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 some 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:
道之宗旨 The Principles of the
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
Commentary on The Principles of the Tao
1. To venerate Heaven and Earth (敬天地 ) - Value and respect both the Heavens
and the Earth. Be a good steward of the planet and its resources.
2. To revere the divine beings (禮神明 ) - 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.
3. To be patriotic and responsible (愛國忠事) - 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.
4. To be virtuous and courteous (敦品崇禮 ) - 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
5. To honor the parents (孝父母 ) - Love, honor, respect, support, and be
obedient to one's parents to let them live worry-free lives.
6. To value the teachers (重師尊 ) - Honor and respect one's teachers and
elders for their efforts to educate you and for the wisdom of their
7. To keep faith with friends (信朋友 ) - Be trustworthy, dependable and
honest with your friends.
8. To live harmoniously with neighbors (和鄉鄰 ) - Be a good neighbor. Be
helpful and friendly with those who share your neighborhood.
9. To discard the bad and seek the good (改惡向善) - Rid oneself of bad habits
and pursue good thoughts and deeds.
10. To clarify the Five Relationships and the Eight Virtues (講明五倫八德
Expound upon the Five Bonds of Human Relationships and the Eight
Five Bonds of Human Relationships - between sovereign and minister,
parents and children, husband and wife, between siblings, and
Eight Cardinal Virtues - filial piety, brotherly love, loyalty,
truthfulness, courtesy, righteousness, integrity, and a sense of
11. To spread the teachings of the Five Religions (闡發五教聖人之奧旨 ) - Recognize as
valid all significant spiritual or philosophical traditions that
have the potential to uplift and inspire people to do good.
12. To follow the ancient practice of the Four Ethics, the Mainstays
and the Constant Virtues (恪遵四維綱常之古禮) - To obey and respectfully practice the
Four Ethical Principles, the Three Mainstays of Social Order, and
the Five Constant Virtues.
The Four Ethical Principles - courtesy, righteousness, integrity, a
sense of shame
The Three Mainstays of Social Order - between sovereign and
minister, parents and children, husband and wife
The Five Constant Virtues - benevolence, righteousness, courtesy,
wisdom, and truthfulness
13. To cleanse the mind and purify the spirit (洗心滌慮 ) - Eliminate
harmful/destructive thoughts. Maintain a happy positive attitude.
14. To utilize the illusory world in cultivating the truth (借假修真 )
"Illusory" refers to the Buddhist idea that the world is just an
illusion. By studying the world we can learn about the Tao.
15. To restore the nature of the self (恢復本性之自然 ) - 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.
16. To develop the perfection of conscience (啟發良知良能之至善 ) - Continually work to
develop one's innate wisdom with respect to acting in harmony with
17. To establish oneself and help others in establishment (己立立人 ) - First
secure for yourself a stable position in society and then help those
less fortunate to secure a stable position too.
18. To achieve goals and help others in achievement (己達達人) - Set and reach
one's own goals and help others do so too.
19. To bring the world into peace (挽世界為清平 ) - Work to transform the world into
a peaceful, honest, and orderly society.
To transform hearts into goodness (化人心為良善 ) - 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
(冀世界為大同 ) - By pursuing this path,
to bring the world into a state of harmony, equality, fraternity,