Actually, when enlightened, a Taoist finds he has an empty mind, but he still has an intelect, therefore he perceives goodness, badness, to win, to lose, to be strong, to be weak as well as ordinary people. So,a Taoist sees love & hatred, not to be indifferent to others. Moreover, as he sees he is chaotic & his enemies are chaotic the same, he returns evil with good, not to harm his foes, looks like he loves his enemies like Lao Tzu says.
As we know, Dao, the chaos of yin and yang is the essence of the world. But why are things so multiform ? That is because of De (Te). In Daoism, De is the what nature, or Dao gives things. For example, fire is Dao, its De is hot and bright. Water is Dao, its De is flexible and is good solvent for many substances. A magnet is Dao, its De is attracting iron. Each individual has his own De, i.e, his own things innate, his own talent, his own natual endowments, his own tastes. It is impossible that things don’t do so is what we call De. For example, fire is bright naturally; it must do so; things which are not bright are not fire. A magnet must attracts iron; if it doesn’t, it is not a magnet. De is what things get from Dao, what man gets from Dao, or nature. Say it another words, De is Dao manifests in each man, each thing. Dao and De, although different names, are oneness in a thing, in an individual. Thus, the world is one, not many. Things, phenomenons, humankind, although numerous, multiform, but all are Dao. In change, there is unchange, there is oneness lasting forever, and constant. But remember this: De does not make things, phenomenons, people become good or bad, or not become yin or yang. For instance, a magnet attracts iron , but this is not good nor bad. Magnets rotates and produce electricity. Electricity is used to run radio, TV, computer, telephone, cell phone, etc… sounds good. But without electricity, Hitler could not produce a great deal of weapon using to kill millions of people in the world war II, or say it another words, electrictiy, or magnets are not good nor bad, or they are nothingness.
Based on Dao and De, how does a Daoist act ? As we disscussed above, we can’t do the bad: the society punish us, but if we do the good, this means we do the bad. As a result, Daoism suggests wu wei. In Vietnamese, it is called “vo vi” which means “doing nothing” literally. Actually, wu wei doesn’t mean so. It has four meanings:
1. Each thing, each person has De, has his own nature, so we don’t need to interfere him to help. The nature of humankind is to interfere others noisily. Sages who rule a country, they would let people follow their natures, would not need to teach, to correct people.
2. Follow the nature of us. That is to do but not do, not reluctant. Be coldheaded, not to let things affecting our minds. Live the life of us fully without wanting things outside. If doing it well, then follow nature for things to be as calm as us, i.e, let things live their natures, not to force them to follow our wills. That is “to rule by wu wei”, “do nothing but nothing is not done”, follow the nature of things to change, so although we do but we follow the nature, thus we are like we don’t do anything. Doing that way, we can’t say we do anthing.
3. Ruling people the way above, people do not know we do as the Sun shines naturally helping everything to live but the sun doesn’t know its service because it is impossible that the Sun doesn’t do so.
4. Three meanings above are wu wei passively. Wu wei actively is to destroy all blocking freedom and equality for mankind.
However, wu wei is hard to practise to ordinary people. Ordinary people love the good, hate the bad or love the bad, hate the good. Persons enlightened in Daoism wu wei naturally, never reluctantly as they see goodness and badness are nothingness, so they don’t interfere others. He is not the good, therefore he doesn’t killl the bad. He is also not the bad, therefore, he does not do badness. Wu wei is not doing nothing, but is to follow Dao, follow the nature, follow world’s laws, follow the law all are nothingness.
This chapter is the most abstract of the book. I don’t want so, but I have to. And Dao is the practical life, therefore I would like to be realistic by telling you readers an example of Wu Wei, for you to see how a Daoist act in real life like you see … bread. For instance, if in a couple, the wife, as she misunderstands the husband, wants to divorce him, what does he do to practise Wu Wei ? When getting married, the husband thought that because of happiness, they married. Now, also because of her happiness, she leaves. OK, leave me. But he is not unhappy, because if he is an Taoist, his mind is nothingness. Though he tries the best, he still does not feel unhappy, like the Zen master Hakuin in the preface above. Since he is not unhappy, he doesn’t hate the wife. Then he waits for several months, several years and observes the wife. During that time, as he is balanced, he doesn’t make any scandal and he works well to make sure he may supply money for the family. He prepares well for the family, then asks the wife:”Hey, darling, come back?” If the wife says “yes”, they live together again. In both cases, leaving him and come back to him, all are ok, peaceful,since all are for happiness.He never feels reluctant. Leaving or coming back all are ok.That is Wu Wei.
Wu Wei sounds “new” and very different from normal persons’ solutions. A couple of my folks have been divorced for decades but they are now still reproaching with each other. I often hear the first wife curses the second wife “the mare” and I smile, thinking to myself “Oh, God! Being stuck with dualisms, she can’t go beyond the misery. But I give you this book, discussing the truth, leaving all misery far from you, but you think that I am young and inexperienced (she is 17 years older than me), you don’t need to read mine. All life you hurt but I can not help you although I have the best solution here.”
After discussing the truth, we go to the section how a Daoist is like in real life; how he applies Dao in everyday like, and how is his inner world like. The key point is how Dao affects a man in real life.