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  Seeing God everywhere—the sanctity of nature Back to the List of Slideshows
a Taoist landscapte painting

For more on Taoist art in general, and Taoist landscape painting in particular, see the chapter "Taoist Art" in The Essential Titus Burckhardt.
slide 15 of 17

J.C. Cooper reminds us of the importance of balance and equilibrium in life and illustrates this by a discussion of the principles of Chinese gardening in which yin and yang are each given their proper due thus achieving a harmony that is beneficial to the spirit:
Nowhere is the balance of the yin and the yang in Nature shown better than in the development of the typical Chinese garden, which was essentially Taoist in origin.  The Han Emperors had earlier created vast artificial landscapes and parks with mountains, ravines, forests, rivers, lakes and open spaces to provide a habitat for hordes of game for hunting, but during the time of the Six Dynasties and the Tang, when Taoism prevailed, there developed the quiet intimacy of the Taoist garden, intended to reflect heaven on earth.  It became a symbol of Paradise where all life was protected and sheltered.…

While landscapes portray the vastness and grandeur of Nature, the garden reveals the intimate aspect.…

In the past in China, though man was the mediator between Heaven and Earth, he was not the measure of the universe; his place was simply to maintain the balance and harmony between the yin and the yang.  It was Nature which was the Whole, the controlling cosmic power.  The garden helped man in his work of maintaining harmony; it also had an ethical significance and influence.  According to Ch’ien Lung it had “a refreshing effect upon the mind and regulated the feelings,” preventing man from becoming “engrossed in sensual pleasures and losing strength of will.”  Its pleasures were simple, natural and spiritual.”
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