The Chinese approach their philosophy from a different viewpoint. Their concern is understanding morality and ethics rather than how the world is put together.
So what did he teach?
That knowledge of oneself is true wisdom, knowing others is wisdom.
The Chinese see the world on a cyclical basis...that it continued changes from one state to another. All changes are related to each other so as day turns to night, or the seasons change..it's all interconnected.
This process of change is called the DAO. And this leads to the 10,000 manifestations that make up what is called the world. Humans are just one of the many manifestations and are nothing special.
BUT humans being who we are... we mess up the harmonious balance of the world. Our desire and free will lead us away from the path of the DAO, and only by living a virtuous life can we act in accordance to the Dao.
But following the Dao isn't as simple as that. we can't really understand the Dao. We can really only live according to the Dao but utilizing Wu Wei (which means non-action). So we are not to make choices about how we live, but more that we are to live in accordance with Nature....spontaneously and intuitively. If we do this we are acting without desire, ambition or recourse to social conventions.
It's a whole cycle you see?
Live by the Dao (the source of all things) but not acting (wu wei) but living in a thoughtful, harmonious way, that is not self-serving, but living within what nature decrees (which we know intuitively). Then we are living a life of mediation and peace. It's a simple, tranquil life.
My thoughts as a Christian:
It's hard to wrap my head around this philosophy... Living in harmony without acting.
I do wish it were easy like that.
As a believer I want God to fill me more and more so that I live more and more in accordance to who he is. This is my goal. But to get there I have to know God more and more (this takes intent). I don't quite understand how those who follow Laozi's teachings) could learn to live this type of life without being intentional about learning how to live this way? Non-action implies lack of intent. So it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
I can't agree that humans are nothing special. We are made in the very image of God. This makes us special. And we aught to remember that. :)
But I don't know... parts of it make sense to me. That desire to live in harmony with the source.... That's the need for God right there.