Yin-Yang in the Nei Jing Su Wen (Chapter 5)

The following passage is found at the the beginning of the Huangdi Nei Jing Su Wen (Chapter 5):

The Yellow Emperor said, “Yinyang is the dao of Heaven and Earth, the fundamental principle of everything, the progenitor of myriad variation, the root of life and death, and the palace of spirit brightness.”

Creative Commons License
This translation by Yanzhong Zhu and Philip Garrison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Tai Ji (yin-yang) symbol at Long Hu Shan Daoist monastery

Tai Ji (yin-yang) symbol at Long Hu Shan Daoist monastery

This elegantly simple passage contains a wealth of information relevant to chinese medical theory and practice.  Everything in the world, from the most complex to the most simple, can be expressed in terms of yin and yang.  Of course, yin and yang are not static, they are always in motion, as indicated by the taiji symbol.  In the simplest terms, yin and yang are polar opposites of a spectrum.  Life is the product of this dipole movement and interaction.  When yin and yang separate, life ceases to exist.

Yin and yang are also representative of force vectors.  Yang represents an outward and upward force, while yin represents an inward and downward force.  Yang expands and yin contracts.

Based on his observations of nature, Viktor Schauberger, the Austrian naturalist, developed terminology to explain toroidal motion that could also be applied to yin and yang.  In axial -> radial motion, the toroidal force moves away from the center (yang), and in radial -> axial motion, the toroidal force moves toward the center (yin) (Coats, 59).

Of course, China’s early natural philosophers were also in tune with nature, and thus yin and yang apply to all sorts of natural phenomena.  The sun is considered yang, while the moon is considered yin.  Daytime is yang, and nighttime is yin. Spring and summer are yang, fall and winter are yin. Male is yang, and female is yin.  Thus, it is through these interactions that life exists.  Without the interaction of male and female, there would be no life.  Similarly, without the passage of the seasons, and the alternation of the sun and moon, planting and harvest seasons would be unclear.

Of course, one could go on-and-on relating the associations of yin and yang and their applicability to both life and medicine.  As one ponders the universal applicability of this theory, its elegant simplicity begins to unfold.

References:
Huáng Dì Nèi Jīng 黄帝内经

Callum Coats, Living Energies

© Dr. Phil Garrison and Ancient Chinese Medical Theory, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dr. Phil Garrison and Ancient Chinese Medical Theory with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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