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Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the Source. Returning to the Source is stillness, which is the way of Nature.

~Laozi
Tao Te Ching, Verse 16

(Source: Tao & Zen Facebook Page)

Wu wei ( 无为) is a Chinese word which is usually translated as “non doing”. This is a Taoist concept which has found its way into mainstream Buddhism via Zen (Chan). It is a fundamental principle in Eastern cultures and one which mystifies and at times frustrates Westerners.

The idea is that there are times when the best action is no action. We can best deal with a situation by not reacting to it. This is alien to most Westerners who feel that a reaction is always necessary. With wu wei we are as the water when it meets the stone in the river. It flows around without directly opposing the stone. Wu wei. The water way.

Wu wei wu(无为无), alternatively is essentially ‘doing non doing” or “action without action” Bruce Lee talks on this during an interview when we instructs those to “be like water”. 

“The Sage is occupied with the unspoken and acts without effort.’

– Laozi, The Tao Te Ching, chapter 2