The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Friday, January 22, 2010

Daoist Metaphors: The Way of Water


I have long held that Daosim isn't anything mystical at all, but rather a way to make sense of the world around us not unlike Western Science.


It was from observing the way the world worked around them the ancient Chinese guys came up with the concepts of Wuji, Taiji, Yin Yang, Heaven Man and Earth, the Four Season, the Five Elements, and so on.


Also, by thoroughly understanding how nature works, the Daoist has insight into human nature as well.


Having this understanding, the Daoist can align himself with the rhythms and currents of nature and find his way in the world.


I have just recently read The Way of Water and Sprouts of Virtue by Sarah Allan; which I happily found resonates with my thoughts. From the back cover:

"This book maintains that early Chinese philosophers, whatever their philosophical school, assumed common principles informed the natural and human words and that one could understand the nature of man by studying the principles which govern nature. Accordingly, the natural world rather than a religious tradtion provided the root metaphors of early Chinese thought. Sarah Allen examines the concrete imagery, most importantly water and plant life, which served as a model for the most fundamental concepts in Chinese philosophy including such ideas as dao, "the way", de, "virtue" or "potency", xin, the "heart/mind", xing "nature", and qi "vital energy." Water, with its extraordinarily rich capacity for generating imagery, provided the primary model for the continuous sequence of generation, growth, reproduction, and death and were the basis for the Chinese understanding of the nature of man in both religion and philosophy."

4 comments:

Restita, Seattle Wushu Center said...

Great post! I'm glad you gace me the link to your blog. I'll be visiting often, as well! -Restita

Rick said...

Welcome to Cook Ding's Kitchen.

Classical Tai Chi of Buffalo said...

The Taoists took no "transcendental concept", no "religious canons" no spirituality as we know in the West nowdays. No wonder there is so much interest in Eastern Philosophy, Western needed a physical basis much as the early Taoists modeled their metaphors, water, fire, etc., and West could only model on "pie in the sky". Teaching Taiji, I hear a lot of people wanting to settle for "pie in the sky", not much sustenance there.

Jim R.

Rick said...

It's a lot more convenient to just imagine rather than actually practice.