In Western philosophy, the GOLDEN MEAN is the middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency. Nothing in Excess – was one of the phrases carved into the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.
Lao Tse, Pantangali, Confucius and Buddha were all great teachers and masters. They were "contemporaries" circa 500 bce. Each shared an innate understanding and the means to attain inner equilibrium.
Pantangali wrote the Yoga Sutras. These sutras brought together ancient Vedic texts to explain how to attain the middle path and a state of perfectly integrated consciousness through an ascetic life filled with meditation, prayer, deprival, exercise (hatha yoga), and other disciplines.
Lao Tse and "his" Tao te Ching teaches the TAO, whose essence is unfathomable. The term Tao, meaning the Way, teaches that change is the most basic and constant character of everything. Action within non-action and connection to the universal energy – Qi – is the key to attaining harmony.
In Buddhism this is known as the MIDDLE WAY, a path between the extremes of indulgence and asceticism. The ultimate aim is to end the cycles of birth, pain, suffering and death by attaining Nirvana. Nirvana is a state of complete connection to the universal energy where all the causes and conditions responsible for rebirth and suffering have been eliminated.
Confucius taught the DOCTRINE OF THE MIDDLE where moderation, virtue, impartiality, sincerity, honesty and good manners were considered the basis of a good life. One practiced the inherent rules of conduct between parents and children, husband and wife, and ruler and subject. A balanced and honorable person was the foundation of a peaceful home and the basis of an orderly state. Confucius emphasized that treating the society makes the individual healthy and treating the individual allows society to flourish.