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5 Element & 8 Trigram Correspondence

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The following thoughts are an attempt to clarify the relationship between the 5 Elements/Phases and the 8 Trigrams. I'm writing this down as this topic isn't very clear in the popular literature/teachings, and also isn't in my own mind. So do please share any ideas and maybe we can deepen our understandings.

 

THIER CONTEXT:

 

The concept and system of the 5 Elements [WuXing] historically stem from Zuo Yan (305-240 BCE), who founded the YinYang Jia, the school that formally established the theory of Yin & Yang. The 5 Elements are essentially a model of reality, a way of understanding the changeability of life, but nevertheless has a tangible basis in the world around us. Over the years this model has been developed and extended throughout all aspects of Chinese culture and indeed throughout the inner and outer life of humans.

 

The concept and system of the 8 Trigrams [bagua] stems out of the Book of Change [YiJing], specifically elucidated in the 10 Wings of the Book of Change, which originated in the time leading up to and during the Han dynasty (but nevertheless attributed out of respect to Confucius) . Although not part of the original text {ZhouYi], if we have any respect for the intelligence and integrity of original authors of the Book of Change then we will acknowledge the 8 Trigrams as an essential part to understanding the changes in life, and also as part of the foundation structure of the Book of Change.

 

THEIR CORRESPONDENCE:

 

Both the 5 Elements and 8 Trigrams underly what could be called Correspondence or Resonance Theory [XiangShu], which is way of seeing the world as a beautiful and perfect, ever-changing hologram, entirely interconnected from the smallest to the greatest thing imaginable. Both WuXing and BaGua theory systematise the multitude of resonant connections apparent throughout nature and ourselves. They also give a working model to how we can understand the movement to one way or another of these different objects in the world and aspects of ourselves.

 

But how are these two systems integrated together? Herein lies the rub..

 

My current viewpoint is this- both WuXing and BaGua are part of XiangShu theory, which utilises what we know as 'numbers' to describe the patterns inherent in nature. So, what pattern is there between 5... and 8? If we look at the proportion between the number 5 and the number 8, it forms what is known as the 'golden mean' a mathematical ratio which is inherent in the growth and regeneration of the natural world. The Golden Mean can also be translated into what is known as the "Fibonacci Sequence', which starts 3-5-8-13... This gives us a clue to what underlies both WuXing and Bagua- the number 3.

 

The number 3 can be thought of as the first real number. It is only when Yin & Yang [2] create a third thing [Qi] that the world is manifested around us. Before this, we are dealing with absolutes, which are not part of the world as we are experiencing it now...

 

In essence though, we can deduce from this that both the 5 Elements and the 8 Trigrams are shades and expressions of Yin & Yang intermingling with each other. The different between them is a matter of scope. Just as the 5 Elements are a more elaborated expression of Yin & Yang, the 8 Trigrams are a more elaborated expression of the 5 Elements.

 

This is as far as I've got for now, please continue this line of thought if you wish...

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This is The Yellow River Chart a) and The Luo River Inscription B)

 

image02.png

 

 

They are the origins of Bagua and 5 elements, they also show the correspondence of both

Edited by Sinfest

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This is The Yellow River Chart a) and The Luo River Inscription B)

 

image02.png

 

 

They are the origins of Bagua and 5 elements, they also show the correspondence of both

 

Sorry...

The Bagua was not shown here...... ;)

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It was invented some time later but this is the origin and can be tied together

 

also turtles

 

baby-turtle.jpg

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Is taomeow around these days....?

 

 

:)

 

On occasion. :wub:

 

What do you want to reveal to her? :)

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i thinks The Real Elucidation of Zhou says that to we can use pre heaven qi to return our post heaven qi to the state before our birth.

to reach this goal we need to know the secrets of how and why,

the way of doing this is hidden in the five elements.

sun lu tang in his 1916 book The Study of Bagua Fist delves into this.

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On occasion. :wub:

 

What do you want to reveal to her? :)

 

I just think you've got a lot of wisdom to add to this conversation :)

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Sorry...

The Bagua was not shown here...... ;)

 

Yup, if I'm not mistaken the first records of the Ba Gua diagrams as we know them only appear centuries later at around the time of Shao Yong. The fact is the depth of the roots of all of this are way past anyone's grasp- the old story goes the Yi Jing was first revealed in a flash of inspiration when a dragon/turtle suddenly appeared from the Yellow River, bearing markings on it's back that inspired the Luo and Yellow River Maps....

 

These maps certainly lie at the heart of this puzzle and give a good starting point to unravelling the dynamics between the WuXing and BaGua, but to comprehend their layers and meaning is not as simple as it looks...

 

 

 

Let's consider again the grandness of the number 3, the trinity of Heaven, Earth, Man, of Yang, Yin, and Qi, the spark that gave birth to the 10,000 things...

 

This spark, so powerful, can be glimpsed through looking deeply into the number 3.

 

The jump from 3 to 5 is the first step into the world. Much is said of the Four Elements, as documented in the Ancient Greek and Indian traditions- this is not overlooked by the Daoists of course; the Square has huge significance in the Daoist cosmology, representing the four corners of Earth and the substance that gives form and dimension to the world. However, it seems to me that that first step into the world is only possible with a fifth ingredient, the centre which gives us the possibility to move out of the box, which enables the transformation and regeneration of time. Hence the 5th Element Earth lives not only in the centre but fills the space between Yin and Yang, between each season.

 

So, the Four Elements/Symbols [si Xiang] also dwell inside both WuXing and BaGua, but in a sense are one layer back from our world, in the 'pre-heavenly'.

 

5 is the pivot between the pre- and post-heavenly world. If we now look back at the Luo and Yellow River Maps we can see these pre-heavenly and post-heavenly numbers laid out before us.... each group of dots representing the movements and expressions of Yin and Yang, the 5 Phases, and the 8 Trigrams, which in turn reflect everything perceptible and imaginable around us and inside of us.

 

But we still haven't drawn out the explicit connections!

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I just think you've got a lot of wisdom to add to this conversation :)

 

Thank you for thinking that. :D:wub:

 

The subject is "taoist basics" and as such has been written about more than any other at any time in any culture on Earth -- the body of written documents dealing with this surpasses in its sheer volume any other. I think it is more useful to approach these things from a particular angle, one at a time, e.g. how wuxing and bagua interact in the I Ching, in MA, in TCM, in feng shui, in astrology, etc.. This elephant can't be grasped all at once in its entirety, so examining the trunk, the front leg, the ear, the tail takes one closer to the overall image and meaning of this animal one step at a time. Well, at least that's how I've been learning about it. :)

 

Take the trunk, e.g.. It has 50,000 more neural endings than the human hand, which gives it a matching scale of sensitivity. Its range of motion is between the power to topple a mighty tree and the precision to pick up a single grain of rice, with all in-betweens. It makes sounds that range from louder than a steam engine whistle to quieter than a whisper, it discerns and identifies smells from miles away, it is absolutely incomprehensible in its abilities to anyone who doesn't have one. But one can start somewhere, e.g. describe the color, the texture, the weirdness... whatever. Between this and "embodying the elephant," which is the only way to know the elephant, there's shades of understanding (or mis-) as infinite as the shades of grey an elephant can be. So, where do we want to start petting the elephant turtle and the mammoth horse of Hetu and Luoshu? :)

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Thank you for thinking that. :D:wub:

 

The subject is "taoist basics" and as such has been written about more than any other at any time in any culture on Earth -- the body of written documents dealing with this surpasses in its sheer volume any other. I think it is more useful to approach these things from a particular angle, one at a time, e.g. how wuxing and bagua interact in the I Ching, in MA, in TCM, in feng shui, in astrology, etc.. This elephant can't be grasped all at once in its entirety, so examining the trunk, the front leg, the ear, the tail takes one closer to the overall image and meaning of this animal one step at a time. Well, at least that's how I've been learning about it. :)

 

Take the trunk, e.g.. It has 50,000 more neural endings than the human hand, which gives it a matching scale of sensitivity. Its range of motion is between the power to topple a mighty tree and the precision to pick up a single grain of rice, with all in-betweens. It makes sounds that range from louder than a steam engine whistle to quieter than a whisper, it discerns and identifies smells from miles away, it is absolutely incomprehensible in its abilities to anyone who doesn't have one. But one can start somewhere, e.g. describe the color, the texture, the weirdness... whatever. Between this and "embodying the elephant," which is the only way to know the elephant, there's shades of understanding (or mis-) as infinite as the shades of grey an elephant can be. So, where do we want to start petting the elephant turtle and the mammoth horse of Hetu and Luoshu? :)

 

Good point! Trying to intellectually hold all the connections together is like jazz drumming, or trying to pat you head, rub your stomach and shake your leg at the same time- takes some real dexterity!!

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