Zhuangzi non-acting or wuwei means neither too much nor too little action

March 5, 2015

Zhuangzi, considered the second greatest Daoist probably lived around 350 BC. It is said that he was very modest and that he frequently rejected high office.

 

An important concept in Zhuangzi is non-acting (wuwei), which means neither too much nor too little action. One who is able to attain this approaches the way (dao) and becomes a true human. True humans are characterized by their calm and empty spirit, do not live for the outside world, and can complete their full lifespan. In Tai Chi Chuan these thoughts are also of great importance.

 

‘I have heard of letting the world be

and letting the world alone.

I have never heard of regulating the world.

Letting the world be means to fear

That it will go beyond its inner nature.

Letting the world alone means to fear

That it changes its inner power.

If the world does not go beyond its inner nature

or change its inner power,

what need is there to regulate the world?

In ancient times, when King Yao regulated the world,

he made everybody extremely happy,

enjoying their inner nature.

So there was no stillness anymore.

When King Jie regulated the world,

he made everybody fully exhausted,

harming their inner nature.

So there was no pleasure any longer.

To be without stillness and pleasure

is the opposite of the inner power.

To abide long without inner power

Is not possible.

Who is too happy

Will reach the limit of yang.

Who is too exhausted

Will reach the limit of yin.`

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