Unlike Christianity and Judaism, Taoism does not have any commandments. However, Chuang-Tse, the foremost disciple of Lao-Tse and a leading exponent of Taoist philosophy, some 2400 years ago enumerated the ten attributes of the gentleman sage. These remain rather pertinent today for martial artists, Buddhists and Taoists alike who are trying to maintain peace and calm in our daily lives amidst the hectic frenzy and ambitiousness of this modern technological age.
Chuang-Tse begins by attributing these ten traits to his master, Lao-Tse:
“The Master says, “Great is Tao. It canopies and sustains all creation. The gentleman cannot but purge his mind (of personal gain and desires). To act by not acting is called heaven. To express without expression is called character. To love one’s fellowmen and benefit all is called humanity. To regard different things as belonging in common is called great. Not to distinguish oneself by conspicuous behavior is called width of character. To possess diversity is called wealth. Therefore to preserve one’s character is called self-discipline. To have one’s character developed is to have power. To follow the Tao is called being complete. Not to allow external events to injure one’s mind is called whole. When a gentleman understands these ten (attributes) then he achieves greatness of mind and all things converge toward him like a flowing stream…”
Chuang-Tse then poses collaries to these ten traits of the sage. “In this case, he leaves the gold in the mountains and leaves the pearls in the sea. He does not place value upon material goods, and he keeps away from honor and wealth. He does not rejoice over long life, nor is he sorry to die young. He does not regard a high position as honor, nor is he ashamed of poverty and failure. He does not set his mind on the wealth of the world and appropriate it for his own benefit. He does not consider ruling the world as his personal glory. And when he is in a p;osition of eminence, he regards the world as one common family. To him life and death are different aspects of the same thing.”