Hao jiu bu jian! Yes, I recognize your name from some forums way back, and I appreciate your critical mind as I did then. I suspect we have more grounds for agreement than it may appear on the face of things.
Thank you for reminding me of these additional compounds, tiyan (to learn or understand through direct experience), tihui (to intuitively understand), and tixian (to embody or give expression to). There’s another: tixing (to embody in one’s own actions).
One thing I want to clarify that may be a point of misunderstanding is that I did not use tidao in my post with the meaning “to embody THE way.” Rather, I wrote: ‘So “tidao,” “to embody” is better understood as “to play out, to practice, to do” a “way” in one’s physical body.’
I found a definition in one Chinese dictionary for tidao, for example, that says it means “gongxing zhengdao” (to personally put into practice the correct way). So that is more what I had in mind. Tidao has this strong entailment of personal practice. This is what Zhuangzi meant, is it not, when he told the story about Wheelwright Pian in the “Tiandao” chapter. His skill at making wheels was not something he could convey with the operations of reason. He said “You can get it in your hand (de zhi yu shou) and feel it in your mind (er gan yu xin). You can’t put it into words (kou bu neng yan), and yet there’s a knack to it (you shu cun yan yu qi jian).” It seems to me that all of these notions—tidao, tiyan, tihui, tixian, and tixing—apply to what Wheelwright Pian was talking about.
And he was just a regular old Joe.