Venture only so far as your skill and strengths can carry you in opposition to powerful adversaries. Unless ultimate stakes are in play, it’s best to remain cautious.
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10 – Ten Lü / Worrying the Tiger
Heaven shines down on the Marsh which reflects it back imperfectly:
Though the Superior Man carefully discriminates between high and low, and acts in accord with the flow of the Tao, there are still situations where a risk must be taken.
You tread upon the tail of the tiger.
Not perceiving you as a threat, the startled tiger does not bite.
You have reached a perilous point in your journey.
This is a real gamble — not a maneuver, not a calculated risk.
The outcome is uncertain.
If it goes as you hope, you will gain — but if it turns against you it will cause serious injury, at least to your plans.
The best tack is extreme caution and a healthy respect for the danger involved.
Six in the third place means:
A one-eyed man may still see, a lame man may still walk, but it takes every resource to circumvent the tiger.
When this tiger is stepped on he bites.
Only a warrior supremely loyal to his cause would enter a battle he knows he hasn’t the resources to survive.
A one-eyed man is able to see,
A lame man is able to tread.
He treads on the tail of the tiger.
The tiger bites the man.
Thus does a warrior act on behalf of his great prince.
Worrying the Tiger
A one-eyed man can indeed see, but not enough for clear vision. A lame man can indeed tread, but not enough to make progress. If in spite of such defects a man considers himself strong and consequently exposes himself to danger, he is inviting disaster, for he is undertaking something beyond his strength. This reckless way of plunging ahead, regardless of the adequacy of one’s powers, can be justified only in the case of a warrior battling for his prince.
9 – Nine Hsiao Ch’u / Gentle Restraint
Winds of change high in the Heavens:
Air currents carry the weather.
Dense clouds blow in from the West, but still no rain.
The Superior Person fine tunes the image he presents to the world.
No matter what you do, the fruit of your labors never seems to ripen.
Your reward remains just out of reach.
Men have gone mad from such anticipation.
Don’t lose your balance lunging for the brass ring.
While the Fates continue to restrain you, go them one better and display a self-generated restraint and grace.
Look for the humor in the situation.