Sage

In Short:

One who lives in harmony with Tao and possesses the ability to convey this knowledge to others either by example or instruction.

In more detail:

Sage is a delicate word. When it was originally used in the Tao, it was probably meant to signify something pretty specific. However, because we don’t think this definition necessarily meant to exclude how we come to understand Tao, we have widened our understanding of what Sage means.

Throughout the Tao Te Ching, the Sage is the voice and actions of Lao-tzu, imploring the ruler to rule according to Tao. In historical context, the Sage was a role, a political advisor to ruling elite. As a comparison, you might see similarity in purpose (how one can rule), though not method, between Lao Tzu and Machiavelli, who advises the Prince.

For our purposes, the Sage is one who lives in harmony with Tao and possesses the ability to convey this knowledge to others either by example or instruction. Of course there are those who have never heard the word Tao, yet could still be said to live in harmony with it.

Be wary of those who self-apply the term.

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