Friday, July 19, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 18, Part 6

Trey Smith

Let me try putting it this way. The inaction of Heaven is its purity, the inaction of earth is its peace. So the two inactions combine and all things are transformed and brought to birth. Wonderfully, mysteriously, there is no place they come out of. Mysteriously, wonderfully, they have no sign. Each thing minds its business and all grow up out of inaction. So I say, Heaven and earth do nothing and there is nothing that is not done. Among men, who can get hold of this inaction?
~ Burton Watson translation ~
For me, translating this concept as "inaction" is a bit of a misnomer. The person who is completely inactive wouldn't survive very long! The way I understand wu wei is that it signifies unforced action (not striving).

To view the Index page for this series, go here.

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