Yin Yang - what is Yin Yang - the most important philosophy for Chinese civilization

Yin Yang theory
Yin Yang is the philosophy which ancient Chinese created to describe the nature of the universe. For over 5000 years ago, the ancient Chinese found that antagonistic relationship existed anywhere, in anything and any system. They used Yin and Yang to represent the opposite parts in the antagonistic relationship. Yin means negative and Yang means positive. Yin Yang theory is the most basic theory in Chinese thinking and philosophy system. Chinese civilization is built up on the theory.

According to legends, Yin Yang theory was created by Fu Xi, the first leader of the Chinese nation. Fu Xi had super intelligence. He and his sister were super persons having a human head and a snake body. They married with each other, because after a disaster only they two survived. He and his sister produced the Chinese nation. He created exogamy, the writting language, net for fishing and catching birds, hunting, instrument "She", Yin Yang theory and Eight Gua (the predecessor of 64 Gua in "The book of changes"). He composed in addition.

However, historians believed that Yin Yang theory was created by the ruling class in the earlier phase of Chinese civilization through observing and researching the nature. These ancient Chinese found firstly that the antagonistic relationship existed in many things, such as, the gender of life, day-and-night, up-and-down, high-and-low, etc. Through further observing and thinking, they were sure that the antagonistic relationship was common in the universe. 
Yin Yang theory includes four points:
1. Yin and Yang are opposite;
2. Yin and Yang exist in anything, any system and anywhere in the universe.
3. Yin and Yang are dependent on each other: Yin and Yang coexist. Yin and Yang together compose a unit. Nothing contains only Yin or Yang.
4. Yin and Yang reverse to each other: The relationship of Yin and Yang is dynamic. When Yin becomes less, Yang becomes more, vice versa. The proportions of Yin and Yang are dynamic, sometimes Yin reverse to Yang and sometimes Yang reverse to Yin.

Ancient chinese defined the things which were rapid, warm, light, upward, hard or outward as Yang, the things which were still, cold, dark, soft, downward, or inward as Yin.
Practical examples:
Man is Yang, Woman is Yin;
Up is Yang, down is Yin;
Day is Yang, night is Yin;
East is Yang, west is Yin;
Heaven is Yang, earth is Yin;
Spring and summer is yang, autumn and winter is Yin;

Thunder and lighter is Yang, rain and snow is Yin; 

They thought also that based on its' nature, everything in the universe could be put into one of the five categories: metal, wood, water, fire and soil. The five natures have following relationships: wood helps fire, fire helps soil, soil helps metal, metal helps water, water helps wood; metal restraints wood, wood restraints soil, soil restraints water, water restraints fire, fire restraints metal. The relationship between a material and the environment around is the driving power causing the change of the relationship between Yin and Yang in the material. The nature of an environment is decided by the comprehensive nature of the things composed the environment.

The application of the Yin Yang theory
Yin Yang theory is one of the origins of chinese culture. Ancient Chinese not only used the theory to explain the different phenomenons in the universe, but also developed their natural and social science systems based on it. Following are some of the most important applications of Yin Yang theory.

1. Explanation about the production of the world
Ancient Chinese thought that at the beginning the universe contained only some materials in free form. Later the materials concentrated and formed a round point, called as the super ultimate. The super ultimate had Yin and Yang (cold and warm) two status. The changes of Yin and Yang produced four statuses: production, developing, declining and perishing (for instance spring, summer, autumn and winter). The alternately changing of the four statuses produced all the phenomenons and things in the world. Chinese drawed the picture of Tai Chi (the super ultimate) to show the dynamic balance relationship between Yin and Yang, according to the sundial projections, which composed  the white half part of the super ultimate, of a year. They used changing of heat and coldness, a pair of Yin and Yang, on the earth, to implicate the general dynamic balance of Yin and Yang. 

The explanation about the production of the universe is quiet similar with the modern Big Bang theory. According to Big Bang theory, at the beginning of Big Bang, there were only elementary particles in the universe. When the temperature in the universe became lower, the particles concentrated and formed the stars, planets, etc. Our planet rotates and revolves around Sun, which causes the alternation of heat and coldness on the earth, and produces colorful lives in the world.

The picture of super ultimate (Tai Chi)
Super ultimate (Tai Chi)

2. The book of changes   
"The book of changes" has been used for predictions for several thousands in China. The 64 Gua predicting method represented in the book is thought to be a simulation model of the world. However, the book is also a philosophic book, mainly developed basing on Yin Yang theory, to teach ancient Chinese how to treat the relationships between person and person, person and the society, person and the nature. Confucian (551 - 479 BC) praised highly the book. In Han dynasty (201 BC - 221 AD), the book was assigned by emperor Wudi as the most important book among "The six scriptures", which were the classic textbooks of ancient Chinese intellectuals. For more than 2000 years, "The book of changes" had been one of the most important learning materials building up the spiritual world of Chinese elite. 
3. Traditional Chinese Medicine
According to traditional Chinese medicine, all diseases are caused by the wrong relationship of Yin and Yang in the body. Traditional Chinese medical diagnose focuses therefor on determine and adjust the relationship of Yin and Yang of the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine has a complete disease categorization system which divides all diseases into different categories and subcategories depending on their Yin symptoms and Yang symptoms. There are two top categories: Yin diseases and Yang diseases. The syptoms of Yin diseases and Yang diseases are:
1. Yin diseases: the face is dark or pale, depressed, the body is tired and cold, breath is short, don’t want to talk, not thirsty, the urine and facese are thin, the tone is light, pulse is weak;
2. Yang diseases: the face is red and the body is hot, uneasy and breath heavily, talkative and the sound is high, thirsty and like cold drink, urine is red and facese is dry, tone is yellow, pulse is strong.

Every top category has many subcategories,  such as Yin weak, Yang weak, Yin dying, Yang dying, etc. classified according to strength of Yin or Yang in certain part of the body or whole of the body.

4. Human and society is a part of the nature
According to Yin Yang theory, human is a part of the nature; the general laws of the nature are applicable for Human; society is a also a part of the nature; either a person or a society should follow the laws of the nature; all developing, changes and events in a society are the results of changes of Yin and Yang; any behavior or policy, which is against the normal changing rules of Yin and Yang, will cause unormal events and results which rise to balance again Yin and Yang.

Many Chinese believe that it is possible to predict the fortune of China and the Chinese nation, since development of any country and any nation follow Yin Yang theory. "The pictures of pushing back" made in Tang dynasty (618 - 907) is known as the most authoritative predictions about the fortune of China and Chinese. "The pictures of pushing back" was made for about 1300 years ago and predicted the fortune of China during the later 2000 years.

Yin Yang theory and Taoism
Taoism applies very much Yin Yang theory in its own theories and practicing. Taoism emphasizes cultivating on both physical and mental health. Almost all methods taoism apply for these two purposes are created with Yin Yang theory. Many think that Yin Yang and Taoism are same, but they are not.

Taoism is a philosophy school which was created by Lao Zi (about 571 - 471 BC) in the Sprig and Warring States Period (770 BC - 221 AD). The main idea of taoism is "Nature laws rule the nature, people should follow the nature laws, and coexist with the nature harmonically".

Next article:
The book of changes - a simulating model of the world