Tao of Leadership

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by Avi, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

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    I could post this in the Tao sub-forum, but I do not think there are any Taoists, please correct me if I am wrong.

    Anyone read "Tao of Leadership" ?

    If so, any thoughts about it ?

    Any thoughts on the Buddhist perspective on leadership ? What are the criteria for excellent leaders ?
     
  2. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    I haven't read The Tao of Leadership, but I've read the Tao Te Ching.


    9

    It is better to leave a vessel unfilled, than to attempt to
    carry it when it is full. If you keep feeling a point that has been
    sharpened, the point cannot long preserve its sharpness.

    When gold and jade fill the hall, their possessor cannot keep them
    safe. When wealth and honours lead to arrogancy, this brings its evil
    on itself. When the work is done, and one's name is becoming
    distinguished, to withdraw into obscurity is the way of Heaven.

    <...>

    17

    In the highest antiquity, (the people) did not know that there
    were (their rulers). In the next age they loved them and praised
    them. In the next they feared them; in the next they despised them.
    Thus it was that when faith (in the Tao) was deficient (in the rulers)
    a want of faith in them ensued (in the people).

    How irresolute did those (earliest rulers) appear, showing (by
    their reticence) the importance which they set upon their words!
    Their work was done and their undertakings were successful, while the
    people all said, 'We are as we are, of ourselves!'
    Much more in the Tao Te Ching, but these above chapters seem to resonate with the Buddhist concept of "The Empty Throne." {At least it does to me. Your results may vary.}
     
  3. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

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    Thanks, SG, the title describes the book as "Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching Adapted for a New Age".

    The author, John Heider, has interpreted the book with respect to leadership behavior. The chapters which were of most interest to me relate to conflict:

    31) Harsh Interventions
    69) A Fight

    I do not think that leadership only relates to dealing with a group. I think we can show a lot of leadership in how we behave on our own, as well.

    Perhaps some examples will illustrate the ideas.
     
  4. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Tao Te Ching 31
    Now arms, however beautiful, are instruments of evil omen,
    hateful, it may be said, to all creatures. Therefore they who have
    the Tao do not like to employ them.

    The superior man ordinarily considers the left hand the most
    honourable place, but in time of war the right hand. Those sharp
    weapons are instruments of evil omen, and not the instruments of the
    superior man;--he uses them only on the compulsion of necessity. Calm
    and repose are what he prizes; victory (by force of arms) is to him
    undesirable. To consider this desirable would be to delight in the
    slaughter of men; and he who delights in the slaughter of men cannot
    get his will in the kingdom.

    On occasions of festivity to be on the left hand is the prized
    position; on occasions of mourning, the right hand. The second in
    command of the army has his place on the left; the general commanding
    in chief has his on the right;--his place, that is, is assigned to him
    as in the rites of mourning. He who has killed multitudes of men
    should weep for them with the bitterest grief; and the victor in
    battle has his place (rightly) according to those rites.
    Tao Te Ching 69
    A master of the art of war has said, 'I do not dare to be the
    host (to commence the war); I prefer to be the guest (to act on the
    defensive). I do not dare to advance an inch; I prefer to retire a
    foot.' This is called marshalling the ranks where there are no ranks;
    baring the arms (to fight) where there are no arms to bare; grasping
    the weapon where there is no weapon to grasp; advancing against the
    enemy where there is no enemy.

    There is no calamity greater than lightly engaging in war. To do
    that is near losing (the gentleness) which is so precious. Thus it is
    that when opposing weapons are (actually) crossed, he who deplores
    (the situation) conquers.

    Well, yes.
    Tao Te Ching 67
    All the world says that, while my Tao is great, it yet appears
    to be inferior (to other systems of teaching). Now it is just its
    greatness that makes it seem to be inferior. If it were like any
    other (system), for long would its smallness have been known!

    But I have three precious things which I prize and hold fast. The
    first is gentleness; the second is economy; and the third is shrinking
    from taking precedence of others.

    With that gentleness I can be bold; with that economy I can be
    liberal; shrinking from taking precedence of others, I can become a
    vessel of the highest honour. Now-a-days they give up gentleness and
    are all for being bold; economy, and are all for being liberal; the
    hindmost place, and seek only to be foremost;--(of all which the end
    is) death.

    Gentleness is sure to be victorious even in battle, and firmly to
    maintain its ground. Heaven will save its possessor, by his (very)
    gentleness protecting him.
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Seems the Art of War is also a leadership book.
     
  6. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

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    The Tao of Leadership

    31. Harsh Interventions

    There are times when it seems as if one must intervene powerfully, suddenly and even harshly. The wise leader does this only when all else fails.

    As a rule, the leader feels more wholesome when the group process is flowing freely and unfolding naturally, when delicate facilitations far outnumber harsh interventions.

    Harsh interventions are a warning that the leader may be uncentered or have an emotional attachment to whatever is happening. A special awareness is called for.

    Even if harsh interventions succeed brilliantly, there is no cause for celebration. There has been injury. Someone’s process has been violated.

    Later on, the person whose process has been violated may well become less open and more defended. There will be a deeper resistance and possibly even resentment.

    Making people do what you think they ought to do does not lead toward clarity and consciousness. While they may do what you tell them to do at the time, they will cringe inwardly, grow confused, and plot revenge.

    That is why your victory is actually a failure.
     
  7. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

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    A remarkable book, thanks for the suggestion.
     
  8. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    Last I looked, I posted there at one time or another.:eek:
    The difficulty with finding (philosophical) Taoists is that they do not necessarily assemble in groups.

    Imagine, if you will, a Taoist protester sporting a sign that says "Stop the rising tide of do-ing":)

    TTC#17 Rulers
    Of the best rulers
    The people (only) know that they exist;
    The next best they praise;
    The next they fear;
    And the next they revile,
    When they do not command the people's faith,
    Some will loose faith in them,
    And then they resort to oaths!
    But (of the best) when their task is accomplished,
    Their work done, the people all will remark,
    "We have done it our selves."
    Tao Te Ching -Lin Yutang

    Thus the best of leader/rulers is one who lays no claim to fame
    and encourages others to rise to the situation.
     
  9. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    There are many who believe so, Wil
    From my personal perspective the Art of War and the I Ching are manuals for negotiators.
    But then again, negotiation may be seen by some as warfare or possibly herding.
    Could one thus make the leap that a Border Collie is a leader of Sheep?:confused:
     
  10. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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  11. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Snoopy,

    Read the first intro... sexual maturity at 500? I'm not sure thats gonna fly...
     
  12. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    we can't all be early developers !!

    s.
     
  13. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

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  14. Qi1

    Qi1 New Member

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    Leadership is one of the most important features of the Tao, and one of the most difficult to achieve. It is a focal point in Feng Shui. It allows us to breathe and concentrate our energy at the focal point.
     

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