Lao Tse — Tao Te Ching

30. A ruler faithful to Tao will not send an army to a foreign country. This would cause calamity to such a ruler in the first place.*

The land where an army has passed becomes desolate. After a war, lean years come.

A wise commander is never bellicose. A wise warrior never gets angry. The one who can defeat an enemy does not attack. The one who has achieved victory stops and does not do violence to the defeated enemies. The victorious do not praise themselves. They win but do not feel proud. They do not like to wage wars. They win because they are forced to fight. Though they win, they are not bellicose.

If man, in the prime of life, begins to weaken and gets ill, this happens only because of living in disharmony with Tao. The life of such a person ends before the due time.

31. Weapons are a means that cause affliction, they must be discarded.

Therefore, the one who follows Tao does not use weapons.

Good leaders are yielding. They use power for defense only. They exert every effort to maintain peace.

To glorify oneself with a military victory means to rejoice over killing people. Is it right to respect those who are glad about killing?

Respect leads to wellbeing. Wellbeing contributes to the creative process.

Violence leads to afflictions.

If many people are killed, it is a grievous event. The victory has to be “celebrated” with a funeral ceremony.

32. Tao is eternal and has no human appearance.

Though Tao is a tender Being, no one in the whole world can subjugate It.

If the nobility and rulers of a country lived in harmony with Tao, the common people would be peaceful and calm. The sky and the earth would unite in harmony, prosperity and wellbeing would come, people would quiet down without orders!

For the sake of establishing order in a country, laws are created. Yet, the laws must not be too severe.

Tao is like the ocean. The ocean is lower than all rivers, yet all rivers flow into it.

33. The one who knows people is reasonable. The one who has cognized oneself is enlightened.** The one who can conquer enemies is strong. The one who has conquered oneself*** is powerful.

The one who has material wealth is rich. The one who acts resolutely possesses willpower. The one who indulges one’s own desires is weak and foolish.

The one who attains Mergence with Tao and does not lose it also attains the Highest Beingness. After the death of the body, such a person continues to live in Tao as truly Immortal.


At least, according to the law of karma.

*I.e., the one who has cognized one’s own multidimensional organism.

**I.e., the one who has conquered one’s own vices, including their base (the lower self with its egocentrism).


To be continue.

Classics of Spiritual Philosophy and the Present

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