Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yang, Yin, Interdependency

I would like to discuss in detail the symbol of the "Yin-Yang" and how it's more that just a symbol for opposites. Many believe or have been told that the Yin Yang represents opposites, i.e.  Heaven & Earth, dark & light, male & female, etc.  If the symbol only suggested and represented only opposites, it would be like this:

 But the Yin Yang, (actually pronounced "yeen yongh"), is distinctly characterized by it's curved lines.  This takes the symbolism to a whole new level: Interdependency. Nothing in the universe is only just Yin or Yang.  Yang contains Yin, and Yin contains Yang, and that's why the lines are curved.
Buddhism and Taoism teach us that every thing co-arises.  You couldn't have the egg without the chicken and you couldn't have the chicken without the egg.  The Buddha himself spoke,
"This is because that is, that is not because this is not, this comes to be because that comes to be, that ceases to be because this ceases to be."  There is no cause and effect, there are no opposites, everything is part of everything else, everything is condition.
The Tao-Teh-Ching also states in Chapter Thirty-Six:
"Before one can contract a thing, it must first be extended; before anything can be weakened, it must first be made strong, before anything can be wasted, it must be present; before one can take a thing by force, someone else must give it up."

As we can see, all of the circumstances mentioned in Chapter Thirty Six, (and in many other chapters of the book), are all interdependent.

On another note of interdependency, you are reading this because the universe produced the earth, the earth produced oil, the oil was drilled and made into plastic, the plastics were molded into shapes, a technician put the plastic shapes together to make a computer, you purchased the computer, etc.  If we look deeply enough into anything we see that it is all connected.  Even the chair you may sit on was once a seed from a tree, given light from the sun and water from the clouds with rain, turned into a tree, cut down by a logger, a carpenter took the wood and furnished it into a chair, with his saws and nails deriving from iron ore found in the earth, which was hardened into the ore millions of years ago by the earth orbiting the sun.  It's a full circle.

Now going back to the Yin Yang, the Yang of the sun wouldn't be without the Yin of space to give light, producing photosynthesis to grow the tree, the Yin of the cutting the tree down, and the Yang of the fire in the furnace to harden the wood, etc.

Even in martial arts, the Yin Yang is very applicable.  When we strike, that is Yang, when we evade that is Yin.  You cannot only be a forward moving Yang, you must yield and advance.

In conclusion, everything is essentially a lot more than what it seems to be.  I hope this gives a better representation of the Yin Yang than just opposites.
The original symbol had arrows signifying the interweaving of energies, made popular again by Bruce Lee with Jeet Kune Do. 

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