A probably mythical Chinese philosopher, long honoured in China as the founder of Daoism. He is said to have beaten Confucius, reputedly his junior, in debate. The Daodejing (Dao Te Ching), which dates from about the 3rd century bc (about 300 years after Confucius), was attributed to him. The Dao is defined as the source of all being, in which life and death are the same. Daoists seek unity with the Dao through ‘unmotivated action’, allowing events to take their natural course. Daoists later claimed he was an immortal who left China for India, where he converted the Buddha to Daoism.