paper 2 - tao qian revised

paper 2 - tao qian revised - Eric Couillard Asian 265 1...

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Eric Couillard Asian 265 1 April 2008 The Tao of T’ao Ch’ien I remember my first time going to a park in China. Compared to the parks I'd been to back in the suburbs of the U.S., this place was gigantic. The first thing I saw was a large public square full of people practicing the ancient Taoist art of Tai Qi, and as I explored deeper into the enormous park, I discovered a gigantic Taoist pagoda. In China, few things have been as influential in developing the culture as Taoism. Apart from the practices of the modern Chinese, another excellent example of Taoism's influence on Chinese culture can be found in the poetry of T'ao Ch'ien, which reflect the concepts of wu-wei and a simple agrarian life, both major aspects of philosophical Taoism. Taoism is an ideology that describes the proper way (or Tao) to live in harmony with nature. It stresses wu-wei , which translates into something like 'non-action.' The idea behind wu-wei is not simply doing nothing, but it's living in a way which is in perfect harmony with nature. If you live in this way, your actions are so natural that it feels like you're not doing anything at all. An example of how wu-wei works could be given through exercise. Personally, I hate running. If I run to exercise, by the time I’m done I’m miserable and exhausted. However, I love dancing – I could dance for an entire night and burn twice the amount of calories I’d burn through running, but I wouldn’t be half as tired. This is because dancing is closer to my 'nature' than running is. .. because I enjoy dancing, it is effortless and, to a certain extent, if I dance I am acting out wu-wei. Couillard 1
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This example, however, only scratches the surface of what wu-wei is all about. If one were to act in wu-wei all the time, s/he wouldn’t go to school, wouldn’t go to work, and
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course ASIAN 265 taught by Professor Staff during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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paper 2 - tao qian revised - Eric Couillard Asian 265 1...

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