Lao Tzu was a Chinese philosopher and writer. He is the author of the Tao Te Ching, a short but influential book on philosophical and moral principles that has been translated into numerous languages and which continues to be popular today. His name means “Old Master.” He was a contemporary and friend of Confucius.
Philosopher lived from 604 BC to 531 BC. The exact year of his birth is unknown because he lived before the use of calendars in China. However, it is believed that he was born in 604 BC or 531 BC because references in his work suggest he lived a long life. According to legend, Lao Tzu was one of the disciples of Confucius and became an official in the court of Zhou King Wenwang (about 1099-1050 BC). Later, he resigned from public office when he refused to take part in an unjust war against the kingdom of Chu.
In later years Lao Tzu became disillusioned with politics and retired as a hermit at Mount Jing (Jingshan) near Jingzhou city in Hubei province where he wrote his famous work Tao Te Ching (The Way and its Power). The date when this happened is uncertain but it may have been around 500 BC. There are some stories about how Lao Tzu came to write Tao Te Ching. One says that he wrote it while he was hiding from a war at age 80; another says that it was written by him after he left public life and went into seclusion at age 90; another story says that it was written by his disciples after he died.