《The Scripture of Tao-DE》, also known as 《Lao Zi》, 《Five-Thousand Words》, was authored by Li Er (known as Lao Zi) in China’s Spring-Autumn Times which was about 2500 years ago(770 BC~476 BC). It’s a book before separating of Pre-Chin’s Hundred Schools of Thoughts, and was admired extensively by all schools of scholars of that time, finally became the origination of Taoist philosophy.
The theory of the Scripture is so profound and abstruse that it separated into philosophical Taoism and religious Taoism, which couldn’t be mixed up. As the fundament of religious Taoism, the Scripture is the most important doctrine of religious Taoism, and the author Lao Zi was admired as one of the Three-Qing Divinities of Taoism，Tao-De Tianzun(supernatural being), with another name as Tai Shang Lao Jun. So it’s reckoned that the religious Taoism absorbed thoughts of philosophic Taoism which perfected the Tao Religion.
The Scripture proposed “Administrated with WUWEI” (undertaking nothing unnecessary) which is the genetic thoughts of Taoism, and is also the basic way of self-cultivation. As a political concept, Taoist thought that rulers’ excessive accomplishments ruined natural orders, disturbed the world, and scourged the people.
Wuwei required rulers to follow the Tao and let the people cultivate and develop by themselves. The theoretical foundation of Wuwei is the TAO and the virtual foundation is to shift “social chaos” to “being administrated”. The content of “Administrating with WUWEI” is “Wuwei then nothing unaccomplished”, and actual measure is to persuade rulers to disturb less the people and let the people “know nothing” and “desire nothing”, so that the people could go back to simplicity.
Tao-De, literally nowadays, means morality and virtue, however, Tao-De in the Scripture has separate meanings for Tao and De: Tao, the intrinsic laws of the universe, is the noumenon; De, abiding with Tao, is the application.
The Scripture totally contains 81 chapters, and the first 37 chapters expound the Tao, and the following 44 expound the De.
The Scripture’s basic framework is Tao-Heaven-Earth-Man, which is called “The Four-Big”. Man is born from the Earth, the Earth is born from the Heaven, and the Heaven is born from the Tao. Lao Zi expounds in the chapter 25 as “Human is lawed by the Earth, the Earth is lawed by the Heaven, the Heaven is lawed by the TAO, and the TAO is lawed by the Nature.” And among the Four-Big, only Man could subjectively go against Tao, and as an example in chapter 77, Lao Zi points out sharply: “So the heaven’s Tao decreases for the sufficient to supply the insufficient. But human’s Tao is not so: it decreases for the insufficient to supply the sufficient.” which reveals the deviation between the Haven’s Tao and the Human’s Tao, and perfectly explains why human suffers from wars and various kinds of crises. In chapter 3, Lao Zi proposes 3 solutions: “Advocating no celebrities, prizing no goodsin-shortage, and flaunting no desirables”. In chapter 5, moreover, Lao Zi summarizes the way of Wuwei: “Tian-Di (the Heaven & the Earth) matters no benevolence, taking all things as the straw-dogs. Neither does the Sage, who takes people as the straw-dogs.” Lao Zi’s Five-Thousand-Word in 2500 years ago is still the universal truth even for nowadays, and undeniably is eternally immutable, which is just as the saying in the Scripture “it stands alone without changing, and runs all around without end”.
The Scripture contains 81 chapters for whole.