Friday, August 27, 2010

Quote: Lao-Tzu


"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

-  Lao-Tzu (c 600 BCE)

(I came across this quotation again recently.  Having heard it many times before, I was unaware that it came from Lao-Tzu, a philosopher from ancient China born 600 years before Christ.  It is said that when Lao-Tzu grew old, increasingly saddened by the evils he saw around him, he left for the desert on a water buffalo (above), intending not to return to China.  When he reached the Great Wall, the gatekeeper encouraged him to stay and record his beliefs for the benefit of those who would come after him.  His 81 recorded sayings form the Tao-te-ching, a text for the way of life, one of the most translated texts after the Bible.  Whilst I had always thought the above quotation to be advice on a practical level, it had not occurred to me that the teaching of a person to fish would also invest that recipeint with a sense of dignity and self worth.  That aspect was mentioned in the book I was reading, that Lao-Tzu believed that all people should live lives of serenity, goodness and respect and that teaching a person to fish instead of having the person accept the gift of fish as charity would assist in that journey.  Impressive guy).

2 comments:

  1. "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to overfish and his kids will starve"

    Mind you, I am just an old cynic.

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  2. nice quote of Lao-Tzu . Thanks for sharing this with us.

    ReplyDelete