Block the openings.
Close the gate. (Ch.56)
Have you ever tried to learn Japanese?
Or, have you ever heard someone saying that learning Japanese is too hard?
Learning Japanese is difficult, I agree, but I want to say: "speaking Japanese is not".
All the kids born and raised in Japan can speak Japanese without difficulty, of course, but even for them learning Japanese is tough.
Why is it?
There are two obvious reasons. One is Kanji / Chinese characters.
The other is the Japanese grammar that they teach inside and outside the country.
Most students in Japan hate Japanese grammar lessons. One cannot blame them because our skills to teach them is far from satisfying.
New comers to the islands of Geisha and Hello Kitty will soon discover that their spoken language is much easier than the one they have learned outside unless they have a daring ambition to speak it correctly, which most clients of Geisha and owners of Hello Kitty do not do.
The key is the quasi-non-existence of a subject in a sentence. Sometimes, they are not even allowed to pronounce a subject while talking.
Is it difficult for an English-speaker to imagine a language without a subject?
Once you comprehend this, you will have a much easier access to the language and the people who use it to think and communicate.
For the Japanese, "self" was not something to be born with but an abstract concept that they learned painstakingly. When all of the people had finally come to consider the notion of "self" as part of common sense, they just found out how physically and psychologically painful it was to live with it.
Isn't it high time the people who invented the word Zen (not Chan) evaluated the pros and cons of abandoning Mu ga 無我 (=No self) and embracing Ga 我 (=Self)?
To read the text for the video, please visit Tao by Matsumoto 56-3 Block the openings.
Tao answers your question!