Great Philosopher of China, Lao Tzu ‘s wisdom on environment protection


The increasing events of the serious natural disasters of flood, typhoon earthquake and tsunami incidents happened since last 10 years all over the world and especially in Asia pacific region had given us the warming wake up call. The wake up call of rethinking of our inner self , value of consumption /life style and material development that we peruse in the so call modern age of human kind.

The projection of so called modern, civilized material development and lifestyle of capitalism framework had led us to live life alike the machine of desires and consumption. In order to feed our endless material desires and consumption, we will endless “utilize-exploit whatever natural resources in the universe to feed our greed. The result of this greediness of human kind, we eventually have to face the tremendous tragedy that we refer as natural disaster (“human -make natural disasters“) in recent years. These tragedies had caused deep sufferings to all beings on this universe.

Far back to 2500 years ago, there was a great Chinese philosopher (who is also the founder of the Taoism Philosophy school in China) ,老子- Lao Tzu , he had propagated many great wisdom thoughts that we can contemplate, especially in the midst of this age of great natural disasters.

He had propagated the thought of “天人合一” in his <<德道经》 Tao De Jing. This thought promote the wisdom of “无为、不争、清静、自然”. This thought mainly aims to appeal to human beings to be humble in front of the nature. Be aware that we are only a small part of universe. We have to respect the nature and the law of nature, especially not to harm nature. If we harm the nature, the human society will experience the even bad impact due to its ignorance and arrogance. Therefore, 老子- Lao Tzi is considered as one of great Chinese environmentalist philosopher and advocate .

Practically, he also promoted the environment protection /resource conservation concept of 3 R: Reduce, Reuse and recycle. He always mentioned: 常善救物,故無棄物。」(常常珍惜萬物,所以沒有無用之物,27章.)

If we really practice the attitude of resource conservation, we will not simply throw away the resource that we use. Instead, we will be re-used it.

In particularly ,his view on 无为 -“ wu wei” is a great wisdom thought that we can together reflect upon, especially in this era of greediness -desirousness and over consumption age of modern capitalism age that caused sufferings to our earth and nature.

One of the best story that provoke us to rethink the idea of value- ” usefulness” and “no value- un useful”.

There was a time, one of the Lao Tzi’s student asked the teacher,: as they saw many trees at the forest were being cut away . The student pointed at one of the old tree and said:’ this old tree is useless one, it has no value quality, that’s why it is not being cut. The rest were cut and being used for consumption”.

Lao Tzi told the student that it was not true.

The old tree that seems to be useless and valueless was the actual “useful” and “valuable” one in this forest.


Because of this old tree is useless and no value in the eye of human kind. It was saved from being cut away. And its remained there safely to protect the earth and nature. The land of the forest was protected by the tree as it supported the balance of the nature. Due to this, this old tree had helped the land and universe, including human kind save from facing natural disaster.

The  wisdom of this story remind us to rethink about our endless desires, greediness and clinging to endless consumptions that shape our thoughts that had harm the nature and all sentient beings in this universe.

We tend to make all available natural resources to be “useful;” and “valuable” feeding our lifestyle harming nature and others. Also, we eventually judge the “useful” and “valuable” of a person base on their material possession and whether they are successful person.

Therefore it is time for us to reflect the wisdom of the taught of Lau Tzi..

More information: & refrence :




2 Responses to “Great Philosopher of China, Lao Tzu ‘s wisdom on environment protection”

  1. sloone Says:

    why so ngam one? only last night, i did a painting on the ‘Tao’. See here:

    or here:

    • trinleychodron Says:

      hmmm ths piece had been written many weeks ago and not posted.
      yesterday finally posted it. :)))
      maybe the universe had sent us message of “tao” – 🙂

      lao tzi was one of the best favourate sage that i used to study in university and youg time. between confucios and others, i like his thought the most.
      u wll find all the message of dharma also.

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