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dawei

Liezi reference - Gu San Fen

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Liezi seems to reference this.  There is much more detail here. 

 

古三墳  -  Gu San Fen:

 

清氣未升,濁氣未沉,

Pure/clear Qi did not yet rise; impure/opaque Qi did not yet sink.

 

遊神未靈,五色未分。

The spirits did not yet have their power; The rainbow did not yet separate into its parts

 

中有其物,冥冥而性存,謂之混沌。

Within this is matter; a deep, dark and mysterious nature exists; this is called chaos.

 

混沌為太始。

Chaos serves as the Great Beginning

 

太始者、元胎之萌也,

The Great Beginning is, the first born to sprout

 

太始之數一,一為太極,

The Great Beginning numbers as One; this first object serves as Taiji (Great Utmost)

 

太極者、天地之父母也。

This Taiji is, Heaven and Earth’s parents

 

一極易,天高明而清,地博厚而濁,謂之太易。

This ultimate Change, [as] a clear, high and bright Heaven, [as] a plentiful and rich opaque Earth.  This is called The Great Change.

 

太易者、天地之變也,太易之數二,

This Great Change is Heaven and earth transforming. The Great Change numbers as Two.

 

二為兩儀,兩儀者、陰陽之形也,謂之太初。

This second object serves as two primary forces; These two forces appear as Yin and Yang. This is called the Great Beginning.

 

太初者、天地之交也,太初之數四,

This Great Beginning is the interaction of Heaven and Earth. The Great Beginning numbers as four.

 

四盈易,四象變而成萬物,謂之太素。

Four completes the Changes; Four divisions transform to become all things.  This is called The Great Simplicity.

 

太素者、三才之始也,太素之數三,

This Great Simplicity is the three powers (trigram) of the beginning. The Great Simplicity numbers as three.

 

三盈易,天地孕而生男女,謂之三才。

These Three complete the Changes; Heaven and Earth were ready to give birth to male and female.  This is called The Three Powers (trigram)

 

三才者、天地之備也,遊神動而靈,

The Three Powers are Heaven and Earth equipped, are the spirits come to fruition

 

故飛走潛化,

Thereafter [are things] transformed as to fly, move or veil.

 

動植蟲魚之類必備於天地之間,

This movement results in lower life forms, plants, fish and such things that are an essential activity between Heaven and Earth.

 

謂之太古。

This is called the Great Antiquity.

 

See Liezi Introduction and links:  

https://www.thedaobums.com/topic/50556-liezi-chapter-introduction/

 

 

Edited by dawei
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I used to think that the work Liezi was an older text and thus the origin for the references of the Four Greats.  In preparing to share the work, I found that the Liezi is not as old as most first attributed (at least before Zhuangzi who references the person Liezi).  Due to Graham's scholarship on the topic, western sinologists would eventually adopt a more recent date but not too far after 300 AD.  

 

What I share next is purely speculative on my part as I have very little background in what follows.  I have read and re-read some of this stuff so many times over the years but mostly because I have little understand for what it all means.  I am only more and more familiar with the words but not sure I understand it. 

 

The passage here in Gu San Fen has always bothered me because it was not in the same order as Liezi and has much more detail.  As well, it talks of a numbering sequence as: 1>2>4>3.    I could not find this anywhere until I took the 3 as a reference to trigrams.  And what I found may be forced as 1,2,4,8 would really be the expected order (so I think) if one was looking at the trigram cycle:

 

Trigrams%20in%20Generation%20Order.png

 

 

Then there is another later Han work that talks similar to the Gu San Fen but included 5 (Wu Xing- 5 elements/phases) after 3.  I was now stumbling around with a 1>2>4>3>5 sequence in my head.   This lead me to read up on the 5 elements which were assigned numbers of 1-5 based on their cosmogonic order in which they came into being (water, fire, wood, metal, earth).  Then 6-10 were added for direction:  (1-water-6 > 2-fire-7 > 3-wood-8 > 4-metal-9 > 5-earth-10).

 

If one maps the mutual overcoming sequence to the Lou Shu Map, it results in:

 

Lo%20Shu%20Five%20Phases.png

 

Taking the numbers for the elements result in:  1 > 2 > 4 > 3 > 5.

 

This appears to really make no sense to compare this to the Gu San Fen sequence because the text is really trying to describe [mutual] generation.  It just seems an uncanny coincidence.

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