Chapters 67-69, 30-31 of the Simplified Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Part 18= Virtues in Adversity= Patience, Frugality, Humility

September 11, 2021

Chapter 67= Patience, Frugality, Humility

1 All the world says that, while my Tao or personal True Nature is great, it appears to be inferior to other systems of teaching.

But it is just its greatness that makes it seem to be inferior. If it were like any other system, only its smallness would be known for a long time!

2 But I have three precious things which I prize:

  • Frugality
  • Shrinking from taking precedence of others

3 With that patience I can be bold.

  • With that frugality I can be spend a lot.
  • Shrinking from taking precedence of others, I can become a vessel of the highest honour.

Nowadays, they:

  • give up patience and are all for being rash
  • give up frugality and are all for spending a lot
  • give up being the last and seek only to be first

Death is the last effect of all of these.

4 Patience is sure to be victorious even in battle, and can firmly maintain its ground. Heaven will save its possessor, by his very patience protecting him.

Chapter 68= The Proper Way to Deal with Adversity

The sage:

  • has skill in the Tao’s wars, but assumes no martial ability
  • fights with most good, but will not resort to rage
  • never contends, and this is his strength
  • bends Men’s wills to make them unite and matches Heaven’s ends

Chapter 69= The Defensive War

1 A master of the art of war has said:

'I do not dare to start the war. I prefer to act on the defensive. I do not dare to advance an inch. I prefer to retire a foot.'
This is called: - 'marshalling the ranks where there are no ranks' - 'baring the arms to fight where there are no arms to bare' - 'grasping the weapon where there is no weapon to grasp' - 'advancing against the enemy where there is no enemy'
2 There greatest calamity is to lightly engage in war. This will lead to loss the loss of patience, which is most precious. When the weapons clash, the conqueror wins, but deplores his enemy's calamitous loss.

### Chapter 31= Weapons are Evil 1 Weapons, however beautiful, are instruments of evil omen. These are hateful to all creatures. Therefore, they who have the Tao or True Nature do not like to employ them.
2 The superior man ordinarily considers the left hand the most honourable place, but in time of war the right hand. Those sharp weapons are instruments of evil omen, and not the instruments of the superior man, who uses them only when necessary. Instead, he uses calm and repose. Victory by force of arms is to him undesirable. It is not desirable for him to delight in the slaughter of men. He who delights in the slaughter of men cannot get his will in the kingdom.
3 On occasions of festivity, being on the left hand is the prized position. On occasions of mourning, the right hand. - The second in command of the army has his place on the left. - The general commanding in chief has his on the right. - His place, that is, is assigned to him as in the rites of mourning. He who has killed many should weep for them with the bitterest grief. The victor in battle has his place according to those rites.

### Chapter 30= Restraint 1 He who assists a leader to be in harmony with the Tao or True Nature will not assert his mastery in the kingdom by force of arms. Such a course is sure to meet with its proper return.
2 Wherever a host is stationed, briars and thorns spring up. In the sequence of great armies, there are sure to be bad years.
3 A skilful commander strikes a decisive blow, and stops. He does not dare to continue his operations to assert and complete his mastery. He will strike the blow, but will be on his guard against being vain, boastful, or arrogant in consequence of it. He strikes it as a matter of necessity.
4 When things have attained their strong maturity they become old. This is not in accordance with the Tao. What is not in accordance with it soon comes to an end.

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