Someone just contacted me about a quotation I posted some time ago about humility and paying homage, and they asked me about the citation. OK, the quotation is actually mine, and it is derived from Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching Chapter 66:
"That whereby the rivers and seas are able to receive the homage and tribute of all the valley streams, is their skill in being lower than they;--it is thus that they are the kings of them all. So it is that the sage (ruler), wishing to be above men, puts himself by his words below them, and, wishing to be before them, places his person behind them."
Here is my paraphrasing:
“All rivers pay homage to the ocean for it lies lowest.”
Some have accused me of stealing from the great master, and I thought I had not. He is talking about leadership, I am talking about humility (though both are intertwined). I had been saying my river quotation for over 30 years, and could not remember where I first learned it! I has to be when I was in military school some 40 years ago and we studied both Sun Tzu (Art of War) and Lao Tzu. My interpretation is he is mightiest who lays lowest. I looked, and looked, and looked all over the Internet to see who might have said this before me and could not find anything, so I guess it is mine? I do not like plagiarizing, but I have never heard this quotation before stated this way….
So now you know….