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Yin & Yang

Yin & Yang

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Published by: api-3741779 on Oct 15, 2008
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Yin and yang
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (simplified Chinese:\ue000\u9633; traditional Chinese:\u9670\u967d; pinyin: y\u012bny\u00e1ng) are generalized descriptions of the antitheses or mutual correlations in human perceptions of phenomena in the natural world, combining to create a unity of opposites in the theory of the Taiji. The term liang yi (simplified Chinese:\u4e24\u4eea; traditional Chinese:\u5169\u5100; pinyin: li\u01cengy\u00ed, lit. "two mutually correlated opposites"), also known as Yin and Yang

or heaven and earth, has a similar meaning.

The dual concepts ofyi n andya ng (orheaven andearth) describe two primal opposing but complementary principles or cosmic forces said to be found in all non-static objects and processes in the universe. This seemingly paradoxical concept is the cornerstone of most branches of Chinese philosophy, as well as traditional Chinese medicine.

Two elements
Yin (\u9670 or\ue000 "shady place, north slope, south bank (river); cloudy, overcast";
Japanese:in oron; Korean:\uc74c, Vietnamese: \u00e2m) is the dark element: it is
passive, dark, feminine, negative, downward-seeking, consuming and
corresponds to the night.
Yang (\u967d or\u9633 "sunny place, south slope, north bank (river), sunshine";

Japanese:y\u014d; Korean:\uc591, Vietnamese: d\u01b0\u01a1ng) is the bright element: it is active, light, masculine, positive, upward-seeking, producing and corresponds to the daytime.

Yin is often symbolized by water and earth, while yang is symbolized by fire
and air.

Yin (dark) and yang (light) are descriptions of complementary opposites as well as absolutes. Any yin/yang duality can be viewed from another perspective. All forces in nature can be seen as existing in yin or yang states, and the two produce constant movement/force of the universe.

As the universe is relative and interdependent, the determination of which thing is yin or yang depends on what is its complementary opposite - that is, the frame of reference. This yin-and-yang relativity concept forms the core in understanding of many Chinese philosophic classics as embodied in the Tao Te Ching

The Taijitu (pictured at top of page; traditional Chinese:\u592a\u6975\u5716; simplified
Chinese:\u592a\u6781\u56fe; pinyin: Ta\u00ecj\u00ed t\u00fa; Wade-Giles: T'ai chi t'u; literally "diagram of

the supreme ultimate"), often referred to asyin-yang in English, is a well known symbol deriving from Chinese culture which represents the principle of yin and yang from Taoist and Neo-Confucian philosophy. The termTaijitu itself refers to any of several schematic diagrams representing these principles.


The taijitu represents an ancient Chinese understanding of how things work. The outer circle represents the entirety of perceivable phenomena, while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two principles or aspects, called "yin" (black) and "yang" (white), which cause the phenomena to appear in their peculiar way. Each of them contains an element or seed of the other, and they cannot exist without each other. There are other ways that Chinese schools of thought graphically represented the principles of yin and yang, an older example being the solid and divided lines of the I Ching.

Wu Jianquan, a famous Chinese martial arts teacher, described the name of
the martial art Taijiquan this way at the beginning of the 20th century:

"Various people have offered different explanations for the nameTaijiquan. Some have said: 'In terms of self-cultivation, one must train from a state of movement towards a state of stillness.Taiji comes about through the balance ofyin andyang. In terms of the art of attack and defense then, in the context of the changes of full and empty, one is constantly internally latent, not outwardly expressive, as if theyin andyang ofTaiji have not yet divided apart.' Others say: 'Every movement ofTaijiquan is based on circles, just like the shape of aTaijitu. Therefore, it is calledTaijiquan.' Both explanations are quite reasonable, especially the second, which is more complete."

The image above showing yin-yang is a circle (presenting taijitu- the initial unity of universe) with two parts: white part presents yang and black part presents yin. Two parts pass through each other on a line because yin and yang are never separated, such as if people do not know what bad is, they do not know what good is. There is a small black round in white part and so is in black part; that presents the philosophy: "yang in yin, yin in yang" (for example: though water is fluid-yin, water is also hydraulic-yang); if yin is not in


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