06 June 2011

Thirty-One

Even the finest weapons are instruments of ill omen,
hated and feared by all creatures.
Observers of Tao have no use for them.

At home, a man of virtue gives precedence to the left.
At war, he gives precedence to the right.

Weapons are not the tools of a man of virtue.
Weapons are instruments of fear,
to be employed as a last resort.
Do not relish their use, or admire their excellence.

To see weapons as excellent is to relish killing.
If you relish killing, you will never find the Way.

On joyful occasions, precedence is give to the left.
On sad occasions, precedence is given to the right.

When an army is arrayed, the general is placed on the left.
The commander-in-chief is placed on the right.
Thus, war is conducted as a funeral right.

When multitudes are being killed,
hold in your heart only sorrow.
When victory is achieved,
mark it with mourning.