Monday, November 12, 2007

TTC Chapter 48 - Wu Wei

Laozi discussed Wu Wei (non action) in Chapter 48 of his Tao Te Ching which included how to achieve that state. Let this student attempt to translate what the great sage had said, with some commentary, and see if readers can make more sense of it:

Studying daily increases, acting on Tao daily decreases.

Decrease to further decrease to arrive at non action.

Non action means no need for action.

To rule all under heaven is not your business.

Reaching that possess business insufficient to obtain all under heaven.


With study our good thoughts and knowledge daily increases. With daily meditation amidst the stillness; thoughts and anger decreases. (Meditation is part of cultivating or acting on Tao.)

When there is out and out decrease in thoughts and anger, a cultivator arrives at non action (Wu Wei). When the cultivator arrives at non action, it leads to spontaneous action without action. The spirit manifests and magic sets in.

Upon reaching such a state, it is not the cultivator’s business neither does he have sufficient knowledge, to rule all under heaven.

If cultivators examine the Yi / Increase and Sun / Decrease hexagrams in the Zhouyi carefully, they can come to a better understanding of the requisite dual cultivation of essence and bodily life as espoused by Laozi in the Tao Te Ching including Chapter 48. And do not forget to take this translation with a pinch of salt, as usual.

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