Tao 69

There is a saying that should govern conflicts large and small:
“It is better to stay home and be ready for trouble than to go out and start it.
It is better to yield an entire foot and avoid losses
Than to risk health and happiness in advancing an inch.”

This sentiment is often forgotten.
After all, we do not call it offence, but defence,
Which should be characterized by the following:
Marching on the spot rather than into a bloody war;
Rolling up your sleeves in preparation but not flashing your arms in provocation;
Having the ability to fight, but not wishing to do so;
Repelling your enemy without having to meet them in battle.

There is no greater mistake than looking for a fight.
Human life is a treasure, whether it is your enemy’s or your own.
Those who forget this cause great and unnecessary suffering.
Those who grieve for the losses on both sides
Are more apt to survive themselves.


All 81 chapters of our version of the Tao Te Ching are available online for free here. If you are so inclined, an updated version of our translation is available as an e-book, here.

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