Lao Tzu (Laozi) Biography
Lao Tzu or Laozi, who existed in the 6th century B.C, was the founder of the Chinese philosophical ‘School of the Tao’ or ‘Taoism’. He was known to be a contemporary of the great and the most revered Chinese teacher and philosopher ‘Confucius’, but some legends believe that they both were same person, whereas according to some he existed before Confucius. The origin and life of Laozi is extremely ambiguous and even after centuries of research very little is known about his life. Nevertheless, his teachings have been handed down through centuries and today his followers are manifold. Laozi’s philosophy was particularly known have been prominent during the Han Dynasty, though the philosopher lived in the Zhou Dynasty, the longest surviving dynasty in primeval China. It was in the Han Dynasty that Taoism was strongly established and was religiously followed. However, none of the original texts about Taoism have any reference about Laozi’s life. Due to less information, several speculations, confusions and also conflicts about the life and death of Laozi, have arisen in the past few decades. Many researchers are of the view that ‘Tao te ching’ the religious and philosophical book written by Laozi, was in fact not written by him alone. Some others are even of the opinion that the philosopher never existed and Laozi can be referred to any old wise man of the ancient China who preached philosophy.