Taoism > The Basics

What is Wu (emptiness)?

One of the most important concepts in Taoism is Wu, usually translated as "emptiness".

Though the meaning of this term is "nonbeing", "nonexistence", in the Taoist literature it refers to many correlated features:

  • The emptiness opposed to the fullness (you);

Wheel as symbol of emptiness - picture
The wheel is one of Lao-tzu's preferred symbols to render the meaning of emptiness
  • The void (nonexistance) which is the mother or root of everything in the universe (aka the "ten-thousand");
  • In the realm of humans, the state without desire that helps one to contemplate the Tao.
  • The open mind without discrimination preached, for example, by Master Hui Neng in his Sutra.

Emptiness in Tao-te ching

In Tao-te ching the emptiness is compares with the usage of a wheel, a vessel or an apartment.

The usage of the wheel depends on the empty space (emptiness) of the axle.

The same, the vessel's usage depends on the emptiness from inside and the apartment may be used only through the empty space within.

Emptiness as personal experience

About emptiness as a personal experience we treat mostly in our Level 3 of the Taoism initiation course - dedicated to the Taoist meditation - and in the Tao Practice in the Day to Day Life, a course dealing with the applying of the Tao teachings in our daily life.

Further resources:

- We published a paper on emptiness in our paperstore here.

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