Selecting Theme for Report & Accumulation of Sources
After studying Module 6: Lecture Materials & Resources, discuss the following:
As we have journeyed throughout the semester we have focused our studies on identifying major themes and different teachings of the religions of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. We have either directly or indirectly focused on developing a deeper understanding of each religions’ theology, sacred scriptures, code of ethics, prayer and worship rituals, and a brief history of the religion. For the most part, we have looked at each of these religions independently, but now as we begin to wrap up our course we will revisit these religions and begin to examine them critically and ask the intriguing question: What similarities (and differences) do these religions share amongst each other regarding their teachings of a specific topic?
For your final report, you will select a theme, from the list below, and recapitulate each religion’s teaching on that particular theme. You will then complete a comparative analysis on the significant similarities that each religion has with Catholicism specifically – not just Christianity in light of the topic as well as delineate their distinct differences. Once you have completed the comparative analysis, you will reflect on the following question:
How can (or how has) the knowledge gleaned in this report and in this course change(d) your perspective/outlook on dialogue with people of other faiths? ‘
You can share a personal experience that you have had with someone of a different faith background or how you think having a better understanding of these different teachings will help shape your future interactions with people of different faiths.
Select the theme, from the list below, that you plan on focusing on for the final report.
Identify at least 6 different sources (other than the course text) that you plan on utilizing within your final report.
You will need to identify at least 1 different source for each of the 5 religions
For each of the sources, provide the following:
Name of the Source
Website URL to the source
Which religion the source pertains to
Ex: Christianity, Hinduism
If it pertains to more than one you may list them all.
List of Selected Themes:
Religion’s Understanding of God
Metaphysical and Supernatural Beings
How is salvation achieved?
Eschatology – End Times
Death and the Afterlife
Pain and Suffering
Freedom and Free Will
Sin and Forgiveness
Treatment of Women or the Marginalized in Society
Prayer and Worship Practices
Celebrations of Life Events
Initiations into the Religion
Your initial post should be at least 150 words. Incorporate 6 different sources, formatted and cited as the instructor indicated in the announcements.
A PTER R
Explain the meaning of Buddhism and related terms. Buddhism means religion of enlightenment, not religion of the Buddha. Buddha derives from the ancient Sanskrit word meaning
enlightened, awakened. The English word Buddhism was coined in the 1830s. Today almost all Buddhists use it as the name of their religion.
5Encountering Buddhism: The Middle Path to Liberation
Buddha [BUH-dah] “Enlightened One”; although Gautama is “the Buddha,” the term applies to all who attain enlightenment (p. 110)
Buddhism [BUHD-ihz-um] Religion of enlightenment (p. 110)
dharmachakra [dahr-muh-CHAHK- ruh] “Wheel of the teaching,” a symbol of Buddhism (p. 111)
Bodhi Tree [BOH-dee] Tree in Bodh Gaya under which Gautama Buddha gained enlightenment (p. 113)
bodhisattva [bohd-hee-SAHT-vuh] “Buddha-tobe,” one who comes very close to achieving full buddha nature but post- pones it to help others (p. 117)
Dalai Lama [DAHL-eye (not “dolly”) LAH- muh] “Ocean of wisdom,” head of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism (p. 119)
Four Passing Sights Gautama’s encoun- ter with old age, sickness, death, and an ascetic (p. 113)
Hinayana [hin-ah-YAHN-uh] “Small vehicle” of southern Buddhism known more commonly as Theravada (p. 115)
koan [KOH-an] Zen riddle meant to induce nonrational enlightenment (p. 117)
lama [LAH-muh] “Guru, teacher,” leader of Tibetan Buddhism (p. 120)
Mahayana [mah-hah-YAHN-uh] “Large vehicle” branch of Buddhism in northern and eastern Asia (p. 116)
Middle Path Style of life between extreme self-denial and ordinary life, that can lead to enlightenment (p. 111)
parinirvana [pahr-ee-near-VAHN-uh] The Buddha’s entry into full nirvana at his death (p. 114)
sangha [SAHN-guh] Community of Buddhist monastics (p. 113)
Shakyamuni [shak-yah-MOO-nee] “The sage of the Shakyas” clan, another name for the Buddha (p. 112)
sutras [SOO-truh] Canonical scripture text (p. 115)
Tathagata [tah-THAH-gah-tuh] “One who has gone” to enlightenment; honorific term for the Buddha (p. 113)
Theravada [tair-uh-VAH-duh] “Original/ abiding teaching,” main name of southern branch of Buddhism (p. 115)
Three Refuges Basic Buddhist statement: “I take refuge in the Buddha; I take refuge in the dharma; I take refuge in the sangha.” (p. 114)
Tipitaka [tih-pee-TAH-kuh] “Three Baskets,” the main internal divisions of the canon (Sanskrit: Tripitaka) (p. 115)
Trikaya [trih-KIGH-yuh] Three bodies of the Buddha: the historical Gautama Buddha, many heavenly buddhas, and the Buddhist teaching (p. 116)
Vajrayana [vahj-ruh-YAH-nuh] “Diamond Vehicle,” formal name for Tibetan Buddhism (p. 120)
zazen [ZAH-zehn] Seated meditation in Zen Buddhism (p. 118)
Zen Buddhist group that aims for the immediate acquiring of a “buddha mind” (p. 117)
Summarize how Buddhism was founded and developed into what it is today. Gautama founded the Middle Path to enlightenment, which rescued him from constant reincarnation. He taught this to a monastic community that he established. After his death, the monks spread his movement
through India and most of Asia. Buddhism developed into three main branches: the Theravada branch in south Asia, the Mahayana branch in China and Japan, and the Vajrayana branch of Tibetan Buddhism. Since 1800, Buddhism has come to the West as well, and made the largest impact of any Asian religion.
Outline the essential Buddhist teachings. The universe operates by karma, the law of the cause and effect of actions. The cycle of rebirth is the ultimate cause of all suffering; the ultimate goal is to escape that suffering. The enlightened are not reborn after they die but go into nirvana. The Four Noble Truths
diagnose the human problem as suffering, describe its cause as desire, propose the cure of ending desire, and prescribe the Noble Eightfold Path. This path is a series of right things: understanding, intention, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and contemplation.
5-1 Key Terms
5-2 Key Terms
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Encountering Buddhism: The Middle Path to Liberation
anatta [ah-NAHT-uh] No soul, the Third Characteristic of Existence (p. 123)
anicca [uh-NEEK-uh] Impermanence, the First Characteristic of Existence, which leads to suffering (p. 123)
dharma [DAHR-muh] Law, teaching of Buddhism (p. 121)
dukkha [DUHK-uh] Suffering, the Second Characteristic of Existence, caused by desire (p. 123)
Four Noble Truths Basic teaching of Buddhism that (1) all life is suffering, (2) suffering is caused by desire, (3) to end desire is to end suffering, and (4) to end desire one must follow the Noble Eightfold Path (p. 121)
karma [KAR-muh] Law of the cause and effect of actions done by sentient beings (p. 121)
mandala [MAHN-dah-luh] Symbolic Buddhist picture (p. 123)
mindfulness The practice of meditative awareness, especially of one’s own state (p. 123)
nirvana [neer-VAH-nuh] Blowing out, extinction of desire, attachment, and suffering (p. 121)
Noble Eightfold Path Right understanding, intention, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and contemplation (p. 122)
samsara [sam-SAR-uh] Wandering through reincarnations, a main cause of human suffering (p. 121)
Three Characteristics of Existence Impermanence, suffering, and no soul (p. 123)
5-4 State the main ethical precepts of Buddhism for both monastics and laypeople. “Show compassion to all creatures” is the basic moral code of Buddhism, but more details of Buddhist ethical thought are found in the sila, or precept. The Five Precepts call for Buddhists to keep themselves from five
different errors: killing sentient beings, stealing, sexual immoral- ity, lying, and intoxicants. Some laypeople adopt the five basic precepts permanently. For monks and nuns, the precepts are stricter.
insight meditation Meditation leading to awareness or mindfulness, from which nirvana can be achieved (p. 129)
mantra [MAHN-truh] Short formula or single word that focuses the mind and expresses great religious meaning (p. 130)
mudra [MOOD-ruh] Position in which the hands and arms are held during meditation (p. 128)
paritta [puh-REET-uh] Protective ritual for an individual or community (p. 130)
stupa [STOO-pah] Burial monument, often with relics of the Buddha or Buddhists (p. 130)
trance meditation Comprehensive form of meditation that goes all the way to nirvana (p. 129)
Discuss the way Buddhists worship and meditate. For most Buddhists today, nirvana is too remote to be striven for directly, so they focus on gaining merit. Monks recite and explain the sacred texts to laypeople, conduct protective ceremonies, and lead funerals. They bless marriages but do not officiate at weddings. Laypeople give the monks material support: food in
their morning rounds, new garments for monks at an annual ceremony, and money for the monastery. In temples, Buddhists meditate, make simple offerings, and venerate statues of the Buddha. In homes, most Buddhists have small areas for worship, with miniature statues of the Buddha.
State the main features of Buddhist life around the world today, especially in North America. Knowledge of Buddhism came to the West in the 1800s. Westerners have typically emphasized its philosophy and meditation to the exclusion of its other religious practices. The first European conversions to Buddhism occurred around 1880. During World War II and its aftermath, the internment of all U.S. Japanese in camps
set American Buddhism back; but after World War II, a Zen boom came to the United States. In 1965 immigration from Asia into the United States surged, filling old Buddhist temples and establishing new ones. The largest influx of Buddhists to the United States came from Vietnam in 1975, increasing the diversity of Buddhism in North America.
precept Buddhist moral command (p. 124)
5-3 Key Terms
5-4 Key Terms
5-5 Key Terms
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A Summary of Donald Lopez’s The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography Tibetan Buddhism is known for striking practices on death and dying. One of the most well-known practices is the use of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. A 2011 book by Donald Lopez, a professor at the University of Michigan and a leading expert in Buddhism, treats this Tibetan classic. In The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography, Lopez tells the story of how a relatively obscure collection of Buddhist texts of diverse origins came to be so revered and (he argues) misunderstood in the West. Read more about it at http://www.amazon.com/Tibetan-Book-Dead-Biography-Religious/dp/0691134359.
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A Zen Story from The Gateless Gate Zen leaders drew up handbooks like The Gateless Gate to illustrate for head monks what makes a good answer to a koan. Of course, the material in these handbooks is almost as elusive as the koan itself, so it takes a good deal of Zen experience and wisdom to use these handbooks.
A young Zen monk is preparing to leave his monas- tery and enter a different one, common in Zen. He goes to the abbot to say goodbye. The abbot says he has a gift for him. Using a pair of tongs, he picks up a red-hot coal from a fire pit, and offers the coal to the monk.
The monk contemplates what he should do, and after a few moments runs out of the hall distressed, for
he cannot figure it out. He cannot take the coal and be burned, and he cannot refuse the abbot’s gift.
He meditates on the problem for the next week, and comes back. However, the same scene plays out again.
He returns for a third time, and the abbot again picks up a red hot coal and presents it as a gift. Suddenly the young monk says, “Thank you,” and does not take the coal.
The abbot smiles, nods his head, and returns the coal to the fire pit. “You may go now,” he says.
The Gateless Gate (Los Angeles: J. Murray, 1934).The Gateless Gate (Los Angeles: J. Murray, 1934).
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Admonition to Laity At the end of a discussion of monastic morality, the Buddha lays down instructions for householders (laity). This passage from the Dammikasutta 18–27 forms a short summary of Buddhist morality. (Dammika was a lay- man who received the Buddha’s teaching.) Notice that the rules given are modeled on those given to monks.
I will also tell you about the householder’s work. Let him not kill, or cause any living being to be killed,
or let him approve of others killing. Let him refrain from hurting all creatures, both those that are strong and those that tremble.
Then let [him] abstain from taking anything in any place that has not been given to him, knowing it to belong to another. Let him not cause anyone to take, nor approve of those that take. Let him avoid all theft.
Let the wise man avoid an unchaste life as a burning heap of coals. If he is not able to live a life of faithfulness (to his wife), then let him not transgress with another man’s wife.
Let no one speak falsely to another in the hall of justice or in the hall of the assembly. Let him not cause anyone to speak falsely, nor approve of those that speak falsely. Let him avoid all sort of untruth.
Let the householder who approves of the dharma not give himself to intoxicating drinks.
Let him not cause others to drink, nor approve of those who drink, knowing it to end in madness. For through intoxication stupid people commit sins and make other people intoxicated. Let him avoid this seat of sin, this madness, this folly, which is delightful to the stupid. In a religion where salvation comes by mental enlighten- ment, clouding the mind with intoxicating drink or drugs is seen as particularly evil.
 Let him not kill any living being, let him not take what has not been given [to him], let him not speak falsely, and let him not drink intoxicating drinks, let him refrain from unchaste sexual intercourse, and let him not eat untimely food at night. Let him not wear wreaths of flowers nor use perfumes, and let him lie on a bed spread on the earth. They call this the eightfold abstinence, pro- claimed by Buddha, who has overcome pain.
From Robert E. Van Voorst, Anthology of World Scriptures, 8th ed. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2013). Copyright © 2013, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Used by permission of Cengage Learning.Robert E. Van Voorst, Anthology of World Scriptures, 8th ed. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2013). Copyright © 2013, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Used by permission of Cengage Learning. from Sutra for Dammika 18–27From V. Fausböll, The Sutta-Nipata (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1881).V. Fausböll, The Sutta-Nipata (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1881).
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Buddhist Pilgrimage Tibetan pilgrims from all over Tibet pray in front of the Jokhang temple in Lhasa, Tibet. They prostrate themselves, move forward a bit, and prostrate themselves again, a continuous process that some pilgrims engage in for miles. Pilgrimage is a journey that involves both the mind and the body. Traveling to a sacred site on foot, often across long distances and difficult terrain, is demanding both mentally and physically. See some of the most important Buddhist artifacts used in pilgrim devotion at http://pilgrimage.asiasociety.org/journey.
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Discourse on Advantages of Loving-kindness from The Book of Protection (Paritta) Thus have I heard:
On one occasion the Blessed One was living near Savatthi at Jetavana at Anathapindika’s monastery. Then he addressed the monks saying, “Monks.” — “Venerable Sir,” said the monks, by way of reply. The Blessed One then spoke as follows:
“Monks, eleven advantages are to be expected from the release (deliverance) of heart by familiarizing oneself with thoughts of loving-kindness, by the cultivation of loving-kindness, by constantly increasing these thoughts, by regarding loving-kindness as a vehicle (of expression), and also as something to be treasured, by living in con- formity with these thoughts, by putting these ideas into practice, and by establishing them. What are the eleven?
1. “He sleeps in comfort. 2. He awakes in comfort. 3. He sees no evil dreams. 4. He is dear to human beings. 5. He is dear to non-human beings. 6. Devas (gods) protect him. 7. Fire, poison, and sword cannot touch him. 8. His
mind can concentrate quickly. 9. His countenance is serene. 10. He dies without being confused in mind. 11. If he fails to attain arahatship (the highest sanctity here and now, he will be reborn in the Brahma-world.
“These eleven advantages, monks, are to be expected from the release of heart by familiarizing one- self with thoughts of loving-kindness, by cultivation of loving-kindness, by constantly increasing these thoughts, by regarding loving-kindness as a vehicle (of expression), and also as something to be treasured, by living in con- formity with these thoughts, by putting these ideas into practice and by establishing them.”
So said the Blessed One. Those monks rejoiced at the words of the Blessed One.
From The Book of Protection (Paritta), translated by Piyadassi (Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1999).From The Book of Protection (Paritta), translated by Piyadassi (Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1999).
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Food and Morality Jains observe a strict diet. Not only are they vegetarians, but they also avoid root vegetables such as those pictured here. They believe that harvesting and cooking such vegetables will injure the many small beings that are in the soil, beings that get into the plant. Observant Buddhists often avoid hot vegetables such as radishes and onions, thinking that they induce sexual desire (as we might say, they make one “hot”); Jains go a step farther to forbid eating all these root plants.
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Founding of the Order of Nuns This selection from the Small Group (Cullavagga) of sutras narrates the story about how women were admitted into the monastic order as nuns, here referred to as “the homeless state.” The Buddha was at first very reluctant to admit them, but he finally relented, giving special rules for nuns. Nuns have historically played a much smaller role in Buddhism than the order of monks. Nuns and other Buddhist women struggling for a greater degree of liberation still must contend with patriarchal interpretation of this passage.
At that time the Blessed Buddha was staying among the Sakyas in Kapilavatthu. And Maha-pajapati the Gotami [relative of Gautama, and his nurse when he was a child] went to the place where the Blessed One was. When she arrived there, she bowed down before the Blessed One, and remained standing to one side. She said to the Blessed One, “It would be well, Lord, if women should be allowed to renounce their homes and enter the homeless state under the doctrine and discipline you have proclaimed.”
The Buddha replied, “Enough, Gotami! Let it not please you that women should be allowed to do so.” A second and a third time Maha-pajapati made the same request in the same words, and received the same reply.
Then Maha-pajapati was sad and sorrowful that the Blessed One would not allow women to enter the homeless state, and she bowed down before the Blessed One. She departed weeping and in tears. She cut off her hair and put on orange-colored robes [like a monk’s]. Sad and sorrowful, weeping and in tears, she took her stand outside under the entrance porch.
The venerable Ananda saw her standing there, and said to her, “Why do you stand there outside the porch weeping and in tears?”
“Because, Ananda, the Blessed One does not allow women to renounce their homes and enter the homeless state under the doctrine and discipline.”
Then the venerable Ananda went up to the place where the Blessed One was. Bowing down before the Blessed One, he took his seat on one side. And, so sitting, the venerable Ananda said to the Blessed One: “Lord, Maha-pajapati is standing outside under the entrance porch. She is sad and sorrowful, weeping and in tears, because the Blessed One does not allow women to renounce their homes and enter the homeless state under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Blessed One. It would be well, Lord, if women be permitted to do as she desires.”
The Buddha replied, “Enough, Ananda! Let it not please you that women should be allowed to do so.” A second and a third time Ananda made the same request, in the same words, and received the same reply.
Then the venerable Ananda thought, “I will now ask the Blessed One in another way.” Ananda said, “Lord, can women—when they have gone forth from the household life and entered the homeless state, under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Blessed One—can they gain the fruit of conversion, or of the second Path, or of the third Path, or of Arhatship?”
“They are capable (of all these), Ananda.” “Lord, Maha-pajapati has proved herself of great
service to the Blessed One, when as aunt and nurse she nourished him and gave him milk, and on the death of his mother she nursed the Blessed One at her own breast. It would be well, Lord, that women should have permission to go forth from the household life and enter the home- less state, under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Tathagata.”
The Buddha said, “Ananda, if Maha-pajapati takes upon herself these Eight Chief Rules, let that be reckoned as her initiation.
▪▪ Even if a woman has been a nun for a hundred years, she shall make salutation to a monk, shall rise in his presence, shall bow to him, and shall perform all proper duties to him, even if he is only just initiated.
▪▪ A nun is not to spend the rainy season in a district in which there is no monk.
▪▪ Every two weeks a nun is to await from the monks two things: the date of the ceremony for reciting the rules of the order, and the time when the monk will come to give the (speech of) exhortation.
▪▪ After keeping the rainy season, the nun is to inquire whether any fault can be laid to her charge before both orders—of monks and of nuns—with respect to three matters: what has been seen, what has been heard, and what has been suspected.
▪▪ A nun who has been guilty of a serious offense is to undergo penance toward both orders.
▪▪ When a nun, as novice, has been trained for two years, she is to ask permission for full ordination from both orders.
▪▪ A nun is never to revile or mistreat a monk.
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▪▪ From this time on, nuns are forbidden to admonish monks, but the official admonition of nuns by monks is not forbidden.
Then the venerable Ananda said to the Blessed One, “Lord, Maha-pajapati has taken upon herself the Eight Chief Rules; the aunt of the Blessed One has received initiation.”
The Buddha said, “Ananda, if women had not received permission to go out from the household life and enter the homeless state, then the pure religion would have lasted long. The good law would have stood fast for a thousand years. But since women have now received that permission, the pure religion will not now last so long, and the good law will now stand fast for only five
hundred years. Houses in which there are many women but only a few men are easily violated by robbers. In the same way, Ananda, under whatever doctrine and disci- pline women are allowed to go out from the household life into the homeless state, that religion will not last long. So, Ananda, in anticipation [of this] I have laid down these eight chief rules for the nuns, never to be transgressed for their whole life.”
From Robert E. Van Voorst, Anthology of World Scriptures, 8th ed. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2013). Copyright © 2013, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Used by permission of Cengage Learning.Robert E. Van Voorst, Anthology of World Scriptures, 8th ed. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2013). Copyright © 2013, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Used by permission of Cengage Learning. from Culla- vagga 10.1–6From T. W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg, Vinaya Texts, part 3 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1881).T. W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg, Vinaya Texts, part 3 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1881).
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Symbol of Buddhism The wheel is a prominent symbol of Buddhism, although it’s not an official symbol. It may look like a ship’s steer- ing wheel, but it is the stylized wheel of a cart or chariot. It symbolizes the whole teaching of Buddhism, as for example, in the common Buddhist expression “to turn the wheel of the Teaching.”
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Teaching Performed Many teachings of Buddhism are abstract and not easy to grasp. One of the ways some monks provide a living demon- stration of the meaning of Buddhist teaching, in this case the meaning of “impermanence,” is to make an elaborate sand drawing and, soon after completion, destroy it. The drawings are usually done in public places so that all can see them, not in the monastery for the monks.
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The Dalai Lama As both the spiritual leader and exiled governmental leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama works tirelessly for its religious and political freedom. Here he meets with U.S. President Barak Obama in the Map Room of the White House. They did not meet in the Oval Office, which would have caused greater offense to the government of China, which opposes almost every aspect of the Dalai Lama’s activities. What might the “body language” of this scene tell you?
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The Diamond Sutra This copy of the Diamond Sutra is the world’s earliest surviving printed book. It was made in 868 C.E., and spent centuries in a sealed-up cave in north-west China. Seven strips of yellow-stained paper were printed from carved wooden blocks (not moveable type!) and pasted together to form a scroll over 16 feet long. It is now kept in the British Library, London. Though written in Chinese, the Diamond Sutra is one of the most important sacred works of the Buddhist faith, which was founded in India.
l H is
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The Four Noble Truths from Sutra on Turning the Wheel of the Law 1-8 The leading ethical ideal of Daoism is wuwei [woo-WAY], a wonderfully ambiguous term that is variously translated “effortless action,” “nonaction,” “active non-striving,” or “action without intent.” Literally, “wu” means “without,” and “wei” means “action, doing.” By wuwei, the sage seeks to come into harmony with the great Dao, which itself effortlessly accomplishes all its tasks. This short passage from of the Zhuangzi explains the key points of wuwei.
Effortless action makes the person who practices it the lord of all fame. It serves him as the treasury of all plans. Effortless action fits him for the burden of all offices. It makes him the lord of all wisdom. The range of
his action is inexhaustible, but there is nowhere any trace of his presence. He fulfills all that he has received from Heaven, but he does not see that he was the recipient of anything. A pure vacancy of all purpose is what charac- terizes him. When th
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