Monday, November 11, 2013

Inspired by Tao Te Ching - chapter 31


夫佳兵者,不祥之器,物或惡之,故有道者不處。君子居則貴左,用兵則貴右。兵者不祥之器,非君 子之器,不得已而用之,恬淡為上。勝而不美,而美之者,是樂 殺人。夫樂殺人者,則不可以得志於天下矣。吉事尚左,凶事尚右。偏將軍居左,上將軍居右,言以喪禮處之。殺人之衆,以哀悲泣之,戰勝以喪禮處之。

My translation of chapter 31 of Tao Te Ching:

Building a strong army is
Bad omen
Beware beware
An enlightened sage will leave the place.

A virtuous man treasures one thing
An army general treasures another
Army is ominous in nature
Foreign to a virtuous man.

When unavoidable
Care to use minimal force
Winning is not beautiful
Those who beautifies winning
Beautifies killing
Those who beautifies killing
Cannot win the heart of his neighbors and people.

Good fortune follows one course of action
Bad luck follows another
A cautious general takes the first course
An aggressive one takes the second
Those who take the second should be buried.

If a general killed many people
We weep with grieve for him
If a general won a war
We welcome him with his funeral procession.

Paul's comment: Many of us are lucky to be living in a place where disagreements are settled by argument, logic and mutual respect. Unfortunately there are still places where people will be jailed for voicing different opinions, being dissidents or minorities in their own country; or being neighbors to regimes that value armed confrontation more than peaceful solution of disagreements. Although we have progressed a lot since the time of Lao Zi, there is still a lot to improve.

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