The Tao Te Ching or Dao De Jing (道德經), whose authorship has been attributed to Laozi, is a Chinese classic text. Its name comes from the opening words of its two sections: 道 dào “way,” Chapter 1, and 德 dé “virtue,” Chapter 38, plus 經 jīng “classic.” According to tradition, it was written around the 6th century BC by the sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, “Old Master”), a record-keeper at the Zhou Dynasty court, by whose name the text is known in China. The text’s true authorship and date of composition or compilation are still debated.
The Tao Te Ching, Dao De Jing or Daodejing is fundamental to the Philosophical Daoism (Daojia (Pinyin: Dàojiā) 道家) and strongly influenced other schools, such as Legalism and Neo-Confucianism. This ancient book is also central in Chinese religion, not only for Religious Daoism (Daojiao (Pinyin: Dàojiào) 道教) but Chinese Buddhism, which when first introduced into China was largely interpreted through the use of Daoist words and concepts. Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and even gardeners have used the Daodejing as a source of inspiration. Its influence has also spread widely outside East Asia, aided by hundreds of translations into Western languages.
Definition courtesy Wikipedia.