Lao Tzu may be considered the first teacher of The Way.
The Dao that was left by him allowed Buddhism to take root in China. It was through the mystic teachings of the Tao Te Ching and what it expressed which allowed The Harmony of the Three Teachings to be accepted throughout all of east Asia.
Lao Tzu central teaching was how an Individual may become Onewith the Dao. Even in unfavorable circumstances, one with the understanding of the Dao may rest in the center where all actions and non-action converge.
Lao Tzu acts as a reminder for those who wish to reach this state of tranquility, no matter their current circumstances;