XXVII – “To value the teacher”

One who excels in travelling leaves no wheel tracks;

One who excels in speech makes no slips;

One who excels in reckoning uses no counting rods;

One who excels in shutting uses no bolts yet what he has shut cannot be opened;

One who excels in tying uses no chords yet what he has tied cannot be undone.

Therefore the sage always excels in saving people, and so abandons no one; always excels in saving things, and abandons nothing.

This is called following one’s discernment.

Hence the good man is the teacher the bad learns from;

And the bad man is the material the good works on.

Not to value the teacher

Nor to love the material

Though it seems clever, betrays great bewilderment.

This is called the essential and the secret.


The one who excels in teaching leaves no trace of himself, because the one taught comes into deepest possession of his own learning; the one taught has become his learning, not merely an imitator or devotee. A student does not learn to write, he becomes a writer.

And so when I practise the form, I am making it for myself, I am embodying tai chiTai chi is not being given to me, nor am I simply imitating my teacher, as if the task were to be like him or perform like him.

I greatly value my teacher who has helped me become this. And he loved me, the one who was becoming good.


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