Dao De Jing
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Verse Sixty Nine


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2009

Verse Sixty Nine
Witter Bynner, 1944

The handbook of the strategist has said:
'Do not invite the fight, accept it instead,'
'Better a foot behind than an inch too far ahead,'
Which means:
Look a man straight in the face and make no move,
Roll up your sleeve and clench no fist,
Open your hand and show no weapon,
Bare your breast and find no foe.
But as long as there be a foe, value him,
Respect him, measure him, be humble toward him;
Let him not strip from you, however strong he be,
Compassion, the one wealth which can afford him.

Verse Sixty Nine
Arthur Waley, 1934

The strategists have the sayings:
€When you doubt your ability to meet the enemy's attack,
Take the offensive yourself€
And €If you doubt your ability to advance an inch, then retreat a foot€.
This latter is what we call to march without moving,
To roll the sleeve, but present no bare arm,
The hand that seems to hold, yet had no weapon in it,
A host that can confront, yet presents no battle-front.
Now the greatest of all calamities is to attack and find no enemy.
I can have no enemy only at the price of losing my treasure.
Therefore when armies are raised
And issues joined it is he who does not delight in war that wins.

Verse Sixty Nine
Ron Hogan, ~2000

There's an old military saying:
"I'd rather face an attack
than have to make one.
I'd rather retreat a foot
than try to advance an inch."

That's the secret to moving forward
while staying put,
preparing for battle
without revealing your strength.

When you defend yourself
without any show of force,
you give your opponent
nothing to fight.

Attacking an enemy
you've underestimated
is a costly mistake.
When two forces oppose each other,
the winner is the one most reluctant to fight.


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2009

"I'd rather retreat a foot than try to advance an inch."

The measurements are a little off, but doesn't that sound like the one-metre path?

Is this verse addressing Steve's question? Maybe this is the headless answer. It's the one-metre path or way, the one-metre Dao.

If there is conflict, come back home via the one-metre path, before taking any action. There's no way to avoid all conflict in this world, but maybe this is the best way to deal with it. Isn't this wu wei also? It's doing nothing, coming home to the void.

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2009

Well, isn't this an interesting verse?
I'd seen this verse in relation to ki-aikido, which is a sort of non-contact self-defense (a choice of words that always makes me smile!) and it has a certain validity... Indeed, quite a few people practise it and to impressive effect.
However, your point, Jim, strikes straight home.
The one metre path, certainly happier than overlooking or over-reaching one's self...!

Quote:
Bare your breast and find no foe.

seems to be a good description of headlessness, too.

And what about
Quote:
I can have no enemy only at the price of losing my treasure.

Wu Wei, certainly, and the law of opposites too?


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009

"I can have no enemy only at the price of losing my treasure."

Since Chinese has no singular/plural distinction, this could just as well be: I can have no enemy only at the price of losing my treasures. This could refer to the three treasures of compassion, frugality, and humility.

I'm not sure about the exact wording. Maybe it should be: "I can have an enemy only at the price of losing my treasures."

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009

Hi Jim & All,

Yes, I wonder about the exact wording.
I had taken it to mean I can have no enemy only if all the heady things / identities / cherished opinions etc are lost... sort of "giving up a head and gaining one unbroken universe" sort of thing.
Well, works for me, but perhaps I'm reading into, rather than just reading...!

Doest strike me that the 3 treasures are intended here, but then what do I know!?!


From: jimclatfelter
Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009

Dare not advance an inch,
But rather retreat a foot.

This is called
Marching by not-marching,
Capturing by not-baring arms,
Charging by not attacking,
Seizing by not-bearing arms.

That's from the version by Herrymon Maurer. I especially like "marching by not-marching" as a description of what we do on the one-metre path.

Jim


From: simon
Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009

Yes,
Quote:
Marching by not-marching,

the One metre path takes (this one, anyway) from some limited point to all inclusive-ness...


From: simon
Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009

Well now, just when I was wondering about "enemies & war" (don't have drunken fights with football fans etc alot!) I seem to have caught a nasty infection (staphillococcus) from some thorns...
A major world war on the cellular level?
Anyway, anti-biotics, fever, fatigue... basically the whole wide world situation condensed into one arm and shoulder.
Except that it isn't, its just a local infection.
Attending to it, one can see the body's defences coming into play, all "by themselves" so to speak.
So, even in such situations
Quote:
as long as there be a foe, value him,
Respect him, measure him, be humble toward him;
Let him not strip from you, however strong he be,
Compassion, the one wealth which can afford him.

Which here includes being a little more attentive to the body's needs...
Funny, life, isn't it?


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