Chapter of the Week: #31 [Archive]

Well, I'm not going to read into your poll or over-analyse your questions, though I'm tempted, I'll just answer 'em off the top of my head. And my answers would be:

1) Yes
2) Yes
3) Yes


  • edited March 2006
    Each week we address one chapter of the Tao Te Ching. Chapter 31 was originally featured on the 2nd week in August, 2004.

    Note: The Tao Te Ching can be obscure, especially if you think you're supposed to understand what it's saying! We find it easier and more instructive to simply contemplate how the chapter resonates with your personal experience. Becoming more aware at this fundamental level simplifies life. This approach conforms to the view that true knowing lies within ourselves. Thus, when a passage in the scripture resonates, you've found your inner truth. The same applies for when it evokes a question; questions are the grist for self realization.

    Chapter 31
    It is because arms are instruments of ill omen and there are Things that
    detest them that one who has the way does not abide by their use.

    The gentleman gives precedence to the left when at home, but to the right
    when he goes to war. Arms are instruments of ill omen, not the instruments of
    the gentleman. When one is compelled to use them, it is best to do so without
    relish. There is no glory in victory, and to glorify it despite this is to
    exult in the killing of men. One who exults in the killing of men will never
    have his way in the empire.

    On occasions of rejoicing precedence is given to the left; on occasions of
    mourning precedence is given to the right. A lieutenant's place is on the left;
    the general's place is on the right. This means that it is mourning rites that
    are observed.

    When great numbers of people are killed, one should
    weep over them with sorrow. When victorious in
    war, one should observe the rites of mourning.
  • edited December 1969
    The most meaningful part of this chapter for me is, There is no glory in victory, and to glorify it despite this is to exult in the killing of men. This can easily be extended to include any type of gain or success, for one person's gain necessarily means something else losses. This applies right down to the carrots I pick from my garden to eat. My eating them (gain for my life) means their loss (death). Not that I should feel guilty about killing my carrots. But, to do so without a sense of the dynamics - the 'gift' - involved would be my 'loss'. Being aware of the sacrifice that must always come when I gain anything gives me a deeper sense of connection to the 'whole'. To maintain such awareness require some a constant reflection on my part. The more a purely biological / instinctive state of 'awareness' takes hold of me, the more I glorify and exult in any gain that comes my way. This 'awareness' causes me to feel isolated from the 'whole' and constantly contend to keep my head above the water, so to speak. So, I do have a deep incentive to appreciate 'this', for 'this' is what gives me peace.
  • edited December 1969
    I like this one. brings several things to mind-I've always believed that everything has a, for want of a better word, soul. There is a force in every object, man, nature, everything, that transfers when that thing dies, is used, or consumed. We have a responsibility to honor that force, to use that energy gained from that object, in our lives afterwards.
    There's a name for this belief, but I cant recall what it is right now (some would say 'uh, yeah, that name is 'caa-razzy'!'

    and when Lincoln heard that the South had surrendered during the Civil War, he ordered the White House band to play 'Dixie'... No glory in victory
Sign In or Register to comment.