The yin and yang symbol go together like peanut butter and jelly, rice and beans, even just like we associate Christmas with presents you need the other to keep balance in the world. When it comes to yin it is said to mean female, night, lunar, or shade, feminine, the moon. On the other side of the spectrum we have yang which means male, daylight, solar or sun, positive, male genitals. Which in general is said that if one of these is off balance in the universe it will go off the spectrum and plunge into a dark abyss.
Furthermore, the yin and yang symbols have different meanings in Taoism. Even when it comes down to the details about its yin needs yang and yang needs yin. Especially when talking about how it is formed what makes up yin and yang, also the history behind the symbol.
First, we will talk about when it was founded and by who. It was said that it was created by the chaos that ensued when the universe was born into existence and believe to exist in harmony at the center of the earth.
This resulted in the first human to be born named Pangu. Also, the first gods were created from this chaos. These gods were Nuwa and Shennong both were born from yin and yang. However, it’s very interesting how Taoists prefer yin while Confucianism’s favor yang. which keeps with the prime focus of their respective philosophies. The Taoists emphasize reclusion while the Confucians believe in the importance of engagement in life.
The ever-changing relationship between the two symbols are responsible for the constant flux of the universe and for life in general. An example of this when the influx is too great between yin and yang, catastrophes such as floods, droughts and plagues will occur. Furthermore, it is believed that life goes through five phases of fire water metal wood and earth, which continuously become interchanged according to the principal yin and yang.
Now we will get into talking about the symbols by themselves. The first I’m going to talk about is the yin symbol which represents feminine, dark, black, transformation, moon, passive, earth, cold, old, even numbers, valleys, poor, soft and provides spirits to all things. Also, it is to be known that yin reaches its height of influence at the winter solstice. Yin may also be represented by the tiger, orange and a broken line between the trigrams. An example of how yin conspires with yang would be say there is a blazing fire which is yang and then yin is the aftermath of the fire being simmered down, after the raging blaze. Now we are to talk about the origins of yang. yang represents masculine, white, light, south, fire, active, sun, heaven, warm, young, odd numbers, mountains, rich, hard, and provides form to all things. Yang also reaches its height of influence with the summer solstice. Yan may also be represented by the dragon, blue and the solid line trigram. An example of yang would be the crashing when the waves come down from the sea.
Furthermore, when discussing yin and yang, it also comes with their Chinese philosophies. These philosophies include Taoism and Confucianism. Taoism and Confucianism are very similar to each other than most people think when it comes to interpreting the yin and yang symbol. An example in Taoism would be finding “the way” while keeping balance through the way with peace and harmony, while also keeping balance with the yin and yang. furthermore, what is meant by “the way” is simply don’t fight against the current because that person is the river. That person is the rocks, the trees, the animals within the river keeping harmony and peace while flowing through life. So that is the way a person would view the yin and yang symbol in that point of context. Now for the other way of looking at the yin and yang symbol is from the Confucius’s side of the world. This is involving them more focusing on the yang symbol more than anything and for good reason.
The system of yin and yang symbol is a way of explaining the universe to a confusianists. Another way a confusianists may look at the symbol is by calling it the tai chi, which is the ultimate energy of yin and yang, which has evolved wu chi, which is void energy and can be transferred into various forms. However ultimately the greatest source of energy and knowledge is called the Tao, which is the continuum without boundaries in time and space, and are infinite, formless and luminous. (book of I-Ching). On another note it is time to discuss how everything is involved with the Tao. The Tao is essentially, means “the path” or “the way”. This is the universal principle that underlies everything from the creation of galaxies to the interaction of human beings. The work of the Tao is beyond human logic. So, in order to understand the reasoning alone will not be enough. One must also apply their knowledge to the subject.
Here are some of the teachings of lao tzus. The first is non-contention, which involved violence and conflict, no matter how tightly controlled; could not help but cause negative side effects. The whole point of the Tao is to solve problems through peaceful means. The next is the teaching of non-action, it says the foolish expel a great amount of energy and time trying to accomplish everything, but in the end accomplish nothing. On the other side of the spectrum, the truly wise do not seem to do much of anything, yet they achieve whatever their heart desires. This is possible only when a person acts without attachments. Another teaching is through non-intention. This is when people may do virtuous deeds hoping to receive praise or recognition. However, that is no virtue what so ever. The true meaning of virtue is a state where such actions flow forth naturally, requiring no conscious effort or thought. In addition to his teachings, the next is simplicity, which involves our reality and our existence is elemental and uncomplicated. It is said that human beings create a lot of trouble for themselves by making everything more complex than needed. By saying such, this means that if we learn to simplify our lives we can experience a satisfaction that is infinitely more meaningful than the rewards of a material world.
Now, for the last three important teachings of thee Tao, these last teachings are wisdom, humility, and duality. When talking about wisdom, at least in the Tao aspect of it, it is very important to understand through rational thoughts and reasoning. This is the key insights to opposed knowledge, and the difference between living the Tao and reading all about it. Furthermore, on the subject next is humility, this teaching says the more you learn, the more you realize there is more to learn. This tends to make you humbler. Only because arrogance and ego com from ignorance. The saying knowing a little bit and assuming a lot can be applied to this. The last, but not the very last teaching of lao tzu teachings was duality. He suggests that all qualities in the world possesses meaning only by the existence of their opposites. On the contrary it means that something big must compeer with it something small. Almost like good exists in this world if evil is a foot. One needs the other to co-exist.
In conclusion to the yin and yang symbol involves many aspects to the world and Chinese philosophies, whether it’s from Taoism to Confucianism. Involving the way of the Tao and lao tzus teachings. Even understanding the ways yin and yang co-exist to keep peace and harmony within the universe. How chi works with yin and yang. The aspects of how Tao was created with the chaos of the universe is amazing. The teachings that show how to flow with life and not fight against the current and just flow with the river. Also explaining what makes up the yin and the yang to help each other coexist. Such as the yin being the bright flame and the yang being the doused smothers of ash. This relationship between these two are unmatched in any other philosophy or religion in the world. The history behind it is extraordinary. The information on the yin and yang will keep a reader’s eyes locked into the screen or book for hours on end. Giving them knew knowledge, a new way of understanding. Also, becoming a humbler, wiser, and more honest human being, with learning the way the yin and yang work together to keep peace and harmony in Taoism and Confucianism both, while giving new meaning to the yin and yang symbol known as the Tao.