The Viewpoint of Nature

Li
The viewpoint of nature, and the one we will discuss at length here, is from the Chinese, who use the word Li, to describe nature as organic pattern, translated as the markings in jade, the grain in wood, and the fiber in muscle. All of it is just infinitely beautiful, flowing in all sorts of complicated patterns. There is an order to it, but you cannot put your finger on it. It simply cannot be measured or put into words or symbols. When you look at a cloud, it is not a cube, nor is it circular. It has no specific order to it that we can describe and yet it is perfect. Look at a tree, a mountain, or the foam on water when it hits the shoreline, even the stars; all amazingly beautiful, in all kinds of wild and crazy patterns. All of it has an order to it that we simply cannot measure or describe. This is Li – organic pattern. The Tao is not something different from nature, the birds, the bees, the trees, or us. The Tao is the way all that behaves. So the basic Chinese idea of the universe is that it is an organism. You cannot find the controlling center of it, because there isn’t any. Everything is a system of interrelated components, all interdependent on the other. Like bees and flowers; you will not find bees where there are no flowers, nor flowers where there are no bees or other insects that do their equivalent. Therefore though they look very different, they are in fact inseparable. They arise mutually. There is no cause and effect as we study with such veracity here in the west. Light and dark, high and low, sound and silence – all are only experienced in terms of their polar opposites. This complete system of interdependence is Tao.