Tao Te Ching #30: “do not coerce the world with weapons”

Those who assist human leadership with the Way
do not coerce the world with weapons,
for these things are apt to backfire.
Brambles grow where an army has been;
there are always bad years after a war.
Therefore the good are effective, that is all;
they do not presume to grab power thereby:
they are effective but not conceited,
effective but not proud,
effective but not arrogant.
They are effective when they have to be,
effective but not coercive.
If you peak in strength, then you age;
this, it is said, is unguided.
The unguided soon come to an end.

– Thomas Cleary


Use the Tao to assist your lord
don’t use weapons to rule the land
such things have repercussions
where armies camp
brambles grow
best to win then stop
don’t make use of force
win but don’t be proud
win but don’t be vain
win but don’t be cruel
win when you have no choice
this is to win without force
virility leads to old age
this isn’t the Tao
what isn’t the Tao end early

– Red Pine


Those who guide their leader by the Way
Will not urge war to dominate the world,
For such a course is bound to haunt is taker.
Fields where armies camp grow thorns and weeds,
And plague and famine follow every war.
With the fruits of victory desist;
Never seek to break a beaten foe,
And flaunt no prowess with the victory,
Assert no strength, show no pride;
Be a victor against your will,
A victor who will not dominate.
“Beware old age in pride of manly might”:
This warns to work not against the Way.
“Work against the Way, die before your day.”

– Moss Roberts