Lao Zi
Dao: Origin of All
Complete Dao De Jing
Wudang Taoism
Wudang Martial Arts
Taichi history
Tai Chi Classics
Taichi Articles
Taichi Mixed Forms
Chen Syle
Yang style
Wu Style
Woo Style
Sun Style
Li Style
Zhao Bao Style
Tai Chi & Health


4. The Dao of Heaven and Man

Lao Zi distinguished between the Dao of Heaven and that of man. As regards the former, it is bestowed with naturalness and selflessness, and is symbolic of equality as it treats all things alike. It is figuratively described as the drawing of a bow that aims at its target. Thus in Lao Zi's terms the Dao of Heaven "reduces whatever is excessive and supplements whatever is insufficient," and "benefits all things and causes no harm." On the other hand, the Dao of man is characterized with acquisitiveness, selfishness and inequality. It therefore "reduces the already insufficient and offers more to what is already excessive" (Ch. 77).
Lao Zi's advocacy of the Dao of Heaven as an ideal stands striking contrast to his critique of the Dao of man as a negative product of human civilization. By reading between the lines on can discover that the Dao of Heaven was set as a standard wit] which to measure and upgrade the Dao of man. Observably the former is commended as an ideal model for the latter to follow and thereby remold itself. That is why Lao Zi further stresses that "The Dao of Heaven has no preference. It is constantly with the good man" (Ch. 79). As a result, there arises "the Dao of the sage" that "acts for others but does not compete with them." personally think that the Dao of the sage is the fruit of the tree rooted in the Dao of Heaven but planted by man. It is in fact the highest form of spiritual life, resulting from the state of oneness between Heaven and man (tian ren he yi).
Oneness between Heaven and man can be also rendered as "Heaven-man oneness" or "nature-man oneness" according to the word order of the Chinese conception tian ren he yi. This key conception is a recurring thread throughout the development of Chinese thought. Its origin is usually traced back to Mencius (c.372-289 B.C.)[13] or Dong Zhongshu (179-104 B.C.).[14] I personally think that it can be dated back to Lao Zi and even further back to The Book of Changes (Yi Jing or I Ching).[15] As noted in the Dao De Jing, Lao Zi listed "four great things in the universeĦħ--the Dao, Heaven, Earth and Man. "Man follows the way of Earth. Earth follows the way of Heaven. Heaven follows the way of Dao. And Dao follows the way of spontaneity' or the way of naturalness that signifies the Dao itself. In context, the Dao, of the way of spontaneity, is the highest law or hidden principle beyond sense perception; Heaven and Earth as a whole refer to( nature or the universe. Man gets integrated with nature (i.e., Heaven and Earth) by acting upon directions pointed out by the Dao. More directly, Lao Zi expounded elsewhere that "he who seeks the Dao is identified with the Dao.... He who seeks Heaver is identified with Heaven .... He who is identified with the Dao, the Dao is also happy to have him.... He who is identified with Heaven, Heaven is also happy to have him" (Ch. 23). In this case "he who seeks..." apparently refers to man, and Heaven stands for nature or the universe. The identification of man with Heaven and with the Dao as well is surely a happy situation due to mutual reacceptance.
The fact of the matter is that the doctrine of Heaven-man oneness is all the more important to the Chinese people since their culture is essentially a non-religious one. Thus their pursuit of super-moral values is mostly stimulated and guided by their pursuit of the state of Heaven-man oneness as an ideal form of spiritual life. The doctrine itself has been carried on and further developed as exemplified in Neo-Daoism, Neo-Confucianism and modem schools of thought in the course of Chinese history. As far as I understand, the doctrine of Heaven-man or nature-man oneness can be rediscovered and more rewardingly approached nowadays from at least four dimensions-the spiritual, aesthetic, social, and environmental. First of all, from the spiritual dimension, the notion of nature-man oneness functions as a metaphysical bay where the anchor of the ship of life can be dropped. In other words, it is chiefly concerned with the cultivation and sublimation of human life in an ethical sense, and with the pursuit and location of man's destination in a spiritual sense. To my mind that this idea in Daoism emphasizes contentedness with the law of nature, identification with nature, unconditioned pursuit of spontaneity and absolute freedom from social ambitions. Secondly, nature-man oneness from an aesthetic viewpoint primarily refers to the inspiring interaction between the limited stream of personal life and the unlimited flow of universal change, which usually takes place in one's emotional world or at the time when one contemplates external objects. Interaction of this kind can facilitate bilateral projection, reinforcement and sublimation in a vital sense. Thirdly, in a social sense, the notion of nature-man oneness basically means the adaptation of people as individuals to the community. It can be envisaged as underlining the development of harmonious human relations. This is equivalent to the realization of unity or harmony in the sphere of human relations. Finally, with regard to the treatise of nature-man oneness from an environmental perspective, it directs man to reconsider his place in nature. It thereby consolidates his consciousness of environmental protection, and in turn ameliorates the quality of life in general.[16].

"Man oneness" as meta-moral value integrated in Tai Chi Chuan during combat but also daily life, can be applied as a perfect sense of "global picture" instead of a particular view related to our individual emotions or a spiritual attitude to prevent to be excessively affected by daily life "karmic' changes or dynamic changes during sparring...


Please notice our new email address:
Copyright @2007 by CMA Ltd. All rights Reserved.