The Song of
Ch'an Tao Chia

27 precepts of Taoism

  • Have compassion for all sentient beings causing them no unnecessary hurt nor needless harm.

  • Refrain from needless competitiveness, from contriving for self-advantage and from subjugating others.

  • When accepting authority over others know also that you accept responsibility for their wellbeing.

  • Value true friendship and fulfill your obligations rather than striving with egotistical motive.

  • Seek liberation from the negative passions of hatred, envy, greed and rage, and especially from delusion, deceit and sensory desire.

  • Learn to let go of that which cannot be owned or which is destroyed by grasping.

  • Seek the courage to be; defend yourself and your convictions.

  • Accept transience, the inevitable and the irrevocable.

  • Know that change exists in everything.

  • Negate the barriers to your awakening. Discover the positive in the negative and seek a meaningful purpose in what you do.

  • Be just and honorable. Take pride in what you do rather than being proud of what you have accomplished.

  • Having humility and respect, give thanks to those from whom you learn or who have otherwise helped you.

  • Act in harmony with your fellow beings, with nature and with inanimate objects

  • Know that a thing or an action which may seem of little value to oneself may be a priceless treasure to another.

  • Help those who are suffering or disadvantaged and as you yourself become awakened help those who seek to make real their own potential.

  • Know that there is no shame in questioning.

  • Be diligent in your practice and on hearing the music of the absolute do not be so foolish as to try to sing its song.

  • Remember to renew the source in order to retain good health.

  • Seek neither brilliance nor the void; just think deeply and work hard.

  • When still, be as the mountain. When in movement be as the dragon riding the wind. Be aware at all times like the tiger, which only seems to sleep and at all times let the mind be like running water.

  • When you are required to act remember that right motive is essential to right action, just as right thought is essential to right words.

  • Beware of creating burdens for yourself or others to carry.

  • Act with necessary distinction being both creative and receptive and transcending subject/object dichotomy.

  • Know that you are not the center of the universe but learn to put the universe at your center by accepting the instant of your being.

  • Seek security within yourself rather than in others.

  • Know that even great worldly wealth and the accumulation of material things are of little worth compared with the priceless treasures: love, peace and the freedom to grow.

  • Allow yourself to be so that your life may become a time of blossoming.

*Credit is given to Stan Rosenthal in his
Ch'an Tao Chia: Collected Essays and Lectures
by Stan Rosenthal, September 1993

Ron Cole

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