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Mandarin Go | The meaning of Yin Yang(阴阳yīn yáng )


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Yin Yang(阴阳 yīnyáng) is a philosophical concept of balance.The symbol associated with this concept is described here by Elizabeth Reninger:
The image consists of a circle divided into two teardrop-shaped halves-one white and the other black.Within each half is contained a smaller circle of the opposite color.

The Chinese Characters for Yin and Yang

The Chinese characters for Yin Yang are 阴阳 and they are pronounced yīn yáng.

The first character 阴 (yīn) means: overcast weather; feminine; moon; cloudy; negative electrical charge; shady.

The second character 阳 (yáng) means: positive electrical charge; sun.

The simplified characters 阴阳 clearly show the moon/sun symbolism since they can be deconstructed to their elements 月 (moon) and 日 (sun). The element 阝 is a variant of the radical 阜 which means "abundant". So Yin Yang could represent the contrast between the full moon and the full sun.

The Meaning and Significance of Yin and Yang


It should be noted that these two opposites are viewed as complementary. To a modern observer coming from a Western background, it's easy to think that yang sounds "better" than yin. The sun is obviously more powerful than the moon, light is better than darkness and so on. This misses the point. The idea behind the symbol of yin and yang is that they interact and that both are necessary for a healthy whole.

It's also meant to represent the idea that extreme yin and extreme yang are unhealthy and unbalanced. The small black dot in the white shows this, as does the white dot in the black. 100% yang is very dangerous, as is complete yin. This can be seen in taijiquan, which is a martial art partly based on this principle.

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