The text’s true authorship and date of composition or compilation are still debated. The oldest excavated portion dates back to the late 4th century BCE, but modern scholarship dates other parts of the text as having been written, or at least compiled later than the earliest portions of the Zhuangzi. The The tao de ching pdf Te Ching, along with the Zhuangzi, is a fundamental text for both philosophical and religious Taoism, and strongly influenced other schools, such as Legalism, Confucianism, and 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, and it is among the most translated works in world literature.