David Hinton in his introduction to the poetry of Li


David Hinton in his introduction to the poetry of Li Bai (also known as Li Po) writes, “The most essential quality of Li Po’s work is the way in which wu-wei spontaneity  gave shape to his experience of the natural world.” Choose any two poems and analyze the imagery in the poems to show the ways in which wu wei informs Li Bai’s understanding of nature. Assignment needs to be 350 words.

(Key points: thesis should connect wu-wei principles and nature as expressed in the poems, the post should focus on the relationship between the poet-narrator and nature)

A little bit about wu wei—[One of Taoism’s most important concepts is  wu wei, which is sometimes translated as “non-doing” or “non-action.” A better way to think of it, however, is as a paradoxical “Action of non-action.” Wu wei refers to the cultivation of a state of being in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the ebb and flow of the elemental cycles of the natural world. It is a kind of “going with the flow” that is characterized by great ease and awareness, in which—without even trying—we’re able to respond perfectly to whatever situations arise … The practice of wu wei is the expression of what in  Taoism is considered to be the highest form of virtue—one that is in no way premeditated but instead arises spontaneously.] Elizabeth Reninger

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