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Wu Wei at a glance
By: Thang Fai Sing
Wu Wei if being translated as "do nothing" is one of the famous Tao () philosophy. This philosophy can be found in Dao De Jing ( ) that makes a lot of people try to get its main meaning. From this searching, people who are not Taoist might find difficulties in getting the meaning, even worst they might get it wrongly.
Based on the legend, Wu Wei has caused Tao being forbidden for some dynasties in China. The Ruler at that time thought Tao with Wu Wei would degrade people's morale because the interpretation was to make people inactive and lazy, as the meaning of Wu Wei itself was keep silent, do nothing and meditating.
Is it right?
The above meanings of Wu Wei are wrong. In ancient Chinese literatures, Wu Wei is known as Wu Suo Bu Wei (not doing nothing) and Wu Bu Wei (have no target on the work). In this matter it should begin from the real work (You Wei) and then becoming doesn't have any target (Wu Wei).
From this order which is known as: From nothing becoming exist - Wu Zhong Sheng you Shoung "You Wei" Jian Ru "Wu Wei", it means from working change into does not have a target.
The lowest level is here we do nothing, next level is do something, and the highest level is doing something but does not feel having done it or does not have a target. Wu Wei is a stage where we have achieved the highest level.
However, Wu Wei doesn't mean that we must become lazy or do nothing. The stage of laziness is the lowest level and to step into "do something" someone has to have a target in Wu Wei level, everything has united with ourselves, so we won't have any pressure in doing anything.
In Gong De (good deeds), the lowest level is when we do nothing of good deeds. The next step would be when we are doing it. And the highest level is when we do Gong De but we don't feel has done it at all. A level where we do good deeds without expecting a repayment/ in returns.
This philosophy also can be implemented in Gong Fu (martial arts). The lowest level in this case is when we don't know any of the Gong Fu style. The next level is when we learnt some styles, so when we face an enemy we can choose which style we want to use. The highest level is when we face our enemy and has nothing in mind, all necessary styles are just come out automatically as a reflex without even to think.
From the above examples, we summarize that Wu Wei has a word of "spontaneous" and "reflex". It means in the highest level, we have to do a good thing without thinking of it over. It is not the same as clumsy, because to get up to this level we must start from do nothing then do something, finally not do nothing. This level can be achieved if we did a lot of practice and correct our mistakes to become "supreme".
In Gong De, at first someone does nothing. Then to get to the Wu Wei level, someone has to force him/her-self to do gong de. Of course, they still expect some rewards towards their deeds. But Gongde must be done in many times until it has become a good habit. And at that moment they has achieved Wu Wei level.
Jingo (meditating) also has Wu Wei level. In this case, beginning with meditating in which we just sit motionless. However, this is not the case. Instead of just sitting motionless, we actually do something that is concentrating our mind.
At the end, let's thing about this Wu Wei which was written by Lao Zi ( ) in Dao De Jing 2500 years ago. It is very sophisticated and spiritual. This showed how great Tao (which was created by Lao Zi) is.
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