Daoist Precepts

There are many lists of Daoist Precepts.  These two lists translated by Stephen R. Bokenkcamp are probably the oldest (255 CE), although there is another list of 180 which may be older:

Xiang'er Nine

  1. Practice lacking falseness.

  2. Practice flexibility and weakness.

  3. Practice maintaining the feminine.  Do not initiate actions.

  4. Practice lacking fame.

  5. Practice clarity and stillness.

  6. Practice good deeds.

  7. Practice desirelessness.

  8. Practice knowing how to cease with sufficiency.

  9. Practice yielding to others.

The original term "practice" (xing) here implies both movement and a mandate.  The first precept is "Practice Wuwei!"  But it is here translated as "lacking falseness," or in better English "be and move honestly," because wuwei has continued to accumulate meanings in Chinese and it is possible that at the time these precepts were written its dominant meaning was "don't be pretentious."

Xiang'er Twenty Seven:

  1. Do not delight in deviance.  Delight is the same as anger.

  2. Do not waste your jing and qi.

  3. Do not injure the ascendant qi.

  4. Do not consume beasts that contain blood, delighting in their flavor.

  5. Do not envy the achievements and fame of others.

  6. Do not practice false arts or point to any shape and call it the Dao.

  7. Do not neglect the law [ie., the doctrine and ritual practices] of the Dao.

  8. Do not act recklessly.

  9. Do not kill or speak of killing .

  10. Do not study deviant texts.

  11. Do not covet glory or seek it strenuously.

  12. Do not seek fame.

  13. Do not be deceived by your ears, eyes, or mouth.

  14. Place yourself in a humble position.

  15. Do not slight [the Dao] or become agitated.

  16. Consider carefully all undertakings and do not be flustered.

  17. Do not pamper your body with good clothes and fine foods.

  18. Do not allow [your emotions and vital forces] to overflow.

  19. Do not, through poverty, seek strenuously after wealth.

  20. Do not commit any of the various evil acts.

  21. Do not overly observe the interdictions and taboos.

  22. Do not pray or sacrifice to demons and spirits.

  23. Do not be obstinate.

  24. Do not consider yourself inerrant.

  25. Do not contend with others over right and wrong.  When you meet the contentious, flee them.

  26. Do not proclaim [yourself to be a ] Sage or contribute to the fame of the mighty.

  27. Do not delight in arms.