Friday, November 28, 2008

Tao Te Ching Chapter 5-1 No mercy


Today's Tao

Heaven and earth have no mercy.

They treat everything as straw dogs. (Ch. 5)


What do you think about these sentences which inspired the director Sam Pekinpah to make a film called "Straw Dogs" with Dustin Hoffman?

Mercy is subjective, and Tao doesn't like preferential treatment for anyone.

The sun showers its light to anyone no matter how bad he is according to the judgement of man.


«Related Articles»
-No mercy 5-1
-True wisdom 5-2
-Is a bellows a hologram? 5-3
-Never exhausted 5-4
-Give more, receive more 5-5
-More words, more exhausted 5-6
-Stay empty 5-7
-Tao by Matsumoto / Tao Te Ching / Chapter 5
-Tao by Matsumoto / Straw Dogs
-Tao by Matsumoto / What's a hologram
-Tao by Matsumoto / Hologram and Tao
-Tao by Matsumoto / Nintendo means "Do nothing" Corp.


Lao Tzu answers your question!


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2 comments:

VZ said...

Let's conider the phrase:
天地不仁,以萬物為芻狗;聖人不仁,以百姓為芻狗。
"Heaven and earth have no mercy. They treat everything as straw dogs. The sage has no mercy. He treats everyone as straw dogs."

The phrase contains the word "仁" (translated as "mercy" here). English is not my native language, and I am in doubt in understanding the meaning of the word "mercy". "Mercy" could be interpreted as: (1) in common sense like in the phrase "Don't kill me! Please, mercy me!", or (2) like it is used in the Bible (Old Testament), Hebrew meaning, (3) like it is used in the Bible (New Testament), Greek meaning, (3) like in Slavic, etc., translations of the Bible (for example, Slavic meaning of "mercy" is "generosity").

The explanation of "no mercy" as: "the Sun shows it's light to anyone, no matter how bad he is..." lets me think that "mercy" has another meaning here. IMHO, if the Sun send its light to anyone, it DOES have mercy.

Due to that, the statement above could be interpreted starting from: "Heaven and earth do not have pity to anything..." (i.e. they are ready to kill anything), up to: "Heaven and earth are not generous to anything" (they do not want to feed anything).
(By the way, how heaven and earth could be [not] merciful to such things like stones, trees or cars?)

In my opinion, better interpretation of the phrase comes from the pictogram of the kanji "仁" (translated here as "mercy"). The kanji consists from parts: "a man" and "two". Among other interpretations of the kanji, it could be intetrpreted as "two human beings merged into one" or "two entities merged into one", or "two entities considered as one". Some esoterical schools calls such "merge" as "identification" ("attachement" is also ok).

So, we could translate
"天地不仁,以萬物為芻狗;聖人不仁,以百姓為芻狗。" as:
"Heaven and earth do not identify themselfself with anything, they treat all things as stray dogs; The sage does not identify himself with people, he treats all people as stray dogs."
or
"Heaven and earth do not attach themselfself to anything, they treat all things as stray dogs; The sage does not attach himself to people, he treats all people as stray dogs."

And because heaven and earth are not identical:
"... Between heaven and earth, isn't it a bellows?", etc.

What do you think about that? :)

NaotoMatsumoto said...

Thank you, VZ-san.

"Attach themselves"?

As for identity, would you please visit «Don't rely 51-10» and clic the label «No Self»?

There is no such a thing as Self. Mu-ga 無我。


Naoto Matsumoto