Why is it impossible to know the essential nature of Dao?

How does it move and what is the connection to the five agents.

Hat tip to L. Jarret for a clear explanation.

Humans are the Dao.

So when humans talk to explain about the Dao, they are the Dao explaining itself. The process of humans speaking about the nature of existence is the Dao judging itself, which then loses its chaotic nature.

The act of naming changes pre-heaven to post-heaven which changes the Dao from eternal to short lived.

To give anything a personal name is to give it a destiny and life. By naming the myriad things they become illuminated and thus drawn out of the void of chaos.   

The eternal Dao is unchanging, yet it does have an understandable movement. This is reflected in the statement from the Dao De Jing.

I do not know its proper name but will call it Dao. If forced to give it a name I shall call it great. Great means moving away, moving away means far away, and far away means ultimately to return.

The movement of the Dao is described by Laozi as ziran, which means self- becoming. At every moment the Dao spontaneously becomes itself, forever leaving from and then returning to its original nature.

In the Dao’s primordial journey, the fourth stage is always a returning to itself.

Dao gives birth to one, one gives birth to two, two gives birth to three, which gives birth to the myriad things.

The basic numbering of the universe is described in Chapter 42 of the Dao De Jing in four stages. It is moving from the unity of non-being Dao to being the myriad things.

The fifth stage is the axis around which the Dao’s movement occurs. The movements of the Dao are the cosmological basis for the five agents.

1 is water which is great

2 is fire which is moving away

3 is wood which is far away

4 is metal which is return

5 is earth which is the axis

The first stage of Dao corresponds to water which represents the potential basis for all manifestations in life.

The generation of fire from water corresponds to moving away from its original nature.

These two poles generate a third stage which corresponds to wood. The function of wood is to blend water and fire back into one by harmonizing.

The fourth stage signifies a return from the duality of fire and water back into the original nature of Dao as unity.

This cycle is the cycle we see in the seasons and a day. It is broken down into twelve earthly branches.

Every day and every year the Dao moves away, and returns to itself.

Published by Paul Freedman

Herbal Nerd

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