novus

Themes: Desire Patience

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

A.A. Milne 1882 – 1956 CE
(Alan Alexander Milne)
from Winnie the Pooh

Themes: Water Patience

15. Inscrutability

“I remember one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the back of a tree just as a butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out… I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life… and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled… It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late… That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm.”

Nikos Kazantzakis 1883 – 1957 CE
from Report to Greco

64. Ordinary Mind

“We elders must find it in our souls to be patient with our children, to hear them fondly even when they rant to recognize that their wild intransigence has spurred some remedial action in legislative chambers, and in administrative halls.”

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

Themes: Patience

“A wise man does not try to hurry history. Many wars have been avoided by patience and many have been precipitated by reckless haste.”

Adlai Stevenson 1900 – 1965 CE
from Speech (1952)

Themes: Patience

“Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue; it makes it a requirement for survival.”

René Dubos 1901 – 1982 CE
Influential scientific environmentalist

from Celebrations of life (1981)

“If you want your life to truly transform, you do this by just staying with the mess. You stay in it. A lot of practice is just sheer persistence and patience with the confusion.”

Charlotte Joko Beck 1917 – 2011 CE
Authentic, pioneering Western Zen master

from Ordinary Wonder

“You don't try. That's very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more.”

Charles Bukowski 1920 – 1994 CE
"Laureate of American lowlife”

57. Wu Wei

“Patience means holding back your inclination to the seven emotions: hate, adoration, joy, anxiety, anger, grief, fear. If you don't give way to the seven, you're patient, then you'll soon understand all manner of things and be in harmony with Eternity.”

James Clavell 1921 – 1994 CE
Fictionalizing and fictional historian
from Shōgun, 1975

Themes: Patience Hate
“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.”

Warren Bennis 1925 – 2014 CE
Authentic Leadership pioneering thought leader

Themes: Patience

“There is no substitute for hard work, 23 or 24 hours a day. And there is no substitute for patience and acceptance”

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

Themes: Patience

“It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.”

Elizabeth Taylor 1932 – 2011 CE

“Impatience knows no limits: as soon as we learn to walk we want to sign up for the Olympics.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –
from Tao Te Ching — The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words

Themes: Patience

“Impatience knows no limits: as soon as we learn to walk we want to sign up for the Olympics.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

Themes: Patience

“When one realizes that our many thoughts of anger and desire… are devoid of any self-nature, everything becomes a land of gold.
Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path.”

Pema Chödrön 1936 CE –
(Deirdre Blomfield-Brown)
First American Vajrayana nun

Themes: Anger Patience

32. Uncontrived Awareness

“It’s okay. Everything is okay… Don’t rush; everything is going to be okay… Just cool it. You don’t have to do a complete job, all at once. If you go too far, if you are too hungry, you could become a cosmic monster. That message is very courageous, but very few people have the courage to say that.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Journey Without Goal

Themes: Patience Desire

57. Wu Wei

“Hopelessness has surprised me with patience.”

Meg Wheatley 1944 CE –
Bringing ancient wisdom into the modern world.

Themes: Hope Patience

“Now all you can do is wait. Like the ebb and flow of tides. No one can do anything to change them. When it is time to wait, you must wait.”

Haruki Murakami 1949 CE – via Jay Rubin
from Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Themes: Patience

“People devote a lot of energy to thinking about things. Whether they want to or not. Yet in the end we all just have to wait—only time can tell how events play out. The answers lie ahead.”

Haruki Murakami 1949 CE –
from Killing Commendatore

“it is amazing what feats of organization our government can accomplish—if you don't mind waiting until it's too late”

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

from The Cobweb

“Dean wonders where his own anger and contempt have gone. Time's a fire extinguisher, he thinks.”

David Mitchell 1969 CE –
from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Patience Anger

“The only problem is that we get so caught up in the ups and downs of life that we don't take the time to pause and notice what we already have.”

Mingyur Rinpoche 1975 CE – via Helen Tworkov
Modern-day Mahasiddha

from In Love With the World

Themes: Patience

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