Heaven and Earth
The phrase “Heaven and Earth” (天地 Tiān Dì) is one of the ways in which Daoists refer to the Universe, and is a synonym for everything. Heaven and Earth emerged from the Dao, and represent its unity in two mutually supportive aspects:
– Heaven, Tian, represents the order that emerged from the primordial chaos (Hundun) and regulates its workings. If the Universe were a computer, Tian would be its operating system.
– Earth, Di, represents the nurturing quality of the Dao which supports the continual change that is regulated by Tian.
Daoists seek a more direct perception of reality in which Heaven and Earth are seen as they really are, rather than through a veil of names, judgements, opinions and categorisations. Such direct perception is of the body and spirit as much as it is of the mind.
The duality of Heaven and Earth is like the duality of Yang and Yin. They are not opposing forces, but rather mutually supportive, symbiotic, and each is useless without the other.