The Principles
of I-Kuan Tao

 

by Derek Lin and Frank Wagle

I-Kuan Tao is the belief in the Tao, the eternal source. It embodies the truths inherited from the teachings of Lao Tzu, Confucius, and the Buddha which are the same truths taught by some other spiritual and philosophical traditions. From Lao Tzu comes the reliance on the harmony of people and nature. From Confucius comes the appreciation of good deeds and behaviors. And from Buddha comes the general concern for the masses and delivering all from suffering.

The modern movement of I-Kuan Tao was established by Lu Zhong Yi, the 17th Patriarch of the later stage of the East Tao Orthodoxy. In 1930, his disciples Zhang Guang Bi and Sun Hui Ming became the 18th Patriarchs to carry on the Tao Orthodoxy.

In order to preach the great Tao and reveal enlightenment to all humanity, the 18th Patriarchs established and taught the Principles of the Tao as follows: 

 

道之宗旨

The Principles of the Tao

1

敬天地

To venerate Heaven and Earth

2

禮神明

To revere the divine beings

3

愛國忠事

To be patriotic and responsible

4

敦品崇禮

To be virtuous and courteous

5

孝父母

To honor the parents

6

重師尊

To value the teachers

7

信朋友

To keep faith with friends

8

和鄉鄰

To live harmoniously with neighbors

9

改惡向善

To discard the bad and seek the good

10

講明五倫八德

To clarify the Five Relationships and the Eight Virtues

11

闡發五教聖人之奧旨

To spread the teachings of the Five Religions

12

恪遵四維綱常之古禮

To follow the ancient practice of the Four Ethics, the Mainstays, and the Constant Virtues

13

洗心滌慮

To cleanse the mind and purify the spirit

14

借假修真

To utilize the illusory world in cultivating the truth

15

恢復本性之自然

To restore the nature of the self

16

啟發良知良能之至善

To develop the perfection of conscience

17

己立立人

To establish oneself and help others in establishment

18

己達達人

To achieve goals and help others in achievement

19

挽世界為清平

To bring the world into peace

20

化人心為良善

To transform hearts into goodness

21

冀世界為大同

To hope for the world of Great Unity

 


Commentary on The Principles of the Tao

1. To venerate Heaven and Earth - Value and respect both the Heavens and the Earth. Be a good steward of the planet and its resources.

2. To revere the divine beings - Hold in highest esteem the Tao, the eternal source. Appreciate and honor all of the good role models, Buddhas, sages, and teachers, who have come before us.

3. To be patriotic and responsible - Respect and honor the good things about your country and its government and to work to change things that could be done better; fulfill your civic duties.

4. To be virtuous and courteous - Always act in a virtuous and courteous manner and uphold the Rules of Propriety. Practical guidelines regarding propriety of Demeanor, Deportment, Speech, Conduct, Example, and Sexual activity can be found in the Analects of Confucius.

5. To honor the parents - Love, honor, respect, support, and be obedient to one's parents to let them live worry-free lives.

6. To value the teachers - Honor and respect one's teachers and elders for their efforts to educate you and for the wisdom of their years.

7. To keep faith with friends - Be trustworthy, dependable and honest with your friends.

8. To live harmoniously with neighbors - Be a good neighbor. Be helpful and friendly with those who share your neighborhood.

9. To discard the bad and seek the good - Rid oneself of bad habits and pursue good thoughts and deeds.

10. To clarify the Five Relationships and the Eight Virtues - Expound upon the Five Bonds of Human Relationships and the Eight Cardinal Virtues

Five Bonds of Human Relationships - between sovereign and minister, parents and children, husband and wife, between siblings, and between friends

Eight Cardinal Virtues - filial piety, brotherly love, loyalty, truthfulness, courtesy, righteousness, integrity, and a sense of shame

11. To spread the teachings of the Five Religions - Recognize as valid all significant spiritual or philosophical traditions that have the potential to uplift and inspire people to do good.

12. To follow the ancient practice of the Four Ethics, the Mainstays and the Constant Virtues - To obey and respectfully practice the Four Ethical Principles, the Three Mainstays of Social Order, and the Five Constant Virtues.

The Four Ethical Principles - courtesy, righteousness, integrity, a sense of shame

The Three Mainstays of Social Order - between sovereign and minister, parents and children, husband and wife

The Five Constant Virtues - benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, and truthfulness

13. To cleanse the mind and purify the spirit - Eliminate harmful/destructive thoughts. Maintain a happy positive attitude.

14. To utilize the illusory world in cultivating the truth “Illusory” refers to the Buddhist idea that the world is just an illusion. By studying the world we can learn about the Tao.

15. To restore the nature of the self - To recognize, value, and respect one's original Buddha-nature. That is, you are a sentient being with an infinite potential for understanding, or  “enlightenment” if you prefer, and for doing good.

16. To develop the perfection of conscience - Continually work to develop one's innate wisdom with respect to acting in harmony with the Tao.

17. To establish oneself and help others in establishment - First secure for yourself a stable position in society and then help those less fortunate to secure a stable position too.

18. To achieve goals and help others in achievement - Set and reach one's own goals and help others do so too.

19. To bring the world into peace - Work to transform the world into a peaceful, honest, and orderly society.

20. To transform hearts into goodness - Enlighten the minds of people, by your actions and your words, and enable them to return to a natural state of benevolence.

21. To hope for the world of Great Unity - By pursuing this path, we hope to bring the world into a state of harmony, equality, fraternity, and justice.