Tao by Matsumoto

Taoism videos / Chapter 5

A. Straw Dogs


Heaven and earth have no mercy.

This might sound a little too harsh to you. Nature is not interested in charity.

She has no desire to be invited to a Red Cross gala dinner and give away her cheque with a generous sum of donation.

She has no mercy because she doesn't judge.

They treat everything as straw dogs.

This sentence inspired film director Sam Peckinpah to make a movie with Dustin Hoffman. The film is "Straw Dogs"(1971).

According to Chuang Tzu, supposedly a disciple of Lao Tzu's,

(Why "supposedly"? Because Lao Tzu may have been a fictitious character, a name of collective minds of Old China [about the 6th century B.C.?]. "Lao" means old. On the other hand, Chuang Tzu really lived in the 4th century B.C.)

"Straw dogs for a ritual are covered with beautiful brocade and and kept in a decent box before they are offered to a god. The priest even purifies himself to offer them before the god. Nevertheless, once the rite is over, [the straw dogs are thrown away,] passers-by tramps upon their head and back, and people needing kindling pick them up and burn them." (Chuang Tzu 荘子, Outer Chapters 外篇, 14 - 4 天運篇 第十四の四)

"Straw dogs" is a very strong and effective metaphor to convey an illustrative message.

Probably, it is a little too suggestive in terms of justice.

That's why the expression provoked the sense of injustice in Sam Peckinpah's heart and stimulated his creative instinct, but it could be misleading when you want to grasp Tao's mechanism.

Heaven and earth here means the world, which is a hologram projected by you.

It is neutral and refuses to judge. There is no dichotomy of good and bad.

It doesn't mean that the world is nasty.

The sage has no mercy.

He treats everyone as straw dogs.

The sage means you.

Once you remember that you are always with Tao. You are the boss.

You don't even have to get Tao. At the profundity of every phenomenon lies the true You, which is a synonym of Tao.

There is no difference between you and Tao. You should behave yourself like it, that is to say, without judgement.

Nature doesn't have bias. Neither have you (=Tao).

Your hologram have no dichotomy of good and evil. It simply reflects your thought without bias.

It you find this world a very happy place, it is because you are a very happy person. If you don't..., ...

Why have human beings come to think about being happy or unhappy?

The sun lights up everyone. It doesn't matter whether he is a good person or a bad one.

In fact, the true You does the same. Your heart doesn't judge anything or segregate anyone. It lights up everyone equally. Don't worry.

If you had something to change, it would be your criticism on yourself. Let's stop saying "it was good" or "it was bad". Let's stop judging anything.

It isn't easy? If you can't do it, it is all right, too. Your mind that cannot help judging is a hologram as well. So are the clouds floating in the sky.

You can treat yourself and your view on the rest of the world indifferently. You don't have to be responsible for what you think.

You have only to accept it.

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When they hear of «Straw Dogs» with Dustin Hoffman, many people may wonder what it means. Read the article above, and you will see the answer.

-Chapter 2 No judgement. In some countries, "yes" doesn't mean "yes, I do". "Si, hasta mañana." never guarantees that the person will do it tomorrow. In Japan, as businessmen who have worked there know it very well, "yes" means " yes, I have understood what you say". The Japanese simply don't want to pronounce the word "no" even though they haven't got the slightest intention of doing it. Among samurai, the distinction between good and evil was respected because they were educated according to Confucius's teaching rather than Lao Tzu's. Samurai used to have an elegance of composing a poem at the final moment in their life. At the crucial moment in life, they are a disciple of Zen to accept his destiny. If a samurai showed his judgement on his final creation, he didn't seem to be considered sophisticated. No matter how indignant he was, justice was not at all important in the floating world Ukiyo.

-Chapter 18 Taoism out of use. "After great Tao has fallen out of use, we have "morality of love" and its rules", says Lao Tzu.

-Chapter 5 Hologram

-Chapter 5b What’s a hologram

-Chapter 5c Hologram and Tao

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