and, wishing to be before them, places his person behind them.We find a parallel to this line in a passage from the Christian bible that goes something like the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
~ James Legge translation, from The Sacred Books of the East, 1891 ~
If he would lead them, he must follow behind.
~ Gia-fu Feng and Jane English translation, published by Vintage Books, 1989 ~
If they wish to be in front of people
They must place themselves behind them
~ Derek Lin translation, from Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths, 2006 ~
If you want to lead them,
find out where they want to go.
~ Ron Hogan rendition, from Beatrice.com, 2004 ~
When we crave to be out front -- the top dog -- we will do whatever is necessary to claim the first position. If it means stepping on others to reach the top rung, so be it. If it means being dishonest or cheating to get to the head of the class, so be it. We will allow nothing to stand in our way!
In such cases, our focus is solely on ourselves and our own desires, not the needs of others.
The leader who is willing to limit their own desires in order to benefit the whole is like a leader who leads from behind. Assisting others to meet their needs places the focus on the community and not themselves.
To view the Index page for this series to see what you may have missed or would like to read again, go here.