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Losing the Way 30-31 Printer friendly page Print This
By Lao Tzu. Tao Te Ching
Tao Te Ching (Translation by David Hinton)
Saturday, Jan 18, 2014


If you use the Way to help a ruler of people
you never use weapons to coerce all beneath heaven.
Such things always turn against you.

fields where soldiers camp
turn to thorns and bramble,
and vast armies on the march
leave years of misery behind.

The noble prevail if they must, then stop:
they never press on to coerce the world.

Prevail, but never presume.
Prevail, but never boast.
Prevail, but never exult.
Prevail, but never when there's another way.
This is to prevail without coercing.

Things grown strong soon grow old.
This is called losing the Way.
Lose the Way and you die young.


Auspicious weapons are the tools of misfortune.
Things may not all despise such tools,
but a master of the Way stays clear of them.

The noble-minded treasure the left when home
and the right when taking up weapons of war.

Weapons are tools of misfortune,
not tools of the noble minded.
When there's no other way,
they take up weapons with tranquil calm,
finding no glory in victory.

To find glory in victory
is to savor killing people,
and if you savor killing people
you'll never guide all beneath heaven.

We honor the left in celebrations
and honor the right in lamentations,
so captains stand on the left
and generals on the right.
But use them both as if conducting a funeral.

When so many people are being killed
it should be done with tears and mourning.
And victory too should be conducted like a funeral.


Transcribed by Axis of Logic from the book, Tao Te Ching as translated by David Hinton. First Paperback Edition 2002, Counterpoint Press.

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