From THE ESOTERIC TRADITION, by G. DE PURUCKER
One of the greatest teachers of China was Lao-tse, the founder of Taoism, one of the noblest religions and philosophical systems of the world. According to legend, he was conceived in a supernatural fashion, as 42 so many others of the great world teachers are alleged to have been. His mother carried him for seventy-two years before he was born, so that when at last he saw physical light, his hair was white, as if with age, and from this he was known in after times by the name “the old boy.” His biographers tell us that when his lifework was done, he traveled westward toward Tibet, and disappeared; and it is not known where and when he died. Following the few facts which seem to be authentic, and setting aside the mass of mythological material which has been woven around his name and personality, Lao-tse would appear to have been one of those periodic incarnations of a ray of what in the Esoteric Tradition is mystically called Mahā-Vishṇu, in other words an avatāra. There seems to be no doubt whatsoever that he was one of the least understood envoys or messengers from the Brotherhood who periodically send out representatives from among themselves in order to introduce an impulse toward spirituality
His great literary work is called the Tao Te Ching — “The Book of the Doing of Tao.” Tao means the “way,” or the “path,” among other mystical significances; te means “virtue.” But tao while meaning the way or the path, also means the wayfarer, or he who travels on the Path. It is the Way of Tao not to act from any personal motive; to conduct affairs without feeling the trouble of them; to taste without being aware of the flavor; to account the great as small and the small as great; to repay injury with kindness. — Tao Te Ching, ch. lxiii
The last sentence of this remarkable book is cast in the following strain: It is the Tao of Heaven to benefit and not to injure; it is the Tao of the Sage to do and not to strive. — ch. lxxxi
The meaning of these logical opposites is: fret not at all; worry not at all; but simply be and do! Here most graphically expressed is the difference between the undeveloped understanding of the ordinary man and the spiritual wisdom of the sage. The sage knows that everything the universe contains is in man, because man is an inseparable part of the cosmic whole; and a man stands in his own light, hinders his own progress, by contentious striving and by Allegory and Mystical Symbolism constantly tensing his spiritual, intellectual, and physical muscles, thus wearing out his strength in vain and futile motions. Lao-tse said: “Be what is within you. Do what that which is within you tells you to do.” This is the secret of Tao. Thus far the mystical thought of ancient China as exemplified in the teachings regarding the Tao.