Laozi (ca. 6th century B.C.)Laozi (ca. 6th century B.C.) - One of the earliest religions of Chinese origin was founded by Laozi (or Lao-Tzu), known as Taoism. While little may be known about the lives of Sun-Tzu and Confucius, even less is known about Laozi. The dates of his life are unknown, though it is commonly accepted that he lived in the 6th century B.C.. That would, interestingly, make him a contemporary of the two aforementioned individuals (three of China's most memorable figures whose lives partially overlapped). Because there is so much uncertainty about his life, it has been speculated that he could be a composite of several individuals or that he might even be a mythical figure altogether. No extensive narrative of him exists until Sima Qian's historical account four centuries later. Of course, his legacy is Taoism and the authoritative work of Taoism is called the Tao Te Ching. The oldest known copy dates from the 4th century B.C. and was written on bamboo tablets. However, although the Tao Te Ching is only ascribed to Laozi, there is no proof he is the author. The term Tao means "way" or "path" and Taoism is the practice of learning how to exist in harmony with one's Tao. The most famous concept of Taoism is the presence of the yin and yang in virtually every aspect of life. That is, for everything that exists, there exists an opposite as well. Good and evil, darkness and light, male and female, etc.; whatever exists, an opposite force is necessary to balance it out. Despite the lack of any concrete evidence, tradition holds that Laozi and Confucius famously met on at least one occasion. Laozi warned Confucius about being too outspoken and that doing so could get him into trouble. If the tradition is correct, then the warning proved to be true as Confucius did indeed get into trouble with various authorities in China. As far as we know, Taoism and Confucianism never really conflicted with one another as one was considered a spiritual quest and the other was more of an ideological philosophy.