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 many 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:
|The Principles of the Tao
|To venerate Heaven and Earth
|To revere the divine beings
|To be patriotic and responsible
|To be virtuous and courteous
|To honor the parents
|To value the teachers
|To keep faith with friends
|To live harmoniously with neighbors
|To discard the bad and seek the good
|To clarify the Five Relationships and the Eight Virtues
|To spread the teachings of the Five Religions
|To follow the ancient practice of the Four Ethics, the Mainstays, and the Constant Virtues
|To cleanse the mind and purify the spirit
|To utilize the illusory world in cultivating the truth
|To restore the nature of the self
|To develop the perfection of conscience
|To establish oneself and help others in establishment
|To achieve goals and help others in achievement
|To bring the world into peace
|To transform hearts into goodness
|To hope for the world of Great Unity
- To venerate Heaven and Earth – Value and respect both the Heavens and the Earth. Be a good steward of the planet and its resources.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- To honor the parents – Love, honor, respect, support, and be obedient to one’s parents to let them live worry-free lives.
- 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.
- To keep faith with friends – Be trustworthy, dependable and honest with your friends.
- To live harmoniously with neighbors – Be a good neighbor. Be helpful and friendly with those who share your neighborhood.
- To discard the bad and seek the good – Rid oneself of bad habits and pursue good thoughts and deeds.
- To clarify the Five Relationships and the Eight Virtues – Expound upon the Five Bonds of Human Relationships and the Eight Cardinal Virtues
- 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.
- 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.
- To cleanse the mind and purify the spirit – Eliminate harmful/destructive thoughts. Maintain a happy positive attitude.
- 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.
- 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.
- To develop the perfection of conscience – Continually work to develop one’s innate wisdom with respect to acting in harmony with the Tao.
- 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.
- To achieve goals and help others in achievement – Set and reach one’s own goals and help others do so too.
- To bring the world into peace – Work to transform the world into a peaceful, honest, and orderly society.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Five Bonds of Human Relationships – the relationships between sovereign and minister, parents and children, husband and wife, between siblings, and between friends.
- The Eight Cardinal Virtues – the virtues of filial piety, brotherly love, loyalty, truthfulness, courtesy, righteousness, integrity, and conscience.
- The Four Ethical Principles – the principles of courtesy, righteousness, integrity, and a sense of shame.
- The Three Mainstays of Social Order – the order between sovereign and minister, parents and children, husband and wife.
- The Five Constant Virtues – the virtues of benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, and truthfulness.