How the Garden Relates to our Knowledge of Chinese Culture
The garden seems to truly embody the idea of being "one with nature," the most important aspect of the Dao, which is considered “the way”. Almost like enlightenment, it is not easily understood and looked at in awe.The garden is made of waterfalls, plants, natural light and rocks suggesting that the most pristine life is untouched and beautiful. Even the canopies built by man are shaped as if they are trees, with the rooflines rounded out to blend in to nature. Everything in the garden is meant to blend into the natural state it should be in. Nothing is interrupted, and even the way we approached the garden was instinctively to be with the Dao. We all picked our own spot and observed, no one standing out or grabbing attention.
The waterfall in the garden seems to embody Wu. Flowing, it is mystical and in a way intangible to the simple minded "poo" for example. It has power and grace and beauty, completely in nature and beautiful. Like Brahman being above all humans, and therefore we accept it and realize it is beyond our intellectual capacity to understand, Wu is the same way. The waterfall has great meaning and significance, and yet it is too mystical and abstract to explain for the Taoist.
Wu wei literally means "no action" and is all about minimizing actions outside of what complies to nature. While in the garden, the scholar is supposed to sit and take in nature and its beauty. It is the non-action of wu-wei that lets the current move you, and the sitting and meditating that takes you where you want to go. To not resist the current, or act on the current, but let it move you is the core of wu wei. In the garden you are not acting or reacting to things around, only sitting as one with nature and being neutral and alone to yourself.
How the Study Relates to our Knowledge of Chinese Culture
Self cultivation means to educate yourself without much teaching from others. Like Confucius had his students do, you teach yourself. He handed them materials, but they had to learn and do the best they could on their own with self-discipline. In the Scholar's study, you would teach yourself with books and learning, and would take your own initiative to learn. In a perfect study with everything one would need, hence having all the materials, a scholar would only have to focus on the learning aspect and their own ambition.