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The Dao as the Origin of All


Lao Zi was the first to coin the special concept of the Dao, which in turn serves as the keystone of his Daoism qua philosophy. Subtle and profound, the Dao is viewed as the origin of Heaven and earth, and the mother of all things. It thus features a principle of all individual principles, and a movement of dialectic characteristics. In addition, there is a distinction made between the Dao of Heaven (tian dao) and the Dao of Man (ren dao) that produce a highly enlightening interaction.

1 The Essence of the Dao

The exposition of the Dao reveals Lao Zi's doctrine of the origin and coming into being of the universe on the one hand, and his philosophy of "following the way of spontaneity" on the other. You (Being-within-form) and Wu (Being-without-form) are described as the two essential aspects of the Dao from which its subtlety, profundity and dynamic potency can be discerned and perceived accordingly. The nature of the Dao is a topic which runs throughout the text of the Dao De Jing, particularly in chapters 1, 4, 6 and 25 (DDJ).

Figuring among the rare contemporary experts having conducted concrete researches on martial arts and Dao De Jing, Dr. Yu is probably the most known for his prolific works on Zhan Zhuang and its deep correlation with DDJ. Supported in his theories by a large number of Tai Chi experts, formulating that Zhan Zhuang (pile standing) is also one most essential part of Tai Chi Chuan, significantly present in all beginning form and the ending form of any Tai Chi frame, generally called "wuji" (without form), where Wu reveals its full significance as described above.

1.1 (Chapter 1)
The Dao[1] that can be told is not the constant Dao.[2]
The Name[3] that can be named is not the constant Name [4]
The Being-without-form[5] is the origin of Heaven and Earth; [6]
The Being-within-form[7] is the mother of the myriad things.[8]
Therefore it is always from the Being-without-form
That the subtlety of the Dao can be contemplated;[9]
Similarly it is always from the Being-within-form
That the manifestation[10] of the Dao can be perceived.[11]
These two have the same source but different names,[12]
They both may be called deep and profound.[13]
The Deepest and most profound
Is the doorway to all subtleties[14]

Annotations:
[1] The Chinese concept of the Dao (Tao) literally means "way" or "road." Based on this primary meaning, it assumed in ancient times the metaphorical sense of the "Way of man," signifying human morality, conduct or truth, with its meaning confined to social and human affairs. Yet in Lao Zi's terminology it is found ascribed to certain metaphysically extended implications that vary with different contexts with regard to his doctrine of the origin of Heaven and earth (i.e. universe or nature as a whole), and to the general law of natural change, social development and ethical conduct as well.
As Han Fei Zi (c. 280-233 B.C.) defined it, the Dao is the total of all principles whereby all things are as they are. It is the basis of the countless individual principles. Principles (li) are the concrete rules that make each thing come into being, whereas the Dao is that whereby all things become complete. Therefore it is said that the Dao is what produces principles. With individual principles, one thing cannot be the other.... All things have their own different principles whilst the Dao brings the principles of all things into uniform agreement. (See ˇ°Jie Laoˇ± [Explaining Lao Zi] in Han Fei Zi).
The characteristics of the Dao can be analyzed as follows:
(1) The Dao is the natural law of all things, excluding all gods and heavenly impulses.
(2) The Dao is as eternal as the naturalness of the ever-existing physical world. It is thus infinite in time and space.
(3) The Dao is the essence of all things and manifests itself through its attribute De (Te). Hence the Dao cannot exist without all things existing.



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