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A Discourse on Taoist Philosophy In an ancient China full of selfish lords underhanded merchants who would do anything to turn a profit and faithless children who went against their parents out of self-interest the modest thinker Lao-Tze created his philosophy of Taoism It sought to balance the excess of creative impulse and active imagination yang with receptivity passiveness and understanding yin His timeless text Tao Te Ching overflows with paradoxes and antilogies as it attempts to explain the mysterious power of the cosmos Te a concept virtually unheard of in the Western world translated as actionless action Wu Wei the being who has mastered wu wei the Sage and the way itself Tao things which to the untrained eye appropriately enough may ironically never be understood Te may best be described as the effortless spontaneity of all things acting in a harmonious way Lao-Tze saw te as the forces of the world at their purest the perfect concord of yin and yang It is characteristic of all natural things to act in regard to one another and Lao-Tze obviously wanted to carry this over to human behavior Te is also seen as the power which is used by a master of tao not a physical power that would go against the word of the tao but rather the humility that living simply will bring The true key to understanding te is to realize that one is not living life but that life is living the individual instead to see this one must grasp that all humans are living the same cycle and that they are part of a greater whole which is paradoxically nothing they are born from nothing they exist and then they return to nothing To think about this enigmatic cycle is truly humbling It is no wonder that Lao-Tze described te as the mystical virtue of the world A concept deeply rooted in te is wu wei which is
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