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Wisdom of ancient philosopher remains relevant

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-11-21 10:19

Tianjing Temple in Guoyang county, East China's Anhui province, claims to be the location where Laozi was born.[Photo/Xinhua]

The teachings of Laozi, a Chinese sage who founded the Taoism school of philosophical thought more than 2,500 years ago, are still relevant today.

Laozi's words of wisdom are well-remembered, providing inspiration and guidance to modern-day Chinese.

"The greatest virtue is just like water, nurturing all things without competing with them" is one of his most famous proverbs.

"The more one expends for others, the more he possesses of his own; the more he gives to others, the more he has himself," he preached, showing his appreciation of humanity.

"It is our duty to inherit and carry forward the fine elements of Laozi's thoughts and Taoism," says Mu Ying, director of the Laozi research institute in Guoyang county, East China's Anhui province. It is believed that Laozi had spent a long part of his life in Guoyang.

Mu notes that the institute has set up a volunteer team of more than 300 people to carry out various activities related to the study of Taoism, such as the one in which some 10,000 people gathered to read aloud Laozi's work — Tao Te Ching.

The thoughts of Taoism have also been integrated into the education of schoolchildren. Zhang Suqin, principal of Guoyang County No 7 Primary School, says the school has arranged for children of all grades to learn traditional Chinese classics, including Tao Te Ching, since last September.

"The good qualities advocated in Tao Te Ching will be a guiding light for children throughout their lives," Zhang says.

Yin Dongdong, who heads a local charity organization and has worked in the public welfare system for 16 years, says Laozi's thoughts have had a profound impact on his career choices.

The wisdom of Laozi has also attracted attention internationally. Since 2017, four international symposiums on Laozi and Taoism have been held in Guoyang, attracting scholars from Japan and France to join discussions with Chinese experts on the global implications of Taoism in modern times.

"Tao Te Ching has been translated into many languages including English, German, French and Spanish, and has a huge circulation around the world," Mu says. "The fine traditional Chinese culture has the power to transcend time and space.

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