He came from a minor family which was wealthy because of its control over salt mines. Lao Tzu believed that there is no corruption in material wealth, but that it could lead to corruption of the spirit. He believed that man should make his life meaningful by serving others rather than by accumulating wealth.
Lao Tzu lived in China during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) which was marked by constant warring states vying for power. He taught his followers to be simple, content with their lot, and not to desire anything beyond what they had. Lao Tzu's writings were popular among Chinese intellectuals during the Warring States Period but lost popularity after his death because of their lack of political ramifications.
Most copies of the Tao Te Ching were destroyed during the burning of books during Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Qin dynasty (221-207 BC). During the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), however, his ideas again became popular because members of the Han court adopted Taoist practices as part of their own culture. The term "Taoist" is used to describe people who follow these practices today
The Tao Te Ching consists of 86 verses written by Lao Tzu between 300 BC and 300 AD.
It is often translated as "The Book of Tao". This translation has led to some confusion because there are other books also called The Book of Tao, e.g., one by Chuang Tzu, another by Chuang Tzu's father Chuang Chou, etc., but all are different authors writing about different things. Many scholars believe that all are different versions of one work or at least part of one work even though they may have been written over a long period of time.
Some scholars believe that these versions are not authentic versions at all but forgeries added later for political reasons or for religious reasons or for whatever reason other scholars may believe.
The ancient text is divided into four sections: I - The Way; II - The Virtue; III - The Greatness; IV - Miscellaneous Chapters, including Recluse Songs, Songs about Rainbows, Songs