February 10th, 2013

  • trevoke


Good weapons are instruments of fear; all creatures hate them.
Therefore followers of Tao never use them.
The wise man prefers the left.
The man of war prefers the right.

Weapons are instruments of fear; they are not a wise man's tools.
He uses them only when he has no choice.
Peace and quiet are dear to his heart,
And victory no cause for rejoicing.
If you rejoice in victory, then you delight in killing;
If you delight in killing, you cannot fulfill yourself.

On happy occasions precedence is given to the left,
On sad occasions to the right.
In the army the general stands on the left,
The commander-in-chief on the right.
This means that war is conducted like a funeral.
When many people are being killed,
They should be mourned in heartfelt sorrow.
That is why a victory must be observed like a funeral.
Weapons are terrible things.
If you want to get right with Tao,
reject weapons.

The Master,
knowing all things came from Tao,
recognizes what he has in common
with his enemies
and always tries to avoid conflict.

But when there is no other choice,
he uses force reluctantly.
He does so with great restraint,
and never celebrates a victory;
to do so would be to rejoice in killing.
A person who would rejoice in killing
has completely lost touch with Tao.

When you win a war,
you preside over a funeral.
Pay your respects to the dead.

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.

Chapter 31

31.1 Fine weapons are instruments of ill omen:
       people may despise them,
       so those with the Way do not dwell with them.
31.2 Therefore the place of honor for the cultured is on the left,
       while the honored place for the martialist is on the right.
31.3 Weapon, being instruments of ill omen, are not the tools of the cultured,
       who use them only when unavoidable.
31.4 They consider it best to be aloof;
       they win without beautifying it.
       Those who beautify it enjoy killing people.
       Those who enjoy killing cannot get their will of the world.
31.5 The left is favored for auspicious things, the right for things of ill omen:
       so the subordinate general is on the left, the top general on the right.
       That means when you are in ascendancy of power
       you handle it as you would a mourning.
31.6 When you have killed many people,
       you weep for them in sorrow.
       When you win a war, you celebrate by mourning.

Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation