The accused stands helpless before the judge.
Pen is poised to determine right from wrong.
In one arbitrary stroke,
Life is suddenly decided.
Do judges have Tao? Dispassionate to the point of cruelty, making distinctions on the basis of arbitrary rules, can they be a part of a humanistic view of Tao? The answer depends on the context. If you are speaking of the Tao of nature-loving hermits, the answer is no : No one has the right to pass judgment on another. If you are speaking of society, however, those who follow Tao accept the necessity of set rules.
These laws are the Tao of the society. Once you are in the world of people and away from the world of nature, you are immersed in dualistic distinctions. Then concepts such as righteousness and mercy have meaning. Judgment is the process of comparing ideas in order to find agreement or disagreement with the Tao of society. The facts must be thoroughly examined. Judges must clearly and wisely apply distinctions. That which agrees is the truth.
In the same way, we are all compelled to examine the ongoing circumstances of our lives. That is part of the responsibility of being human. Embracing Tao will not exempt you from the need to render judgments and make decisions. We are both the ultimate judge and the accused. When your final day comes, you yourself must be the examiner. Did you do well? Or did you squander your precious existence? You must decide.
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