Daoism and Cct

Religious Beliefs

What is the essential Daoist approach to Nature?

According to Daoist tradition, all things naturally exist in a primordial harmony. When things go wrong, whether in nature or in human society, the cause is invariably an imbalance in the equilibrium of Yin and Yang that results in a blockage of the flow of natural energies, qi or chi. Part of the problem is the human tendency to seek control. When that desire leads to ill-conceived attempts to dominate nature, the outcome can only be disastrous. Nature yields its abundance easily and graciously to all among the “ten thousand things” (creatures) that are willing to receive without grabbing or hoarding. When human beings develop a warped notion of their place in the larger scheme of things, attempting to force their will, all of nature may suffer temporary setbacks. But in the end, nature’s balance will return. Traditional Chinese landscape paintings say it much better than words can. Massive mountains loom in the upper part of a hanging scroll, their craggy peaks bathed in sunlight. From the heights a waterfall cascades into the valley below, forming a lake as the stream emerges into the plain. Tucked away in a mountain scene, a tiny human figure sits meditatively in a picturesque pavilion. Further below, an unobtrusive figure shoulders a load across a small bridge. A solitary fisherman drops a line from his slender craft. Between valley and peaks, or perhaps where the peak imperceptibly becomes valley, hangs a misty cloud of that cosmic force known as qi. Landscape paintings, called “mountain-water pictures,” thus suggest the perfect balance between Yang and Yin.


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