These thoughts arise after viewing an ongoing discussion in Tao Speaks on the first two verses of TTC 5.
In Chapter 5 of the Tao Te Ching, Laozi indicated that Heaven and Earth did not act out of benevolence. Neither did the sages. They treat the myriad things and the hundred surnames (humans) as straw dogs.
Ancients formerly used humans as sacrifices to their gods until such human sacrifices were replaced with straw dogs. When Laozi mentioned straw dogs, he provided a clue. Straw dogs were insignificance things yet the gods accepted them as sacrifices. Why?
Perhaps, the answer is on every one’s lips, yet some scholars and experts point here and there and tend to think they are rather wise.
History is twisted once again to say Laozi used the TTC to condemn the Confucians while others study words of his so called ‘students’ to point to the thoughts of the great sage. It seems like sacrilege. Twisting history could come from attachment to misconceptions, narrow mindedness, and not doing the necessary homework. (Think Japan and now Taiwan changing their history books)
If such scholars and experts keep on misleading the students and future generations with their own attachments and idiosyncrasies, more and more like them could be muddled. Why can’t these scholars and experts just follow what was said by Laozi in his Chapter 5 with regards to the actions of Heaven, Earth and the sages? All is required is the simple and yet highest regarded virtue by the ancients. (Refer TTC 38)
For those who still do not have a clue, the answer to the question, the word on their lips, the most regarded virtue by the ancients, is sincerity (Zheng). (Refer Shujing, Zhouyi)
In case there is a remaining question, sincerity comes from the heart. That is why the gods accept sincere sacrifices of straw dogs (instead of humans). That is why sages act out of sincerity without any regards to the hundred surnames. And Heaven and Earth act out of sincerity without any regard to the myriad things.
If readers think that attaining sincerity is easy, go ask the Yi about it.