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ÁùÒÕ Six Arts in Chinese traditional culture
The Art of Tao originates from the six ancient arts in China, which are propriety, music,
archery, driving, writing, and mathematics. These are the foundation for one to become a
virtuous person. From the metaphysical sense, the pursue of the art of Tao can be satisfied
through the pursue of the truth of Tao via the six arts.
Propriety is the foremost among the six arts. This means humans
should take propriety as their moral standards, so that everyone
can gain others' respect through propriety. Through mutual respect,
the human morality can be established. This is why propriety is
listed first among the six arts.
Music functions not only as a tool for personal cultivation, it can
also be a way to meet friends. Through music one can feel the
wonderful and mystic sounds in the cosmos, and the tune and
rhythm in the flow of all things. Through the metaphysical tunes
and rhythms, the accords and rhythms of the flow of Tao are
Archery, as practiced in the ancient days, was not for the purpose
of hunting. It was meant to be a practice for the spirit and the soul
to express their natural aim towards a target. As such, the
accuracy is perfect, which manifests the inner force within the
body. Then, the exercise becomes the ultimate expression of the
inner force within the body.
Driving means to direct. The direction comes not from the
conscious effort, but the expression of ones inner wisdom. With
such wisdom, one is adaptable and flexible, can act and react, and
can be in motion and can be still. As the spontaneous spirit arises,
one can achieve at will, and this is the way of driving.
Writing refers to articles and calligraphy, which can express ones
internal character. So, from writings, calligraphy and paintings, one
can better experience his inner self. When breathing calmly and
being alert, being concentrated and involved, one's true feeling
emanates naturally through the brush and ink.
Mathematics means divination. The divination through
mathematics and the truth can derive from past events to future
events, which encompass myriad changes. Changes in the nature
are beyond one's perception, and can only be deciphered through
mathematical derivation and the truth. When one understands the
mathematical derivation, one understands the truth. By
understanding the truth, one can be perspective, which is the
attainment of both the essence and manifestation of Tao.
Hence, the six arts are a must for virtuous people.