Tao Te Ching Chapter 5

I had to google what straw dogs meant for this chapter. Wikipedia gave me this to ponder:

Straw dogs (simplified Chinese刍狗traditional Chinese芻狗pinyinchú gǒu) were used as ceremonial objects in ancient China.

In one translation Chapter 5 of the Tao Te Ching begins with the lines “Heaven and Earth are heartless / treating creatures like straw dogs”.

Su Zhe‘s commentary on this verse explains: “Heaven and Earth are not partial. They do not kill living things out of cruelty or give them birth out of kindness. We do the same when we make straw dogs to use in sacrifices. We dress them up and put them on the altar, but not because we love them. And when the ceremony is over, we throw them into the street, but not because we hate them.”[1]

That is a lot to ponder considering the following two verses regarding sages and people. Is Lao-Tzu suggesting that the way is to consider people as straw dogs to be treated impartially?  As always it is clear to me that I need someone to sound this off of.

The second paragraph seems to me to suggest that the space between heaven and earth is the Tao and that the Tao is like a bellows in that it breaths the fire of life. Thus perhaps the purpose or meaning of life can be found within the Tao?

Finally the last paragraph of this chapter reminds me that I should spend less time trying to explain and understand the Tao and more time silently meditating to it and putting it to use.

Thank you as always to taoism.net for this chapter and more.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 11.43.33 AMHeaven and Earth are impartial
They regard myriad things as straw dogs
The sages are impartial
They regard people as straw dogs

The space between Heaven and Earth
Is it not like a bellows?
Empty, and yet never exhausted
It moves, and produces more

Too many words hasten failure
Cannot compare to keeping to the void


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