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Clear Instructions

 

Disciplines > WarfareThe Six Secret Teachings > 1.5 Clear Instructions

Teaching set  | Observed lessons | Discussion | See also

 

Teaching set

Civil Secret Teachings 1.5 (5)

Observed lessons

  • The tao stops when you sanction things about which you are doubtful or when you fail to act when it is needed.
  • The tao begins when you are soft and quiet, dignified and respectful, tolerant yet hard.

Discussion

The title 'Clear Instructions' is about the king asking the sage for clear instructions on how live.

The question 'what is Tao' is a difficult one. At a grand level, it is the absolute principle underlying order in the universe. It is the root of Taoism. And most of all, it is practical guidance in how to live in harmony with the world.

Literally, 'tao' means 'the path' or 'the way'. It can also mean 'discipline'.

The book Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tsu says much about the Tao. It is related to Buddhism in its peaceful intent and preaching of tolerance, simplicity and humility.

It includes the duality of yin and yang, where each is contained deep within the other and each defines the other. Hence within soft there is hard, and within hard there is soft, as may be found in the forms of Tai Chi.

The path of a great leader is followed like the path of a warrior, sensing the way and flowing with the forces around. Tao is ineffable, inexpressible, yet essential and ultimate. We can never fully define it, yet we constantly strive towards it.

See also

 

 

Sawyer, R.D. (1993). The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Basic Books

 

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