Flowering of Goodness    

J Krishnamurti

Tao Te Ching

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Buddhist Classics

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Tao Te Ching
Book One



It is because arms are instruments of ill omen and there are Things that detest them that one who has the way does not abide by their use. The gentleman gives precedence to the left when at home, but to the right when he goes to war. Arms are instruments of ill omen, not the instruments of the gentleman. When one is compelled to use them, it is best to do so without relish. There is no glory in victory, and to glorify it despite this is to exult in the killing of men. One who exults in the killing of men will never have his way in the empire. On occasions of rejoicing precedence is given to the left; on occasions of mourning precedence is given to the right. A lieutenant's place is on the left; the general's place is on the right. This means that it is mourning rites that are observed. When great numbers of people are killed, one should weep over them with sorrow. When victorious in war, one should observe the rites of mourning.


     The way is forever nameless.
     Though the uncarved block is small
     No one in the world dare claim its allegiance.
     Should lords and princes be able to hold fast to it
     The myriad creatures will submit of their own accord,
     Heaven and earth will unite and sweet dew will fall,
     And the people will be equitable, though no one so decrees.
     Only when it is cut are there names.
     As soon as there are names
     One ought to know that it is time to stop.
     Knowing when to stop one can be free from danger.
The way is to the world as the River and the Sea are to rivulets and streams.


     He who knows others is clever;
     He who knows himself has discernment.
     He who overcomes others has force;
     He who overcomes himself is strong.
     He who knows contentment is rich;
     He who perseveres is a man of purpose;
     He who does not lose his station will endure;
     He who lives out his days has had a long life.


     The way is broad, reaching left as well as right.
     The myriad creatures depend on it for life yet it claims no authority.
     It accomplishes its task yet lays claim to no merit.
     It clothes and feeds the myriad creatures yet lays no claim to being their master.
Forever free of desire, it can be called small; yet, as it lays no claim to being master when the myriad creatures turn to it, it can be called great.
It is because it never attempts itself to be great that it succeeds in becoming great.


     Have in your hold the great image
     And the empire will come to you.
     Coming to you and meeting with no harm
     It will be safe and sound.
     Music and food
     Will induce the wayfarer to stop.
     The way in its passage through the mouth is without flavor.
     It cannot be seen,
     It cannot be heard,
     Yet it cannot be exhausted by use.

...Excerpt from the Tao Te Ching

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Daily Words of Wisdom