14 February 2017

Wu Wei

I have been corresponding with a Zen / writer friend about Wu Wei. It was originally translated literally into English as 'Non-doing'. In English this has a kind of nihilistic, static and fatalistic flavour that does not exist in the original. (This ia almost as unhelpfully rendered as the T'ai Chi word 'Peng' as 'Ward-Off', a term that tells you far more about early 20th C colonial British than it does one of the fundamentals of Chinese Internal Martial arts.)

Here's a few more helpful variations of wu wei (and wei wu wei), and I would be very happy to receive any more you find. 

Masterful inactivity
Knowing when not to act
Uncontrived action
Doing without doing
Effortless action
Natural action
Not forcing

These are all clear and helpful pointers when applied to T'ai Chi Ch'uan and partnerwork, as well as to many other pursuits in life. 
My personal favourite - Cleary's 'uncontrived action'.

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