Military instruments portend peril.
This is why they are naturally feared.
Because they are tools of aggression,
The sage holds no affinity for them.

In ordinary affairs, a wise ruler gives precedence to inclusion.
It is only in wartime that he elects the path of exclusion.
Thus military instruments do not further the development of wholesomeness.
Rather, they are a necessary but unfortunate regression in the grand scheme of things.

The wise ruler employs his militia only as a last resort
And is never enthusiastic about it.
For to delight in war is to delight in death,
And he who delights in death,
Will himself become subsumed by it.

Thus when forced into battle,
One should bitterly mourn the massacre of one’s adversaries,
And commemorate victory not with a parade,
But with a wake.

You may order or download The Tao Te Ching here.
List of verses here


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