yin and yang
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Ancient Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significant intellectual and cultural development ...
, yin and yang ( and ; zh, t= ''yīnyáng'' pronounced , lit. "dark-light", "negative-positive") is a Chinese philosophical concept that describes how obviously opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. In Chinese cosmology, the universe creates itself out of a primary chaos of material energy, organized into the cycles of Yin and Yang and formed into objects and lives. Yin is the receptive and Yang the active principle, seen in all forms of change and difference such as the annual cycle (winter and summer), the landscape (north-facing shade and south-facing brightness), sexual coupling (female and male), the formation of both men and women as characters and sociopolitical history (disorder and order). There are various dynamics in Chinese cosmology. In the cosmology pertaining to Yin and Yang, the material energy, which this universe has created itself out of, is also referred to as
qi
qi
. It is believed that the organization of qi in this cosmology of Yin and Yang has formed many things. Included among these forms are humans. Many natural dualities (such as
light and dark Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 ...
, fire and water, expanding and contracting) are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality symbolized by yin and yang. This duality lies at the origins of many branches of classical
Chinese science Science and technology in China have developed rapidly during the 1990s to 2010s. The Chinese government has placed emphasis through funding, reform, and societal status on science and technology as a fundamental part of the socio-economic d ...
and philosophy, as well as being a primary guideline of
traditional Chinese medicine Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a branch of traditional medicine in China. It has been described as "fraught with pseudoscience", and the majority of its treatments as having no logical mechanism of action. TCM is said to be based on Com ...
, and a central principle of different forms of
Chinese martial arts Chinese martial arts, often named under the umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling ...
and exercise, such as
baguazhang Baguazhang or Pakua chang () is one of the three main Chinese martial arts of the Wudang school, the other two being Taijiquan, T'ai chi and Xing Yi Quan. It is more broadly grouped as an internal practice (or neijia, neijia quan). ''Bāguà zh ...
,
taijiquan Tai chi (), short for T'ai chi ch'üan or Tàijí quán (), sometimes colloquially known as " Shadowboxing", is an neijia, internal Chinese martial art practiced for defense training, health benefits, and meditation. The term Taiji (philosophy ...
(t'ai chi), and
qigong ''Qigong'' (), ''qi gong'', ''chi kung'', or ''chi gung'' () is a system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial-arts training. With roots in Chinese medicin ...
(Chi Kung), as well as appearing in the pages of the ''
I Ching The ''I Ching'' or ''Yi Jing'' (, ), usually translated as ''Book of Changes'' or ''Classic of Changes'', is an ancient Chinese divination text and among the oldest of the Chinese classics. Originally a divination manual in the Western Zhou ...
''. The notion of duality can be found in many areas, such as
Communities of Practice A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who "share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly". The concept was first proposed by cognitive anthropologist Jean Lave and educati ...
. The term "dualistic-monism" or
dialectical monism Image:Yyjpg.svg, Dialectical Monism Dialectical monism, also known as dualistic monism, is an ontology, ontological position that holds that reality is ultimately a unified whole, distinguishing itself from monism by asserting that this whole nece ...
has been coined in an attempt to express this fruitful
paradox A paradox, also known as an antinomy, is a logically self-contradictory statement or a statement that runs contrary to one's expectation. It is a statement that, despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to a seemingly self-con ...

paradox
of simultaneous unity and duality. Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. According to this philosophy, everything has both yin and yang aspects (for instance, shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation. The yin yang (i.e.
taijitu A ''taijitu'' ( zh, t=太極圖, s=太极图, p=tàijítú, w=t'ai⁴chi²t'u²) is a symbol or diagram ( ''tú'') in Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States per ...

taijitu
symbol) shows a balance between two opposites with a portion of the opposite element in each section. In
Taoist Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the ''Tao'' (, or ''Dao''). In Taosim the ''Tao'' is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. Taoism teaches ...
metaphysics, distinctions between good and bad, along with other
dichotomous 200px, In this image, the universal set U (the entire rectangle) is dichotomized into the two sets A (in pink) and its complement Ac (in grey). A dichotomy is a partition of a whole (or a set) into two parts (subsets). In other words, this coup ...
moral judgments, are perceptual, not real; so, the duality of yin and yang is an indivisible whole. In the ethics of
Confucianism , Shanxi Shanxi (; ; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China and is part of the North China region. The capital and largest city of th ...
on the other hand, most notably in the philosophy of
Dong Zhongshu Dong Zhongshu (; 179–104 BC) was a Han Dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preced ...
( 2nd century BC), a moral dimension is attached to the idea of yin and yang.


Linguistic aspects

These
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
terms ''yīn'' "black side" and ''yáng'' "white side" are linguistically analyzable in terms of
Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write other East-Asian languages, and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system The modern Jap ...
,
pronunciationsPronunciation is the way in which a word or a language is spoken. This may refer to generally agreed-upon sequences of sounds used in speaking a given word or language in a specific dialect ("correct pronunciation") or simply the way a particular in ...
and
etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of words. By extension, th ...
, meanings,
topography Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an area could refer to the surface forms and features themselves, or a description (especially their depiction in maps). Topography is a field of geoscience ...
, and
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (lin ...
s.


Characters

The
Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it ...
and for the words ''yīn'' and ''yáng'' are both classified as Phono-semantic characters, combining the semantic component "mound; hill" radical (graphical variant of ) with the phonetic components ''jīn'' (and the added semantic component ''yún'' "pictographic: cloud") and ''yáng'' . In the latter, ''yáng'' "bright" features "sun" + + "The rays of the sun".


Pronunciations and etymologies

Sinologist has discovered that White is representing "Yin" and Black is representing "Yang" in the Shang Dynasty, those changes of reversed up side down were conducted from the late warring states period. The
Modern Standard Chinese Standard Chinese, in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca among the speakers of various Mandarin and other varieties of Chi ...
pronunciation of is usually the level first
tone Tone may refer to: Color-related * Tone, mix of tint and shade, in painting and color theory * Tone, the lightness In colorimetry and color theory, lightness, also known as value or tone, is a representation of a color's brightness. It is ...
''yīn'' "shady; cloudy" or sometimes the falling fourth tone ''yìn'' "to shelter; shade" while "sunny" is always pronounced with rising second tone ''yáng''. Sinologists and historical linguists have reconstructed
Middle Chinese Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese language, Chinese recorded in the ''Qieyun'', a rime dictionary first published in 601 and followed by several revised and expanded ...
pronunciations from data in the (7th century CE) ''
Qieyun The ''Qieyun'' () is a Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most ...
''
rhyme dictionary A rime dictionary, rhyme dictionary, or rime book () is an ancient type of Chinese dictionary Chinese dictionaries date back over two millennia to the Han Dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dy ...
and later rhyme tables, which was subsequently used to reconstruct Old Chinese phonology from rhymes in the (11th-7th centuries BCE) ''Shijing'' and phonological components of Chinese characters. Reconstructions of Old Chinese have illuminated the etymology of modern Chinese words. Compare these Middle Chinese and Old Chinese (with asterisk) reconstructions of ''yīn'' and ''yáng'' : * ''ˑiəm'' < *''ˑiəm'' and ''iang'' < *''diang'' (Bernhard Karlgren) * *''ʔjəm'' and *''raŋ'' (Li Fang-Kuei) * ''ʔ(r)jum'' and *''ljang'' (William H. Baxter) *''ʔjəm'' < *''ʔəm'' and ''jiaŋ'' < *''laŋ'' (Axel Schuessler) *im'' < *''qrum'' and ''yang'' < *''laŋ'' (William H. Baxter and Laurent Sagart) Schuessler gives probable Sino-Tibetan languages, Sino-Tibetan etymologies for both Chinese words. ''Yin'' < *''ʔəm'' compares with Burmese language, Burmese ''ʔumC'' "overcast; cloudy", Adi language, Adi ''muk-jum'' "shade", and Lepcha language, Lepcha ''so'yǔm'' "shade"; and is probably cognate with Chinese ''àn'' < *''ʔə̂mʔ'' "dim; gloomy" and ''qīn'' < *''khəm'' "blanket". ''Yang'' < *''laŋ'' compares with Lepcha ''a-lóŋ'' "reflecting light", Burmese ''laŋB'' "be bright" and ''ə-laŋB'' "light"; and is perhaps cognate with Chinese ''chāng'' < *''k-hlaŋ'' "prosperous; bright" (compare Mainland Southeast Asia linguistic area, areal words like Tai languages, Tai ''plaŋA1'' "bright" & Proto-Vietic languages, Viet-Muong ''hlaŋB''). To this word-family, Jonathan Unger, Unger (Hao-ku, 1986:34) also includes ''bǐng'' < ''*pl(j)aŋʔ'' "bright"; however Schuessler reconstructs ''bǐngs Old Chinese pronunciation as *''braŋʔ'' and includes it in an Austroasiatic languages, Austroasiatic word family, besides ''liàng'' < *''raŋh'' ''shuǎng'' < *''sraŋʔ'' "twilight (of dawn)"; ''míng'' < ''mraŋ'' "bright, become light, enlighten"; owing to "the different OC initial consonant which seems to have no recognizable OC morphological function".


Meanings

''Yin'' and ''yang'' are semantically complex words. John DeFrancis's ''ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary'' gives the following translation equivalents.
Yin 陰 or 阴 — Noun: ① [philosophy] female/passive/negative principle in nature, ② Surname; Bound morpheme: ① the moon, ② shaded orientation, ③ covert; concealed; hidden, ④ vagina, ⑤ penis, ⑥ of the netherworld, ⑦ negative, ⑧ north side of a hill, ⑨ south bank of a river, ⑩ reverse side of a stele, ⑪ in intaglio; Stative verb: ① overcast, ② sinister; treacherous
Yang 陽 or 阳 — Bound morpheme: ① [Chinese philosophy] positive/active/male principle in nature, ② the sun, ③ male genitals, ④ in relief, ⑤ open; overt, ⑥ belonging to this world, ⑦ [linguistics] masculine, ⑧ south side of a hill, ⑨ north bank of a river
The Compound (linguistics), compound ''yinyang'' means "yin and yang; opposites; ancient Chinese astronomy; occult arts; astrologer; geomancer; etc." The Sinology, sinologist Rolf Stein etymologically translates Chinese ''yin'' "shady side (of a mountain)" and ''yang'' "sunny side (of a mountain)" with the uncommon English geographic terms ''wikt:ubac, ubac'' "shady side of a mountain" and ''wikt:adret, adret'' "sunny side of a mountain" (which are of List of English words of French origin, French origin).


Toponymy

Many Chinese place names or toponyms contain the word ''yang'' "sunny side" and a few contain ''yin'' "shady side". In China, as elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, sunlight comes predominantly from the south, and thus the south face of a mountain or the north bank of a river will receive more direct sunlight than the opposite side. ''Yang'' refers to the "south side of a hill" in Hengyang , which is south of Mount Heng (Hunan), Mount Heng in Hunan province, and to the "north bank of a river" in Luoyang , which is located north of the Luo River (Henan), Luo River in Henan. Similarly, ''yin'' refers to "north side of a hill" in Huayin , which is north of Mount Hua in Shaanxi province. In Japan, the characters are used in western Honshu to delineate the north-side San'in region from the south-side San'yō region , separated by the Chūgoku Mountains .


Loanwords

English ''wikt:yin, yin'', ''wikt:yang, yang'', and ''wikt:yin-yang, yin-yang'' are familiar loanwords of List of English words of Chinese origin, Chinese origin. The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' defines:
yin (jɪn) Also Yin, Yn. [Chinese ''yīn'' shade, feminine; the moon.] a. In Chinese philosophy, the feminine or negative principle (characterized by dark, wetness, cold, passivity, disintegration, etc.) of the two opposing cosmic forces into which creative energy divides and whose fusion in physical matter brings the phenomenal world into being. Also ''attrib''. or as ''adj''., and ''transf''. Cf. yang. b. ''Comb''., as yin-yang, the combination or fusion of the two cosmic forces; freq. attrib., esp. as yin-yang symbol, a circle divided by an S-shaped line into a dark and a light segment, representing respectively ''yin'' and ''yang'', each containing a 'seed' of the other.
yang (jæŋ) Also Yang. [Chinese ''yáng'' yang, sun, positive, male genitals.] a. In Chinese philosophy, the masculine or positive principle (characterized by light, warmth, dryness, activity, etc.) of the two opposing cosmic forces into which creative energy divides and whose fusion in physical matter brings the phenomenal world into being. Also ''attrib.'' or as ''adj.'' Cf. yin. b. ''Comb.'': yang-yin = ''yin-yang'' s.v. yin b.
For the earliest recorded "yin and yang" usages, the ''OED'' cites 1671 for ''yin'' and ''yang'', 1850 for ''yin-yang'', and 1959 for ''yang-yin''. In English, ''yang-yin'' (like ''ying-yang'') occasionally occurs as a mistake or typographical error for the Chinese loanword ''yin-yang''— yet they are not equivalents. Chinese does have some ''yangyin'' collocations, such as (lit. "foreign silver") "silver coin/dollar", but not even the most comprehensive dictionaries (e.g., the ''Hanyu Da Cidian'') enter ''yangyin'' *. While ''yang'' and ''yin'' can occur together in context, ''yangyin'' is not synonymous with ''yinyang''. The linguistic term "Siamese twins (linguistics), irreversible binomial" refers to a collocation of two words A-B that cannot be idiomatically reversed as B-A, for example, English ''cat and mouse'' (not *''mouse and cat'') and ''friend or foe'' (not *''foe or friend'').Roger T. Ames, "''Yin'' and ''Yang''", in ''Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy'', ed. by Antonio S. Cua, Routledge, 2002, 847. Similarly, the usual pattern among Chinese binomial compounds is for positive A and negative B, where the A word is dominant or privileged over B, for example, ''tiandi'' "heaven and earth" and ''nannü'' "men and women". ''Yinyang'' meaning "dark and light; female and male; moon and sun", however, is an exception. Scholars have proposed various explanations for why ''yinyang'' violates this pattern, including "linguistic convenience" (it is easier to say ''yinyang'' than ''yangyin''), the idea that "proto-Chinese society was matriarchal", or perhaps, since ''yinyang'' first became prominent during the late Warring States period, this term was "purposely directed at challenging persistent cultural assumptions".


History

Needham discusses Yin and Yang together with Wuxing (Chinese philosophy), Five Elements as part of the School of Naturalists. He says that it would be proper to begin with Yin and Yang before Five Elements because the former: "lay, as it were, at a deeper level in Nature, and were the most ultimate principles of which the ancient Chinese could conceive. But it so happens that we know a good deal more about the historical origin of the Five-Element theory than about that of the Yin and the Yang, and it will therefore be more convenient to deal with it first."Needham, Joseph; Science and Civilization in China Vol.2: History of Scientific Thought; Cambridge University Press; 1956 He then discusses Zou Yan (; 305 – 240 BC) who is most associated with these theories. Although Yin and Yang are not mentioned in any of the surviving documents of Zou Yan, his school was known as the Yin Yang Jia (Yin and Yang School) Needham concludes "There can be very little doubt that the philosophical use of the terms began about the beginning of the -4th century, and that the passages in older texts which mention this use are interpolations made later than that time."


Chinese gender roles

In spite of being used in a modern context to justify egalitarianism under the notion of both yin and yang being "necessary", in practise the concept of yin and yang has led to justification for China's patriarchal history. Particularly under
Confucianism , Shanxi Shanxi (; ; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China and is part of the North China region. The capital and largest city of th ...
, yang (as the sun principle) is considered superior to "yin" (the dark principle), hence men are afforded rulership positions whereas women are not unless, under some remarkable circumstances, they possess sufficient yang.


Nature

In Daoism, Daoist philosophy, dark and light, yin and yang, arrive in the ''Tao Te Ching'' at chapter 42.  It becomes sensible from an initial quiescence or emptiness (Wuji (philosophy), wuji, sometimes symbolized by an empty circle), and continues moving until Wiktionary:quiescence, quiescence is reached again. For instance, dropping a stone in a calm pool of water will simultaneously raise waves and lower troughs between them, and this alternation of high and low points in the water will radiate outward until the movement dissipates and the pool is calm once more. Yin and yang thus are always opposite and equal qualities. Further, whenever one quality reaches its peak, it will naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality: for example, grain that reaches its full height in summer (fully yang) will produce seeds and die back in winter (fully yin) in an endless cycle. It is impossible to talk about yin or yang without some reference to the opposite, since yin and yang are bound together as parts of a non-wellfounded mereology, mutual whole (for example, there cannot be the bottom of the foot without the top). A way to illustrate this idea is to postulate the notion of a race with only women or only men; this race would disappear in a single generation. Yet, women and men together create new generations that allow the race they mutually create (and mutually come from) to survive. The interaction of the two gives birth to things, like manhood. Yin and yang transform each other: like an undertow in the ocean, every advance is complemented by a retreat, and every rise transforms into a fall. Thus, a seed will sprout from the earth and grow upwards towards the skyan intrinsically yang movement. Then, when it reaches its full potential height, it will fall. Also, the growth of the top seeks light, while roots grow in darkness. Certain catchphrases have been used to express yin and yang complementarity: *The bigger the front, the bigger the back. *Illness is the doorway to health. *Tragedy turns to comedy. *Disasters turn out to be blessings.


Modern usage

Yin is the black side, and yang is the white side. The relationship between yin and yang is often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and a valley. Yin (literally the 'shady place' or 'north slope') is the dark area occluded by the mountain's bulk, while yang (literally the "sunny place' or "south slope") is the brightly lit portion. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed. Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, negativity, femininity, shadows/darkness, destructiveness, and night time. Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot/warm, dry, and active; and is associated with fire, sky/air, the sun, positivity, masculinity, glowing/light, creativeness, and daytime. Yin and yang also applies to the human body. In traditional Chinese medicine good health is directly related to the balance between yin and yang qualities within oneself. If yin and yang become unbalanced, one of the qualities is considered deficient or has Emptiness, vacuity.


''I Ching''

In the ''
I Ching The ''I Ching'' or ''Yi Jing'' (, ), usually translated as ''Book of Changes'' or ''Classic of Changes'', is an ancient Chinese divination text and among the oldest of the Chinese classics. Originally a divination manual in the Western Zhou ...
'', originally a divination manual of the Western Zhou period (c. 1000–750 BC) based on Chinese Astronomy, yin and yang are represented by broken and solid lines: yin is broken () and yang is solid (). These are then combined into ba gua, trigrams, which are more yang (''e.g.'' ) or more yin (''e.g.'' ) depending on the number of broken and solid lines (''e.g.'', is heavily yang, while is heavily yin), and trigrams are combined into hexagrams (''e.g.'' and ). The relative positions and numbers of yin and yang lines within the trigrams determines the meaning of a trigram, and in hexagrams the upper trigram is considered yang with respect to the lower trigram, yin, which allows for complex depictions of interrelations.


''Taijitu''

The principle of yin and yang is represented by the ''Taijitu'' (literally "Diagram of the Taiji (philosophy), Supreme Ultimate"). The term is commonly used to mean the simple "divided circle" form, but may refer to any of several schematic diagrams representing these principles, such as the swastika, common to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Similar symbols have also appeared in other cultures, such as in Celtic art and Notitia Dignitatum#Depictions, Roman shield markings.Giovanni Monastra:
The "Yin–Yang" among the Insignia of the Roman Empire?
," "Sophia," Vol. 6, No. 2 (2000)
Helmut Nickel: "The Dragon and the Pearl," ''Metropolitan Museum Journal,'' Vol. 26 (1991), p. 146, Fn. 5 In this symbol the two teardrops swirl to represent the conversion of yin to yang and yang to yin. This is seen when a ball is thrown into the air with a yang velocity then converts to a yin velocity to fall back to earth. The two teardrops are opposite in direction to each other to show that as one increases the other decreases. The dot of the opposite field in the tear drop shows that there is always yin within yang and always yang within yin.


''T'ai chi ch'uan''

T'ai chi ch'uan or Taijiquan (), a form of martial art, is often described as the principles of yin and yang applied to the human body and an animal body. Wu Jianquan, a famous
Chinese martial arts Chinese martial arts, often named under the umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling ...
teacher, described Taijiquan as follows:


See also

* Dualistic cosmology ** Shatkona * Enantiodromia * Flag of South Korea * Flag of Tibet * Fu Xi * Gankyil * ''Huangdi Neijing'' * Ometeotl * Onmyōdō * T'ai chi ch'uan * Taegeuk * Tomoe * ''Zhuangzi (book), Zhuangzi''


References


Footnotes


Works cited

*


External links


Yin Yang meaning in Chinese
educational video.

goldenelixir.com

by Liu Yiming (1734–1821) {{DEFAULTSORT:Yin And Yang Chinese martial arts terminology Chinese philosophy Chinese words and phrases Dichotomies Dualism in cosmology Religious symbols Symbols Tai chi Taoist cosmology Traditional Chinese medicine