The Three Virtues of Daoism is the foundational basis from which the Daoist student strives to uphold in everyday life.
Of course, we can’t always be all these virtues all the time but through the practice of Tai Chi, Qigong, meditation and following other Daoist philosophies you can get closer every passing day.
The Three Virtues gives you an ethical guide to living with others, in your family, community and with the world around you.
Let’s look these virtues now:
The first virtue is: Sānbǎo (pronounced San Bao) which includes: Compassion, Kindness and Love.
I had a look at Google for some definitions of these terms which I have translated into my own words:
Compassion Is when you have sympathy for someone who has seen misfortune and is suffering. This comes from a place of inter connectivity that says we are of the same substance and through compassion the idea of who you are expands to include all beings. As it is said…one love, one heart.
Kindness: When you are kind to someone you treat them with consideration, you are friendly and generous with them.
Love: This is a strong feeling of affection for someone, or even something.
The second virtue is: Jiǎn (pronounces Ji An) which includes: Moderation, Simplicity and Frugality
Moderation: My mother always said to me to not go to extremes but to practice moderation. Do you think she said that because I was quite extreme?
Simplicity: Just be your natural self and cultivate a beginner’s mindset.
Frugality: It is believed in Taoist thought that if you are sparing with your wealth then you will have more to give others.
The third virtue is a phrase: Bugan wei tianxia xian, "not dare to be first or ahead in the world” It is also believed that to successfully lead one must be last.
Don’t be the one to run first into. Taoists believe that we should avoid death and preserve our life and fight another day.
The third virtue also includes: Humility and Modesty
Humility: Putting the needs of in front of your own. Putting someone else first before yourself. When you are humble you don’t draw attention to yourself and you accept that you are not always right.
Modesty: Behave decently with respect, compassion and kindness to others.
Compassion begins with the self. Are you able to show yourself compassion. If you can’t show yourself compassion, kindness and love how are you going to share these virtues with others; your family, friends, community and even for all that goes on in the universe around you?
Through the practice of Tai Chi, I have found some moderation in my attitude towards myself. By developing more understanding for these important Daoist virtues I am learning to treat myself with love and kindness.
Like me, you may not have always practiced all these virtues. That does not matter. To begin your journey along this Daoist past, begin by practicing compassion with yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know then.
Now that you know more, and your dedicated Tai Chi practice is balancing out the opposing forces within and around you so that you will be able to practice these virtues more often. All this will ultimately guide you towards more happiness in your life.