Top Ten Taoist Conflict Tips

I have always found the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu (6th century BCE) an unfailing source of wisdom, and it is apparently the most translated book in the world after the Bible. So I thought it would be fun to invent a Taoist Top Ten Conflict Tips from its material. The legend is that the wise Chinese sage Lao Tsu sickened of the corruption of his civilization (we know that feeling), and left for the world of the nomadic steppes. But on the Emperor’s orders, he was stopped at the border, and told he would not be released until he had written down his wisdom for posterity. It is said that the Tao Te Ching was the result, which is perhaps why the first tip is what it is:

  1. The Tao (way) that can be told is not the true Tao
  2. More words count less, hold fast to the center
  3. In action, watch the timing; who can remain still until the moment of action?
  4. Understanding and being open to all things, are you able to do nothing?
  5. Love the world as your own self; then you can truly take care of things
  6. When there is no peace within the family, filial piety and devotion arise
  7. Yield and overcome
  8. The sage avoids extremes, excesses and complacency
  9. Force is followed by loss of strength
  10. Weapons are instruments of fear; they are not a wise man’s tools
  11. Mastering others requires force; mastering self needs strength
  12. The truly great man dwells on what is real and not what is on the surface
  13. A violent man will die a violent death
  14. The softest thing in the universe overcomes the hardest
  15. Those who know do not talk; those who talk do not know
  16. The more laws and restrictions there are, the poorer people become
  17. There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy
  18. Mercy brings victory in battle and strength in defense
  19. Knowing ignorance is strength. Ignoring knowledge is sickness
  20. The Tao of Heaven takes from those who have too much and gives to those who do not have enough
And of course from a Taoist perspective I was not constrained to Ten Tips. 🙂 And being told, they are not the true Tao just an approximate riff on them.

Better still read Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English translation with artful photos or Stephen Mitchell’s more modern verse translation.

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Book Reviews, Conflict Poetry, PERSONAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION: CREATIVE STRATEGIES, Religious Conflict, Top Ten Conflict Tips from Great Thinkers, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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