Tao by Matsumoto

Taoism videos / Chapter 4

A. Masters hit your face


First of all, it must be mentioned that the original Chinese text of Tao Te Ching is far from perfect.

There are a few versions and we don't even know Lao Tzu was an individual who really lived two and a half millennia ago.

The text has been manually copied hundreds of times, and chances are that there are quite a few omissions and accidental insertions.

Dull the sharpness. Untangle the entanglements. Soften the light. Be like dust.

Some researchers think that these four sentences may have nothing to do with the rest of the chapter.

They seem to explain how you can be one with Dark Depth (=Tao).

Without them, the message of this chapter will be clearer.

The intriguing theme of how to be one with Tao is explained in detail in Chapter 56.

You will find exactly the same sentences there.

Tao functions through nothingness and is not tangible.

The subject of this Chapter 4 is how Tao functions.

Tao is the fundamental energy and "is not tangible".

It is not an oriental black magic, which a large number of people, even in Asia, have come to believe during the long period of philosophical evolution ironically.

Lao Tzu asked us not to be stuck in the material world, but human greed has transformed Tao to a kind of supernatural vending machines.

You make a wish. If it comes true, you give generous financial contributions to that Taoist temple.

If it doesn't, the temple gets bad reputations and will be deserted.

This practice is exactly opposite to Lao Tzu's teaching.

Again, Tao is a pure energy, neutral. It has nothing to do with good and bad.

Please don't be fooled by the cool design of "Yin and Yang".

The Town & Country surf board trade mark and the Korean national flag look beautiful, but this dichotomy should be treated with care.

It helps you to "understand" the mechanism of Tao, but the words could mislead you.

This is clearly stated at the very first sentence of Tao Te Ching.

"If you can talk about Tao, that Tao is not Tao itself". (☞ See Chapter 1)

In this sense, it must be admitted, the effort to decode the old book of wisdom is truly pointless.

The teaching is so simple that we don't need thousands of words to make it confusing.

Profound, it looks like the origin of everything.

The word "energy" might cause the same misunderstanding.

Quantum physics and the theory of Zero Point Field may be good tools for occidental and occidentalized minds to approach the seemingly far-fetched idea from Far East.

Nevertheless, they still have to abandon the concept of «the objective outside world» at one stage or another while they go "deep" into their own selves to accept that Tao (=the fundamental energy) is "the origin of everything".

Everything is created in your hologram.

The hologram is a catalyst to stimulate you to emit more of the energy.

The energy manifests as everything in your hologram.

This is the ultimate cycle.

If Tao is the origin of everything, everything is the origin of Tao as well.

That's why Lao Tzu carefully says, "it looks like".

Since time is just a concept and, as Dogen says at Uji in Shobogenzo, cannot exist outside a hologram, it is meaningless to tell which is the cause and which is the result.

Everything is happening simultaneously.

Likewise, if you expect Tao to be an oriental magic wand that can materialize any kind of your dreams, it will disappoint you.

If you ask any strict master like Dogen to realize your material wish, he will hit your face with wooden shoe to wake you up.

The very wish itself will confine you in the world of your hologram, and he knows it.

He hits you our of compassion, not being nasty, no matter how bully-like his attitude seems.

  [Related Articles]


When you visit Japan, you must not miss Nikko. Pay a visit to Toshogu shrine and meet the famous three monkeys of "Mizaru, Kikazaru, and Iwazaru" (See no evil, hear no evil, and say no evil, respectively in Japanese). Then, go and see the beautiful Kegon-no-Taki Falls. Attention! The real monkeys there don't care about the wisdom and try to rob you of the sweets in your bag. 日光 東照宮 見ざる、聞かざる,言わざる 華厳の滝

-Chapter 56b Be like Dust. The identical part is explained in details.

-Chapter 56c Dark Depth. What does Dark Depth 玄 mean literally?

-Chapter 4 Tao’s function

-Chapter 4b Color

Quick guide > Tao Te Ching translation > Chapter 4 > A. Masters hit your face

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