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道 Dao (Way)
2020-07-13

In its original meaning,dao(道) is the way or path taken by people. It has three extended meanings: 1) the general laws followed by things in different spheres, e.g. the natural order by which the sun, moon and stars move is called the way of heaven; the rules that govern human activities are the way of man; 2) the universal patterns followed by all things and beings; and 3) the original source or ontological existence of things, which transcends form and constitutes the basis for the birth and existence of all things, and for the activities of human beings. In their respective discussions of Dao, Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism imbue it with very different connotations. While benevolence, righteousness, social norms, and music education form the basic content of the Confucian Dao, the Buddhist and Daoist Dao tends to emphasizekong(空emptiness)andwu(无void).

Citations

The way of heaven is far away; the way of man is near. (Zuo’s Commentary on The Spring and Autumn Annals)

What transcends form is called Dao. (The Book of Changes)

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