‘The Way’; the True Nature of All Things
Dao (Taoism) is one of China’s three fundamental schools of thought (with Confucianism and Buddhism) and has been a guiding philosophy for many centuries. It is a tool by which one can come out of suffering. Chinese Medicine is a medical system established through the concept of dao.
Dao has many meanings, all of which are inadequate. Dao is the supreme source of all existence. It is similar to the concept of God except it is not a Being, it is beyond Being (actually it both is both Being and Non-Being simultaneously) – it is indefinable, omnipresent, omniscient, it contains everything and is contained in everything, it is beyond time and space; all concepts of dao are inadequate because they are only concepts. Only the dao is equal to itself.
However, devoted study allows momentary glimpses of it (until the mind attempts to define and interpret it), experiencing of it, and ultimately to merge with it.
The ancient Chinese sages practised ‘the Way’, the method by which to become like dao, and in so doing, to live out destiny.The ‘Great Physican’, the archetype of the perfected practitioner of medicine, incorporates the dao into his or her every action: in tune with the rhythms of nature and with his or her own true nature.
Daodejing – [also known as Tao Te Ching] (this translation is by Stephen Mitchell – translations differ wildly, this one was chosen as most resonant with the research) Chapter 1:
And Chapter 25:
Zhuangzi Chapter 2 (ancient Chinese classic, trans. Yutang 1942 p244):
“Dao is the great mystery behind all phenomena” (Newell)
“The meaning conveyed by the character dao is the continuous
progression and unfolding of nature along its evolutionary path… we may comprehend dao as ‘the way one comes to see and understand oneself’.”
(L. Jarrett, Nourishing Destiny 1998 p6)
So we can say that dao is both everything and nothing simultaneously; nothing and infinite possibility.
Dao is the source of all creation, synonymous in many ways with God, and in Chapter 42 the Daodejing describes the process of creation in numerical form – the simplest way to express the process: