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The Ying Yang and the Path of the Tao

Yin Yang

For the ancient Chinese philosophy, the word Tao comes from the simplified and traditional Chinese: 道, Pinyin: “Dào”, can be literally translated as the path, the way or the route or also as The method or The doctrine.
It is the natural order of existence that, in fact, cannot be named as opposed to the countless things that have its name, in which the Tao manifests.
It is -at the same time- the unity of all things and the way in which the Universe functions.
From this uniqueness arise the Ying and Yang: the world in its endless shapes.
From the “One” arises the “Two“. The Ying-Yang relationship is the universal law of the material world (Duality). In this way, for each force existing in Nature there is an equal and opposed counterforce.
The Sky was created due to the accumulation of the Yang that ascended; the Earth was created due to the accumulation of the Yin that descended. Water and Fire are symbols of the Ying and the Yang. The Ying and Yang are a source of energy and the origin of every thing of Creation.

Ying-Yang: The mountain image

What does Ying-Yang mean?
If we watch a mountain at dawn, we will see a dark side, the side of the mountain exposed to the shadow that is YIN (facing the North) regarding the sunny side that the sun bathes, that is YANG (facing the South). However, when the sun rises and moves around the sky, the heat and the light of the morning move from one hillside to the other in the afternoon.
Both sides, the dark and the sunny one converge and alternate.
The one that was YANG (bright side) became YING in the morning and the one that was YIN (dark side) in the morning became YANG in the afternoon.
We can consider that there is a bright part of the mountain because there is dark part.
When the day becomes night the whole mountain is dark, cold and still. At night, when the moon shines on the mountain, its light is Yang inside the Yin darkness of the night.
This is the way the Chinese philosophy explains the meaning of Ying-Yang.
The Yang becomes the Ying and the Ying becomes the Yang. It is a dynamic symbol. It shows the continuous interaction of two energies and its balance. As such, it is a symbol of harmony.
The Ying and theYang are opposed and interdependent. Therefore, the Universe represents the movement and rest. Nature offers energy to engender and grow, to harvest and to store, to end and to begin again. The constant evolution.
The yin and yang is a concept based on the duality of every thing existing in the Universe. Principle, reason and original cause of appearance and disappearance of every thing.

“Every thing has both of them inside, ying and yang,
and from their alternate ascendance and descendance
the new life is born”…

Laozi, Tao Te Ching

The dynamic concept of Ying-Yang depends on the observer's point of view. Thus, watching from the macrocosm we see:

And if we watch the correspondences from the microcosm:

The Big Tao is the orientation source of every process of the Universe beyond of what exists and doesn't exist and “Is” prior to space and time.
The Tao is the principle that organizes things after the continual flow of change, thus being the origin of everything.
Due to this, it is also the constant that covers every aspect of reality. In that sense, it can be compared to the concept of Entirety of the Western philosophy although in the West it has been personified with theistic representations as a god or with the concepts of the Greek “Logos” or the Hindu “Dharma”.
The totalizing concept of Tao is useful to define the so-called Natural Order that the Taoism proposes as the harmonious functioning of the Nature and in the Nature. Thus, the Tao is the example to be followed by Taoists to apply to the different aspects of life.
The first reference to the Tao appears in the classical Chinese text: Lao-Tsé's Tao Te Ching (Dào Dé Jing, from the Chinese: 道德經, approx. 6th Century), also called Tao Te King, where it is not precisely defined what this is and which metaphysical nature was unique in the China of those days. Its teachings and those of its successor, Chuang-Tsé, are the mainstays of Taoism.
In China, the philosophy of Nature and the vision of world are pervaded of the Taoist thought. Thus, many artists, painters, calligraphers and even gardeners have used this book as a source of inspiration. Its influence has also been spread beyond the Far East, helped by many different translations into Western languages.
Chinese Traditional Medicine was structured on the basis of the Taoist thought. The ancient physicians used this philosophical trend to explain the medical, anatomical, physiological, diagnostic, therapeutic and prognosis in the treatment of diseases and in the health strengthening.
The origin of the energy circulating through the body is cosmic. The man himself is also a product resulting from the cosmic forces.
The meaning of the Tao (道) depends on the context and can be used as a philosophical, cosmological, religious or moral term.
The Tao symbol is made of the ying and the yang converging in a circle.


Wuxi's representation

Tai Chi/Yin Yang representation

The Tai Chi, Taiji or Supreme Culmination:

According to the traditional Chinese philosophy, the Taiji or Tai Chi is the generating principle of everything. The Ying and Yang arise from it. This principle, frequently considered as an equivalent of the Tao, is sometimes associated to the Wuji concept which expresses the original condition of the non-differentiated universe. Prior to the Ying-Yang Great Polarity emergence.
This is a representation of the Ying-Yang. Two symmetrical images of a different color: The Yang is the clear part and the Ying is the dark part. Inside each part there is an opposed color called “Young Yang” and “Young Yin” which indicate the seeds of the transformation that is going to be carried out. The exterior circle represents the Tao.
In the deepest darkness there is the seed of light and at the peak of a brilliant clarity there is the seed of darkness.
The Dào or Tao slowly flows in the Universe, but never stops and it is unbelievably powerful, thus, keeping every thing that exists ordered and balanced.
The Qi, the Chinese term for steam, breath or energy, and the Dào go hand in hand, since the Qi is the energy that flows in the Universe. For that reason, it can be said that the Dào is the flow of the Qi.
The concept of the Tao is based on accepting that the only constant in the Universe is the change and it is our destiny to be in harmony with it.
The change is the constant flow from being to not being, from the possible to the real, from ying to yang, from feminine to masculine.
It appears through the change of the seasons and vital cycles. The Dào is the law of everything. For the Taoist thought, to follow the Dào is to follow the Way, the Path… it is to return to Unity.

The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the immutable name.
The non-existence is the principle of the heaven and the earth.
The existence is the mother of everything that there is.

Laozi, Tao Te Ching

Dr. Cecilia Y. Cáceres