Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Chapter 69
No Enemy

The best military experts advise:
Retreat when not strong enough to advance,
Advance when your opponent not strong enough to attack.
March without moving,
Roll up your sleeves without flexing your muscles,
Be strong and powerful without weapons,

Give an attacker no opponent -
Nothing is worse than attacking what yields,
To attack and find no enemy.
Aggression destroys our greatest treasure.
When opponents are evenly matched,
The most compassionate prevails.

Commentary

“If you propose to speak always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth

Themes: Kindness

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“Generals who advance with no thought of fame, who retreat with no fear of punishment, who think only of protecting their country and helping their king are the treasures of the realm.”

Sun Tzu 孙武 544 – 496 BCE via Denma Translation Group
(Sun Zi)
HIstory's supreme strategist
from Art of War 孙子兵法

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“Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.”

Euripides 480 – 406 BCE
Ancient humanitarian influence continuing today

Themes: Love

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“If thou sustain injustice, console thyself; the true unhappiness is in doing it”

Democritus Dēmókritos 460 – 370 BCE
Father of modern science and greatest of ancient philosophers

Themes: Justice

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“Mortals go to war so that they can inherit dust, their vision distorted by the lie that they value which is nothing.”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE via Didymos Thomas
from Gospel According to Thomas

Themes: War Lies

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“Those who are remorseful sympathize with their opponents. They try not to gain an advantage but to avoid injury. Hence, they always win.”

Wang Bi 王弼 226 – 534 CE

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“He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.”

Augustine ɔːɡəstiːn 354 – 430 CE
(Saint Augustine, Saint Austin, Augustine of Hippo)

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“Those who meet resistance with agreement, toil with relaxation pride with humility, and action with stillness have no enemy. Wherever they go, the conquer.”

Lu Huiqing 1031 – 1111 CE

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“No one is to be called an enemy, all are your benefactors, and no one does you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves.”

Francis of Assisi 1181 – 1226 CE

Themes: Projection

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“O night to me more splendid and more blessed than the most blessed and most splendid of days… you've made the bitter taste of this life sweet and dear.”

Gaspara Stampa 1523 – 1554 CE via Jane Tylus
from The Complete Poems

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“whichever one is remorseful and compassionate will win. For the Way of Heaven is to love life and to help those who are compassionate to overcome their enemies.”

Deqing 1546 – 1623 CE
(Te-Ch’ing)

Themes: Compassion

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“Never take things against the grain… Everything has a smooth and a seamy side. The best of weapons wounds if taken by the blade, while the enemy’s spear may be our best protection if taken by the staff.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE

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“Virtue is its own reward, vice its own punishment.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs, #90
from Art of Worldly Wisdom

Themes: Virtue Evil

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“If a person has compassion, they are a Buddha.”

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol ཞབས་དཀར་ཚོགས་དྲུག་རང་གྲོལ། 1781 – 1851 CE
from Flight of the Garuda

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“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”

George Sand 1804 – 1876 CE
(Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin)

Themes: Love

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“There has never been a just [war], never an honorable one--on the part of the instigator of the war… Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked… and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

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“But the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself.”

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844 – 1900 CE

Themes: Projection

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“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”

Winston Churchill 1874 – 1965 CE

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“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”

Teilhard de Chardin 1881 – 1955 CE via Bernard Wall
from Divine Milieu

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“It’s embarrassing to tell you this, but it seems to come down mostly to just learning to be kinder.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE

Themes: Kindness

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“I cared more about the fundamental way of thinking that causes war. This is why I didn’t like the nationalists in Japan. Their view was very one-sided and unrealistic… They created tremendous problems.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE

Themes: War Nationalism

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“Now that man has acquired the physical means of self-obliteration, the question of peace obviously looms larger than ever before in human history. And how could peace be built without some assurance of permanence with regard to our economic life?”

E. F. Schumacher 1911 – 1977 CE
The “People's Economist”

Themes: Peace

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“The prize thrown away by the aggressor is compassion.”

Ursula Le Guin 1929 – 2018 CE

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“The prize thrown away by the aggressor is compassion.”

Ursula Le Guin 1929 – 2018 CE
from Lao Tzu - A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way

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“The foundation of the Buddha's teachings lies in compassion, and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”

Dalai Lama XIV Tenzin Gyatso 1935 CE –

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“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

Pema Chödrön 1936 CE –
(Deirdre Blomfield-Brown)
First American Vajrayana nun

Themes: Compassion

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“It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love.”

John Lennon 1940 – 1980 CE

Themes: Love

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“Hell is merely the perception of your own aggression.”

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche རྫོང་གསར་ འཇམ་དབྱངས་ མཁྱེན་བརྩེ་ རིན་པོ་ཆེ། 1961 CE –
(Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche)
"Activity" incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
from What Makes You Not a Buddhist

Themes: Hate Aggression

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“One who desires victory over others perpetuates a cycle of resistance and violence that only decrease one’s likelihood of survival.”

Yi-Ping Ong 1978 CE –
from Tao Te Ching - Introduction and Notes

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