Difficulty Understanding Wu Wei

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thought
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Difficulty Understanding Wu Wei

Post by thought »

How can one reject all desire without desiring not to desire and thereby undermining wu wei with itself?

If one were to think to visit a distant nation, or hear a particular song, or buy any kind of food but the most basic and essential, would one be violating wu wei?

How could a Taoist ever justify writing anything, or becoming an artist, or doing anything but become a wandering monk?

Desire seems to be essential to any creative or productive undertaking.

How can you taste the vinegar without the desire to taste it?

Without desire, why would one ever speak to any other person? Without desire, why would anyone pursue intimacy?

But if you have natural desire and deny it, then you obviously desire the lack of desire, which violates wu wei.

So how can you remain true to wu wei while still living a human sort of life?

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laotan
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Re: Difficulty Understanding Wu Wei

Post by laotan »

Desire is really everything as you state. But sometimes you must stop doing what you desire because is not * with the Tao. What means "not * with the Tao"? The answer to this question depends on what you think that Tao itself is.

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laotan
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Re: Difficulty Understanding Wu Wei

Post by laotan »

thought wrote:How could a Taoist ever justify writing anything, or becoming an artist, or doing anything but become a wandering monk?
Why should he become a wandering monk? Who says that he should become a wandering monk? Monks and Taoists are not similar things. I am myself a Taoist and I don't intent to become a wandering monk.

taoistfriend
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Re: Difficulty Understanding Wu Wei

Post by taoistfriend »

Based on Dao and De, how does a Daoist act ? As we disscussed above, we can’t do the bad: the society punish us, but if we do the good, this means we do the bad. As a result, Daoism suggests wu wei. In Vietnamese, it is called “vo vi” which means “doing nothing” literally. Actually, wu wei doesn’t mean so. It has four meanings:

1. Each thing, each person has De, has his own nature, so we don’t need to interfere him to help. The nature of humankind is to interfere others noisily. Sages who rule a country, they would let people follow their natures, would not need to teach, to correct people.
2. Follow the nature of us. That is to do but not do, not reluctant. Be coldheaded, not to let things affecting our minds. Live the life of us fully without wanting things outside. If doing it well, then follow nature for things to be as calm as us, i.e, let things live their natures, not to force them to follow our wills. That is “to rule by wu wei”, “do nothing but nothing is not done”, follow the nature of things to change, so although we do but we follow the nature, thus we are like we don’t do anything. Doing that way, we can’t say we do anthing.
3. Ruling people the way above, people do not know we do as the Sun shines naturally helping everything to live but the sun doesn’t know its service because it is impossible that the Sun doesn’t do so.
4. Three meanings above are wu wei passively. Wu wei actively is to destroy all blocking freedom and equality for mankind.
However, wu wei is hard to practise to ordinary people. Ordinary people love the good, hate the bad or love the bad, hate the good. Persons enlightened in Daoism wu wei naturally, never reluctantly as they see goodness and badness are nothingness, so they don’t interfere others. He is not the good, therefore he doesn’t killl the bad. He is also not the bad, therefore, he does not do badness. Wu wei is not doing nothing, but is to follow Dao, follow the nature, follow world’s laws, follow the law all are nothingness.

This chapter is the most abstract of the book. I don’t want so, but I have to. And Dao is the practical life, therefore I would like to be realistic by telling you readers an example of Wu Wei, for you to see how a Daoist act in real life like you see … bread. For instance, if in a couple, the wife, as she misunderstands the husband, wants to divorce him, what does he do to practise Wu Wei ? When getting married, the husband thought that because of happiness, they married. Now, also because of her happiness, she leaves. OK, leave me. But he is not unhappy, because if he is an Taoist, his mind is nothingness. Though he tries the best, he still does not feel unhappy, like the Zen master Hakuin in the preface above. Since he is not unhappy, he doesn’t hate the wife. Then he waits for several months, several years and observes the wife. During that time, as he is balanced, he doesn’t make any scandal and he works well to make sure he may supply money for the family. He prepares well for the family, then asks the wife:”Hey, darling, come back?” If the wife says “yes”, they live together again. In both cases, leaving him and come back to him, all are ok, peaceful,since all are for happiness.He never feels reluctant. Leaving or coming back all are ok.That is Wu Wei.

themaninthesuit
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Re: Difficulty Understanding Wu Wei

Post by themaninthesuit »

Hi I hope everything has been well for you. I have been practicing taoism for around a year now, but i think you are missing the point. Desires whither the heart and get in the way of having a clear mind that is free of ideas and concepts. Wu wei is a way to act without having expectations, ideas, or desires, so that your actions flow from the core of your being. This way your actions are one with the way of nature and your primal self. There was a time during my last semester of college where I had a ton of work to do for a few weeks and I worked harder then I ever did previously. And it was not because I desired to do my work or get a good grade. It felt like the world was telling me these tasks needed to be done, it felt like a natural thing to do. But I see what you mean about needing a desire to rid yourself of desire in the first place, and I relate this to Buddhism a bit. Because they tend to believe that desires are the root of suffering, and yet they desire to end desires / reach nirvana. I think you can walk along your path and hold on to that one desire to reach harmony, and by doing this you can slowly rid yourself of every other desire, and finally you will have to give up on the desire for harmony. So for the buddhist you practice until you only have the desire to exceed this world and reach enlightenment, but then since that is a desire you give it up and so you see that this world is nirvana and that this is the place you belong. I hope that makes sense and provides some help.

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laotan
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Re: Difficulty Understanding Wu Wei

Post by laotan »

themaninthesuit wrote:Hi I hope everything has been well for you. I have been practicing taoism for around a year now, but i think you are missing the point. Desires whither the heart and get in the way of having a clear mind that is free of ideas and concepts. Wu wei is a way to act without having expectations, ideas, or desires, so that your actions flow from the core of your being. This way your actions are one with the way of nature and your primal self. There was a time during my last semester of college where I had a ton of work to do for a few weeks and I worked harder then I ever did previously. And it was not because I desired to do my work or get a good grade. It felt like the world was telling me these tasks needed to be done, it felt like a natural thing to do. But I see what you mean about needing a desire to rid yourself of desire in the first place, and I relate this to Buddhism a bit. Because they tend to believe that desires are the root of suffering, and yet they desire to end desires / reach nirvana. I think you can walk along your path and hold on to that one desire to reach harmony, and by doing this you can slowly rid yourself of every other desire, and finally you will have to give up on the desire for harmony. So for the buddhist you practice until you only have the desire to exceed this world and reach enlightenment, but then since that is a desire you give it up and so you see that this world is nirvana and that this is the place you belong. I hope that makes sense and provides some help.
WU WEI is doing without forcing things to go your way. When you are with Tao your don't have to force things. One must follow not lead.

minmincorea

Re: Difficulty Understanding Wu Wei

Post by minmincorea »

I used to have the same kind of question about Wu-wei. Now I think am cleared of it. So I may give an help.

Wu-wei is not a fixed standard or ethical law of behavior, so it cannot be defined as a dictionary term. It is an outcome of interaction between Tao and I. Here 'I' am an existential being who is confronting with and struggling with Tao. Tao(道) is the same as Wu.(無) This is explained in chapt 11, on which I will post an interpretation later.

Chapt 1 mentions non-desire(無欲). Non-desire is not to neglect or deny desires. It is an understanding that I am perfect being, holy without any defectives. Hence I am the master of my desires, but the contrary is not true. So I control my desires, not being ruled or overwhelmed by them. Non-desire understanding can be obtained from in Wu, and nowhere else.

Chapt 3 mentions 'non-knowledge non-desire(無知無欲)'. Non-knowledge is not limited to an epistemological meaning. It represents orientation of my life as an existential being. Without knowing Tao I am inevitably oriented to worldly things. However once I know Wu, where I get non-desire understanding, I am more and more oriented to Wu. Non-knowledge and non-desire give driving power to Wu-wei(non-doing, 無爲). Tao De Ching treats from the beginning to the end how to make acquaintances with Tao and resemble Tao. Is it ever possible to do anything with Wu? Yes, we can and must do that from the genuine nature of human beings, so furthermore becoming sons of Wu, however, on free judgement and decision.

Wu-wei does not mean laziness abstainging from doing anything. By practising Wu-wei, I do useful things, but do not do useless things. I get the wisdom from Wu to distinguish the useful from the useless. It is quite different from, or sometime even cotradictory to, human knowledges or human wisdom. Getting more wisdom and my existence being promoted in a specific way, I know that my De(德) grows. 'Existential I' is the hero of practising De, whom Laotzu call the saint. In Tao De Ching the term saint refers to quite common people, but not elites or geniuses. De refers to 3 practical wisdom of non-desire, non-doing and non-knowledge, to which chapt 1, 2, 3 are attributed respectively.

Chapt 4 says: "I do not know whose son he is, born before Elephant god(象帝之先)." Here Laotzu is talking about himself. He does not know his father Tao because Tao is boundless and beyond his capture. But he knows that Tao is making him superior to the totality of worldly things.(Elephant god is personification of it.) Hence he understands that he himself is a son of Tao.

I am sorry not to make an one-shot answer. Wu-wei is a life and death topic. It is to turn the life itself to a new way, which is unknown to worldly people. Each one of us needs existential decision in order to practise Wu-wei. Then Tao is what? Is it probably the same being as The God of Jesus? Yes, from my practical study, I can confirm Tao is the God. Both Bible and Tao De Ching talk about the same Eternal Being. In fact I have interpreted all the context of Tao De Ching with a perfect consistency.

Sorry, my English is too short to find out proper terms in the Tao De Ching context. It would take several weeks or months, or years maybe, to catch up with English speaking Taoist friends. Thanks.

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laotan
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Re: Difficulty Understanding Wu Wei

Post by laotan »

I had retained this quote from your much too long post: Without knowing Tao I am inevitably oriented to worldly things. Can you explain it to me? What you mean by "wordly things"? And, again: are "wordly things" oposing someother things? Name them.

minmincorea

Re: Difficulty Understanding Wu Wei

Post by minmincorea »

laotan wrote:I had retained this quote from your much too long post: Without knowing Tao I am inevitably oriented to worldly things. Can you explain it to me? What you mean by "wordly things"? And, again: are "wordly things" oposing someother things? Name them.
Sorry I missed your question long.

'Worldly things' refers to 'ten thousand things' in Tao De Ching context. By this word Laotu includes all material objects with or without life, mental products like cultures,civilizationd, knowledge, wisdom, fantasiy whatever you can imagine. It opposes 'nothing', which menas that it is not known to me. Nothing is the same as Tao. LaoTsu call the activity of knowing Tao(=nothing) as 'naming' which is nothing else than resembling Tao, which again is termed as De. Preparing correct interpretation of chapter 1. pls wait sir.

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laotan
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Re: Difficulty Understanding Wu Wei

Post by laotan »

minmincorea wrote:
laotan wrote:I had retained this quote from your much too long post: Without knowing Tao I am inevitably oriented to worldly things. Can you explain it to me? What you mean by "wordly things"? And, again: are "wordly things" oposing someother things? Name them.
Sorry I missed your question long.

'Worldly things' refers to 'ten thousand things' in Tao De Ching context. By this word Laotu includes all material objects with or without life, mental products like cultures,civilizationd, knowledge, wisdom, fantasiy whatever you can imagine. It opposes 'nothing', which menas that it is not known to me. Nothing is the same as Tao. LaoTsu call the activity of knowing Tao(=nothing) as 'naming' which is nothing else than resembling Tao, which again is termed as De. Preparing correct interpretation of chapter 1. pls wait sir.
If this is so I can't imagine what your sentence might mean: Without knowing Tao ... Perhpas you should explain it further.

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