Joanne Chang

WUWEI is a two-character Chinese phrase:

WU --- Nothingness.     WEI --- Anticipation.

A common translation of WUWEI is: Non-action. (although it is often misinterpreted as "No action")
My interpretation of WUWEI is "Be neutral" ---A state of non-desire and non-intent.

       WUWEI is the core concept of Taoist philosophy, which was first promoted by Lao-Tzu 2,500 years ago in his well-known Classic: "Tao Teh Ching."

It says:
"In pursuing knowledge, one accumulates daily.
In practicing Tao, one loses desires daily.
Lose and lose and lose (desires), until one reaches Non-action.
Non-action, yet prepared for all actions.
To manage the world one should not interfere with natural law.
If one always anticipates his desires, one will not be able to lead the world."
 -----Chapter 48

       WUWEI is not "incompetent" (unable to act) or "unknowledgeable " (don't know how to act). Rather, it is "knowing what to act, how to act, and why to act but having no desire & intent to act." Since one's desire motivates action, if one can constantly keep his/her mind at a neutralized state, then there will be no question of "to act or not to act."

      To be contented is noble, but to be passive does not enable one to benefit the society.


   Art by David Chen

WUWEI and Tai Chi-----

        Because there was WU-CHI (the wholeness), when WU-CHI moves, the Yin (insubstantial) and Yang (substantial) presents, thus becoming TAI CHI (Tai---Unlimited time; Chi--- Unlimited space).

        Yin & Yang are the elements of all things ---Day/night; left/right; male/female; hard/soft; in/out; live/die ... etc. Our breath, too, inhale/exhale continues life and thoughts. Yin & Yang will have to be harmonized or it would become disasters like: too hot, too cold, too much rain, too many people, too much money, and so forth. Thus Chinese cultural emphasizes "just right," which is in accordance with WUWEI's philosophy.

        Our body is a blend of the Yin and the Yang. We are part rational & selfish, and part passionate & sympathetic. Instead of giving our opinions on what’s right and what’s wrong, we need to appreciate that both are human qualities; and Tai Chi exercise is a tool for us to balance the two qualities---both physically and spiritually.

        Yin-Yang is the mother of all things, we learn Taiji in order to become a better child.

Art by David Chen