The Tao (Gorn-Old)

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The man who aids the King by use of Tao forces the people into submission without resort to the use of arms. He will not regard the fruit of his actions. Prickly briars and thorns flourish where battalions have quartered. Bad years follow on the heels of armies in motion. The good soldier is brave when occasion requires, but he does not risk himself for power. Brave is he when occasion requires, but he does not oppress. Brave is he when occasion requires, but he does not boast. Brave is he when occasion requires, but he is not mean. Brave is he when occasion requires, but he does not rage. Things become old through excess of vigour. This is called Non-Tao; and what is Non-Tao is soon wasted!


Weapons, however ornamental, are not a source of happiness, but are dreaded by all. Therefore the man of Tao will not abide where such things are. A respectable man at home sets the place of honour at his left hand; but the warrior on going forth to battle gives honour to the right hand. For weapons are things of ill omen, and the man of enlightenment does not use them except when he cannot help it. His great desire is peace, and he does not take joy in conquest. To joy in conquest is to joy in the loss of human life. He who joys in bloodshed is not fit to govern the country. When affairs are prosperous the left side is preferred, but when things are adverse the right is esteemed. The adjutant-general is therefore on the left side, while the general-in-chief is on the right. This I perceive is the manner also observed at a funeral! He who has occasion to kill many people has cause for deep sorrow and tears. Therefore a victorious army observes the order of a funeral.


Tao the absolute has no name. But although insignificant in its original simplicity, the world does not presume to bemean it. If a king could lay hold on it, the world would of itself submit to him. Heaven and Earth would conspire to nourish him. The peopole without pressure would peacefully fall into their own places. If he should dispose them by titles and names, he would be making a name for himself. Yet he would wisely stop short of the name, and thus avoid the evil of distinctions. Tao is to the world what the streams and valleys are to the great rivers and seas.


He is wise who knows others. He who knows himself is enlightened. He is strong who conquers others. He who conquers himself is mighty. He is rich who is well satisfied. He walks fast who has an object. He who fills his place remains secure. He who dies without being corrupted enjoys a good old age.


Mighty Tao is all pervading. It is simultaneously on this side and on that. All living things subsist from it, and all are in its care. It works, it finishes, and knows not the name of merit. In love it nurtures all things, and claims no excellence therein. It knows neither ambition nor desire. It can be classed with the humblest of things. All things finally revert to it, and it is not thereby increased. It can be mentioned with the greatest of things. Thus does the wise man continually refrain from self-distinction.


Attain to the Great Idea, and all the world will flock to you. It will flock to you and will not be hurt therein, for it will rest in a wonderful peace. Where there is a festival the wayfarer will stay. To the palate the Tao is insipid and tasteless. In regarding it the eye is not impressed. In listening to it the ear is not filled. But in its uses it is inexhaustible.

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