4. Process of Actualization 實現程序
The Basic Theory of Tao Philosophy


Tao philosophy is a process to guide us from chaotic states to the order of Oneness. The ultimate goal is Profound Unity that may take many levels to actualize. Laotzu has mentioned several levels of Oneness in the Tao Te Ching and we may seek Oneness in each level to achieve harmony.

In a worldly Tao system, it is likely that there will be multiple levels of Oneness.� The general rule is that, as stated by Laotzu, the leaders should act with Wu and the followers should act with Yu [WA04]. In general, we will need to maintain many levels of actualization since different functions will require different level of actualization. The ultimate goal is to help all people achieve Oneness at their appropriate levels.

4.1 Tao Domains and Levels 道的境界層次

It is convenient to define various domains based on our subjective scope and capability. Each of us can only perceive a subset of the world appearances as a domain for our inquiry into Tao. A domain may be described with a set of classical states and their interactions.� Our effort is to achieve Oneness in each domain and then to expand the domain by including more classical states to reach a higher level of actualization. We may say that the domains are projections of the infinite Oneness �space� onto our sub-spaces of finite dimensions.

 

Laotzu gives five explicit levels in Tao philosophy: Tao, Te, Jen, Yi, and Li 道、德、仁、義、禮 as shown in Chapter 38:

 

失道而後德

When deviating from Tao, we rely on Te.

 

失德而後仁

When deviating from Te, we rely on benevolence.

 

 

When deviating from benevolence, we rely on righteousness.

 

失義而後禮

When deviating from righteousness, we rely on propriety.

According to this, if we lose Oneness with Tao at a level, we may rely on a lower level to regain our foothold in order to recover. By reaching harmony at a level, we may attempt to resynchronize with Tao at a higher level. Tao will be effective when we can synchronize at each level, even at the lost level. This is shown in Chapter 23:

道者同於道
德者同於德
失者同於失

While in Tao, synchronize with Tao;
While in Te, synchronize with Te;
In a lost state, synchronize with the lost state.

As in a general philosophical system, we may start our inquiry at a level and then expand our horizon to reach into the next higher domain. The process will continue until we reach the ultimate harmony with Tao.

4.2 A Model of Actualization實現層次

We may follow a process to achieve the highest level of actualization possible with our capability. This process of actualization is shown in Figure 5 . We want to seek synchronization with a ultimate world order, which is represented by H in the figure. In the quantum theory, H is the Hamiltonian that determines the dynamics of a system.

In this example, this overall driving force is shown to have a basic component H0 and four sets of residual interactions (V1+V2+V3+V4). The base level has H0, and the first level has H1 = H0 + V1, the second level, H2 = H1 + V2, and the third level, H3 = H23 , etc. Each set of residual interactions defines a level or domain.

Figure 5 Levels and States of Actualization

The actualization process will start at a base level, denoted as H0. At this level, we have to harmonize V1in order to form the first-level actual states. When we move into the second level, these first-level actual states become the new base states to harmonize the new residual interaction V2. After harmonization is achieved at one level, this process continues at the next level. In this scenario, we always deal with classical states and their residual interactions in order to achieve Oneness, so we call it the Way of Yu有為論. In Figure 5 , we also show the Way of Wu 無為論, in which one is able to reach the actual states directly at each level. In this manner, one will not encounter any residual interactions. Both ways are essential in maintaining Oneness at all levels.

We should point out that Laotzu never indicates that each of us belongs to a level. He clearly urges all to seek complete Oneness with Tao. These intermediate levels are only temporary states to be recognized and used to regain our foothold.

4.3 The Way of Oneness

From the model of actualization, we may accomplish Oneness in two ways. Both ways follow the same Principle of Oneness. The distinctions between the two ways may be useful in our understanding of Tao philosophy and applications.

4.3.1 The Way of Yu

The Way of Yu is to achieve Oneness by acting according to Yu 有為. In this process, we recognize our environment and the forces in the environment and begin to deal with the residual interactions. It is a process to reveal the truth 去偽存真。We may describe the efforts of actualization in the words of Chapter 4 as:

 

挫其銳解其紛;

Blunt its sharpness and unravel its entanglements.

 

和其光同其塵。

Harmonize its lights and blend with its surroundings.

Once a level is achieved, there is no residual interaction. The state becomes one of infinite possibilities within that domain. We may achieve Oneness by overcoming the residual interactions. This process continues until we reach Profound Unity 玄同境界of Tao.

Laotzu describes the Way of Yu in many chapters. A clear example is given in Chapter 28. In this process, we cultivate our ability to recognize the classical states, such as Yin and Yang, and then inter-mingle their flow until we reach Oneness (as in Infancy). We have:

 

知其雄,守其雌,

為天下溪。

Knowing yang and preserving yin,

to form a divine creek.

 

為天下溪,恒德不離。

Being a divine creek, its true Te will never depart.

 

恒德不離,復歸於嬰兒。

When True Te never departs, all return to Infancy.

When we move from level to level, each level reveals a deeper core of truth of Tao. Each level is built upon a previous level, with continuity and persistence as stated in Chapter 54:

 

善建者不拔,

Master builders do not uproot.

 

善抱者不脫,

Master musters do not disengage.

 

子孫以祭祀不絕。

The offspring sustain by paying continuous offering to ancestors.

4.3.2 The Way of Wu

In the Way of Wu, we are able to reach the actual states directly, without explicit actions. This is the ultimate way to maintain harmony with Tao. As shown in Figure 5 , we may start at any level and progress from level to level while maintaining Oneness at all levels. This is the way a leader can act and can lead people.

�In Chapter 32, Laotzu describes this process from the initialstate of Pu 樸to a complete system of Tao where people are useful vessels of Tao, as �Pu will defuse to become vessels 樸散則為器。� Laotzu describes this in Chapter 32 as:

始制有名,

When a system is started, it manifests (as Yu).

名亦既有,
夫亦將知止,

When its manifest is established,
It should also automatically know when to stop .

A great leader can lead people at different levels without showing efforts. Each level may be associated with a proper level of sunchronization with Tao. A leader is to establish a set of levels and the required interactions at each level as guide to the people.

4.3.3 The Ultimate Wisdom of Wu

The Way of Wu requires the ultimate wisdom of Tao, which Laotzu calls the �Wu-Wisdom無知� � the Wisdom of the boundless state. He states inChapter 70:

言有宗,
事有君。

All teachings have their principles.
All efforts have their guiding rules.

夫唯無知也,
是以不我知。

Unless with Wu-wisdom,
There is no way to understand my principles.

This novel interpretation of Wu-wisdom was a major breakthrough in [WA04]. This paved the road to a coherent interpretation of Tao philosophy. This interpretation is consistent with Laotzu�s urge to guide people to Wu-Wisdom, as stated in Chapter 3:

The purpose is to guide people to
Wu-wisdom and Wu-desire.

We should note that we have simply adopted our interpretation of Wu-action 無為 to Wu-wisdom 無知 and Wu-desire 無欲。This interpretation is also reflected in a similar statement in Prajna, �Prajna has Wu-wisdom, so it knows all. 般若無知,無所不知。� Wu-wisdom is the unlimited wisdom.

4.4 Different Levels of Harmony and Tzujan 自然的層次

Normally we can associate Tzujan with the ultimate harmonious state of Tao. We may generalize this concept of Tzujan at different levels. At each level of actualization, we may have a state of Tzujan at that level. At each level of harmonization, all residual interactions are harmonized into the actual states. Our thoughts are harmonized and our actions may become spontaneous within that domain.

This reflects a state of Tzujan. Multiple levels of Tzujan in Tao philosophy are also discussed in [LI05]. The harmony will last until a new residual interaction is encountered and the states become unsettling again.