Monday, July 02, 2007


The things I like about mountain hiking are more than just fresh air, great view and a good workout. Somehow I always get a bit philosophical whenever I find myself up in a mountain. It was the same when I was trekking up Bukhansan. On my way up, I went pass this tablet and I quite liked what I saw. 萬物一體 (만물일체 ) means all things in the universe originates from one body. This is the very essence of 道 (도 or 'Tao' or "The Way"). To explain 'Tao' in simple language, it means the "order of the universe" or the way the universe will naturally behave. 萬物一體 explains very well how this universe behaves.

My lesson in Physical Chemistry taught me that pure energy in vacuum can without any intervention causes "Pair-Production" which is the production of a pair of particle and anti-particle from energy. The reverse "Annihilation" process has an equal probability of happening as well. All it takes is for a particle and anti-particle to collide and annihilate each other to produce energy again. In the saying of 'Tao', this process of creation and destruction brings about the universe. However, between the two extremes, the overall energy and momentum remains constant. In other words, as much as the two extremes are different they are in fact the same. Ironic as it may be but this is essentially the beauty of ancient Chinese wisdom.

There is a saying that 'Tao' creates the two Extremes. The two Extremes creates the Four Directions and the Four Directions bring about the Eight Trigrams. As the manifestation goes on, this universe is formed in all its complexity. Hence "萬物" is the universe and "一體" is 'Tao' or the order of the universe. My take-away from this understanding is that all differences in this universe can be resolved because there is always a centre point where both extremes can meet. Harmony can be found at this centre point. It is then up to humanity to believe that while we may be different but we are still one humanity.

No comments:

Post a Comment