Laozi ; Wade–Giles: Lao Tzu; also romanized as Lao Tse, Lao Tu, Lao-Tsu, Laotze, Laosi, Laocius, and other variations) (fl. 6th century BCE) was a philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching (often simply referred to as Laozi). His association with the Tào Té Chīng has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of philosophical Taoism (pronounced as “Daoism”). He is also revered as a deity in most religious forms of Taoist philosophy, which often refers to Laozi as Taishang Laojun, or “One of the Three Pure Ones“.
According to Ch’ien, Lao-tzu was born in the state of Ch’u, and his birthplace was in the nowadays Ho-nan province. He was a curator at the Royal Library when he met Confucius to talk about rites. This conversation offers much insight into the huge differences between Taoists and Confucians.
Lao-tzu surname was Li; his name was Erh (meaning ear) – this is why we find him also under the name of Li Erh.
As for the name “Lao-tzu” it is only a nickname meaning the Old Philosopher of Sage.