Stories from Ancient China: Lao Zi's Departure

Lao Zi was from Chu and was in charge of the Print and Drawing Collection for a while during the Zhou Dynasty. Confucius came to visit him there. After he had a talk with Lao Zi, Confucius told his disciples: "Lao Zi's ideology is like a dragon, capable of flying in the wind and clouds."

Lao Zi didn't seek honours and only stressed his cultivation. Having lived in the Zhou Dynasty for a long time and seen that dynasty's decline, he thought he would leave the Zhou realm. When he arrived at the Hanguguan Pass, the district magistrate said to him: "You are leaving us. Can you leave something for us?" Lao Zi thus wrote two articles, totaling five thousand words. They elaborate on human morality. He then left quickly and no one knew his whereabouts afterwards.

People referred to the five thousand words he left behind as The Classic on the Virtues of the Dao later. Many people have studied it from generation to generation.

From Historical Records by Sima Qian

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