1. At the Gorge of Lu, the great waterfall plunges for thousands of feet, its spray visible for miles. In the churning waters below, no living creature can be seen.
One day, K'ung Fu-tse was standing at a distance from the pool's edge when he saw an old man being tossed about in the turbulent water. He called to his disciples and together they ran to rescue the victim. But by the time they reached the water, the old man had climbed out onto the bank and was walking along, singing to himself.
K'ung Fu-tse hurried up to him. "You would have to be a ghost to survive that," he said, "but you seem to be a man, instead. What secret power do you have?"
"Nothing special," the old man replied. "I began to learn while very young and grew up practicing it. Now I am certain of success. I go down with the water and come up with the water. I follow it and forget myself. I survive because I don't struggle against the water's superior power. That is all."
2. Confucius is like the fool in this story because he doesn't understand Daoism
3. This story is an example of Wu Wei
Doa/Toa - The absolute principle underlying the universe, combining within itself the principles of yin and yang and signifying the way, or code of behavior, that is in harmony with the natural order.
Chi - The circulating life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things.
- Yang: Aggressive, assertive energy, masculine, "the daylight." When you use too much yang, you would get a lot of aggressive energy back. The fundamental problem of human existence is that we're all addicted to yang, we constantly try to force things, make things happen, etc. Things don't work in life because we're constantly using way too much yang.
- Yin: Quiet, calm, peaceful energy, feminine, "the night time." The solution to yang is a lot more yin, not trying to make things happen. Think about what the old man does in the pool. Lao-Tzu is still living today in the mountains because he uses a lot of yin and doesn't wear himself out.
Ex. Star Wars - The force is an energy in all living things. Light and dark side as opposed to good and bad. Finding balance in the force.
Wu Wei - Means "without doing, cause or making" - is an important natural action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort. Wu wei is the cultivation of a mental state in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the flow of life.
- Tai chi: a health/fitness plan with martial arts - roots in Daoist philosophy; does not include hitting or striking, but movement; if your opponent tries to hit you, then simply move out the way and don't strike back
De/Te - Virtue correlated to Junzi; go through the day practicing Wu Wei and don't think about it; practice Yin; don't struggle against the way things are
Prothero says that Westerns view Confucian ideas as old-fashioned and formal because of antiquated etiquette, empty rituals, and maintenance of the status quo. Confucianism is seen as a joke.
However in the long haul of history, "Confucianism may have carried more clout than any other religion." The Analects is among the world's most influence books. Its emphasis on education has been a huge driver of recent economic development across East Asia, and its values of industriousness, family, thrift, loyalty, duty, and respect for authority have propel China to its current status as the world's top exporter and leading buyer of U.S. debt. Also, Confucianism played a powerful role in shaping Chinese thought, politics, and society.