Tao by Matsumoto

Taoism videos / Chapter 3

A. Hara gei the belly art


If they don't respect intellectuals, people will stay away from contention.

If they don't value rare coins, people will stay away from theft.

If they don't look at what stimulates their desire, people's mind will stay calm.

This is stated clearly enough to understand without difficulty.

It sounds fairly logical in a conventional sense.

To go a step farther and understand Tao better, we should pay a little more attention when the word "people" and "the world" are used.

What are these words pointing at?

"People" in "the world" are projected in your hologram, and you create it.

Sometimes, those words can be better understood if you interpret them as <you> or <your hologram>.

Therefore, the first three sentences of this chapter can be read as follows:

If you don't analyze things intellectually, you don't have to suffer from the ordeals caused by dichotomy.

If you turn the hologram favorable to your benefit, the intention will work counterproductively.

If you know that your desire does not belong to you and is just another catalyst like stars and flowers, you don't have to feel unhappy when it is not fulfilled.

Therefore, in the sage's way to control people, he empties the mind, fills the belly, weakens the will, and strengthens the bone.

Now, "the sage" explains how he "controls the people", that is to say, his hologram, himself.

"He empties the mind" and "weaken the will". That's how he controls his ego.

Being smart and being motivated are too highly appreciated in the modern industrial world.

A sad irony in an oriental country like Japan is that the people there have done everything to have an individual mind and to be an independent citizen, and, after all those efforts of industrialization of their nation, what they have got is some consumer products and depression.

Besides, reason and will are disturbing factors when you are struggling to see your external and internal world as a hologram.

They make you stuck to the mundane world.

Paying more attention to your body will help you a little (if you know the limit of the very attention to it).

Especially, "the belly" (="Hara / 腹 / はら" in Japanese / Kanji-Chinese character / Hiragana) is considered quite important in many cultures.

As an English expression <guts feeling> shows, the belly is related to instinct.

In China it is associated with eternal youth and longevity.

There is a spot called Dantian 丹田 (pronounced [tanden] in Japanese) slightly below the belly button.

The Chinese word means the place where they produce the elixir of life.

Hara gei (=belly art) is a kind of art you have to face quite often if you are a businessman working in Japan.

Although it possible that a client is invited to a sushi dinner with a provocative spectacle of a half naked girl, the Japanese word has nothing to do with belly dance.

Hara gei (腹芸 in Kanji-Chinese characters) means the act of influencing others without words or actions.

Yoga, Chi Kong, and other physical exercises are good to balance your body soul and spirit soul.

But, after the obsession to analytical mind had reached its peak some time in the last century, the pendulum swung back excessively towards naked body.

This is the polarization of awareness. It is not the equilibrium.

Any physical mortification has the danger of becoming obsessed to your own self.

  [Related Articles]


"Hara gei / Haragei" can be translated as belly art, which is the ultimate technique of non-verbal communication without gestures. Recently Japan has been transforming itself from a beehive of working bees to a lazy post-consumer society. Did Haragei lose its importance? Yes, in a certain way. But, at the deep bottom of communication in the country, no, never. Sylvie Testud's movie «Fear and Trembling» (originally written by Amelie Nothomb) is a good evidence. Japan's business attitude has changed, but still you are expected to sense the demand of the person in front of you before he or she pronounces it. 腹芸

-Chapter 12 Five Colors. "Five Colors make man's eyes blind. Five Notes make man's ears deaf", says Lao Tzu.

-Chapter 48b What's "Do nothing" really?. This oriental philosophical enigma has been confusing the occidental mind for ages.

-Chapter 3 Do nothing

-Chapter 3b You and non-you

-Chapter 3c Act without acting

Quick guide > Tao Te Ching translation > Chapter 3 > A. Hara gei the belly art

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