World Wide Yin and Yang

Topics: Taoism, Chinese philosophy, Confucianism Pages: 5 (1719 words) Published: February 17, 2013
World Wide Yin and Yang
The Chinese culture has a variety of religions and philosophies; behind each one there is a core of theories and principles formed by its founders. The aspects of the yin-yang principal are the basis of the three major Chinese religions: Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.

In China, people are aware of the importance of believing in the yin and yang principles. The Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender states, the Chinese view yin and yang as opposites, where yin is dark and yang is light. They are also known to be cool and warm, moist and dry, and decay and growth. Each complements the other and individual change through stages of their lives (“Yin”, Encyclopedia).It is believed that the stages in a being’s life are either yin or yang. All of the steps and stages one under goes fit together like a puzzle. The two create an outstanding equilibrium. Furthermore, a primary principle is the existence of natural forces, “Yin and yang are expressed in three forces of the universe: heaven, earth, and humanity. […] Tao is the ultimate force or the reality behind everything” (Hartz 59). Allegedly, yin and yang came from Tao, which appears only through natural forces of the world. Thus, occurring in three levels of the cycle of life, beginning in heaven and falling to earth where humanity lies. The forces are placed in one of two categories, “Yang is the heavenly force. It is the force of movement, of light, fire, warmth, and life. […] Yin […] is yang’s opposite, but it cannot be separated from yang. […] The two operate together, in the cycles that are a part or nature and of Tao” (Hartz 61). Yin and yang are always together. Their opposing forces work together to harmonize nature’s course of life. The two religions, Taoism and Confucianism, have their own view of how the forces shift; Taoists do not force change, they allow the Tao to guide it naturally (yin) and Confucians try to be in control (yang) (Ross). Disciples of Taoism practice being passive, this ensures that nature takes its appropriate course. On the other hand, disciples of Confucianism are more aggressive with change. It is evident that the Chinese use the complimentary forces to explain life, “Everything in the world can be identified with either yin or yang. Earth is the ultimate yin object and heaven is the ultimate yang object” (Ross). All of the things the universe consists of are always yin and yang. Confucians and Taoists have a common perspective of the Earth as yin and Heaven as yang; these two are combining reciprocals. The yin-yang principle is widely spread among the globe,” It cannot be said to be uniquely Taoist or Confucian or folk-religious; rather it suffused all of these traditions” (“Yin, Encyclopedia). All of the major Chinese religions are developed from yin and yang. It is not found solely in one single philosophy, but in many different aspects of life. Without the existence of the balanced yin-yang principle, Chinese philosophy would lack its central core beliefs.

The majority of Chinese philosophies acknowledge the presence of the Dao. It has many different names, but all have a single meaning; “Confucians call it Great Ultimate, Taoists call it Golden Elixir and Buddhists call it Complete Awareness (“Yin”, New). Each of the three; Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism believe in the Dao, which are one yin and one yang. In essence, the two: Yin and Yang form Dao, “the Great Ultimate”. Without them there is nothing, but when together they give life (“Yin”, New). In order to produce the one Dao, it is necessary to have both yin and yang. They are what create the state before and after Heaven. This would go on to show, “[…] Dao is both a force beyond any single expression in nature and, at the same time, the force that flows within tangible nature, propelling it to change” (Sullivan 14). Dao is a continuous cycle that is in all things, material and natural. Everything is controlled by Dao, allowing them to interchange....
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