“I'd rather be a dog in peaceful times than a man in times of chaos.”
This saying implies that a dog living in an age of peace and prosperity is better off than a person who lives during chaotic times. When peace prevails, there are no wars and catastrophes, nor thieves or bandits, so a dog does not need to be very alert when guarding the door. It can watch the door in a relaxed way.
During times of disorder, however, every household installs metal locks and has a fierce watchdog. Wealthy families hire security guards to watch their doors. Even with such tight security measures, the people inside the house are still nervous and afraid, as if they were walking along the edge of a cliff or across thin ice. In such a frightening world, being human isn't much fun, so the ancients said, “I'd rather be a dog in peaceful times than a man in times of chaos.”
Moreover, the majority of the people in the world take what is right to be wrong, and what is wrong to be right. Filiality is the most proper conduct, yet people don't practice it. Instead, some people beat and scold their parents. They publically accuse their fathers and take their mothers to court. This makes them feel powerful. How confused and chaotic this world has become! It is almost inhuman.
Take another look! President Reagan was the victim of an assassination attempt several years ago, yet the court declared the person who shot him and hurt his companions not guilty of a criminal offense. Someone who tried to kill the president is judged not guilty; isn't that simply encouraging people to break the laws? Isn't that encourag¬ing people to ignore the laws and the principles of heaven? I don't know. This is paradoxical. Even if the court didn't want to give him the death sentence, and even if he was mentally imbalanced, he should not have been granted total freedom and immunity from the law. Yet the court released him as not guilty. How strange!
Recently more than 300,000 homosexuals held a demonstration in San Francisco. Both the old and the young joined the senseless uproar. These are demonic beings coming to cause disorder in the world, making people so muddled that they turn right and wrong around. They take black to be white, and white to be black. These people appear to be human, but in reality they are demonic beings who have come to the world to disrupt the normal order of things. Most people don't know any better and think they are legitimate. Isn't this pathetic? Anarchy has reached its extreme point, and this age is truly pitiful! Foolish people would not feel that way. However, a person with a sense of righteousness would cry bitterly over the situation and fast for three days!
A talk given on July 1, 1982
at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas