Chinese Medicine and Philosophy: Dogs and Virtue

Chinese Medicine and Philosophy: Dogs and Virtue

While Chinese Medicine and Philosophy do not speak about morality in the way Judeo-Christian-Islamic culture does, it does speak about morality in terms of balance between Yin and Yang and also the relationship between Heaven-Humans-Earth.

For example, the emperor rules in the name of Heaven (and here Heaven has none of the associations it has in Christianity or Islam, but is more associated with some kind of transcendant celestial spheres), and as such it is going against nature to revolt against the emperor (or to disrespect your parents.), because he rules with the mandate of heaven, or Tian, which is why the famous square in China that stands south of the famous gate to the Imperial City is called Tian-an-men Square, Men is gate, An is peace, and Tien is heaven.

On the other hand, if the emperor is corrupt and unjust, then it is our obligation as humans to overthrow the emperor, because he rules with the mandate of Heaven and this mandate requires virtue and justice.

What is interesting in Chinese philosophy and culture is the absence of our Western Judeo-Christian notions of sin, which involve many things not related to justice or virtue, per se, such as violation of the sabbath, or certain kinds of consensual sex acts.

On the other hand, most cultures look upon the taking of innocent life as some kind of sin, with differing conceptual frameworks.

Which leads us to dogs. Dogs are the most wonderful of pets as everyone, including people living in places where dogs are food, knows. So what is your obligation as a dog owner?

Fundamentally, it seems that if you are going to be a dog guardian, you should take the time to understand what a dog needs. If you dont, are you committing a JudeoChristian sin, or are you simply being unjust and unvirtuous?

Two of the items I noticed on the below list made special sense. One is to give you dog plenty of time to smell and explore her world. First thing I noticed as an adult when taking care of my friends dog and walking him in the park off leash, was just what an imperative he has to sniff his world, well beyond finding where to urinate. I really noticed this when walking him off leash on the trail in the mountains all the more, the degree to which is joy level goes up when the sniffing is in a new place...

The other is your obligation to teach your dog how to walk on leash without pulling. Training a dog can be done it only takes time.  Happy New Year!

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Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego