The Full Wiki

Wu xing: Wikis

Advertisements
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

(Redirected to Wu Xing article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.
Wu Xing
Traditional Chinese 五行

The Wu Xing (Chinese: 五行pinyin: wǔxíng), or the Five Movements, Five Phases or Five Steps/Stages, are chiefly an ancient mnemonic device, in many traditional Chinese fields.

It is sometimes translated as Five Elements, but the Wu Xing are chiefly an ancient mnemonic device, hence the preferred translation of "movements", "phases" or "steps" over "elements". By the same token, Mu is thought of as "Tree" rather than "Wood".[1]

The five elements are:

The system of five phases was used for describing interactions and relationships between phenomena. It was employed as a device in many fields of early Chinese thought, including seemingly disparate fields such as geomancy or Feng shui, astrology, traditional Chinese medicine, music, military strategy and martial arts.

The system is still used as a reference in some forms of complementary and alternative medicine and martial arts. Some claim the original foundation of these are the concept of the Five Cardinal Points.

Contents

Cycles

The Interactions of Wu Xing: The creation cycle (black, circle shaped arrows) and the overcoming cycle (white, star shaped arrows).

The doctrine of five phases describes two cycles, a generating or creation (生, shēng) cycle, also known as "mother-son", and an overcoming or destruction (克/剋, ) cycle, also known as "grandfather-nephew", of interactions between the phases.

Advertisements

Generating

The common memory jogs, which help to remind in what order the phases are, are:

  • Wood feeds Fire;
  • Fire creates Earth (ash);
  • Earth bears Metal;
  • Metal carries Water (as in a bucket or tap, or water condenses on metal);
  • Water nourishes Wood.

Other common words for this cycle include "begets", "engenders" and "mothers."

Overcoming

  • Wood parts Earth (such as roots) (or Trees can prevent soil erosion );
  • Earth absorbs (or muddies) Water (or Earth dam control the water);
  • Water quenches Fire;
  • Fire melts Metal;
  • Metal chops Wood.

Also:

  • Wood absorbs Water;
  • Water rusts Metal;
  • Metal breaks up Earth;
  • Earth smothers Fire;
  • Fire burns Wood.

This cycle might also be called "controls", "restrains" or "fathers".

Another illustration of the cycle.

Cosmology and feng shui

According to Wu Xing theory, the structure of the cosmos mirrors the five phases. Each phase has a complex series of associations with different aspects of nature, as can be seen in the following table. In the ancient Chinese form of geomancy known as Feng Shui practitioners all based their art and system on the five phases (Wu Xing). All of these phases are represented within the Ba gua. Associated with these phases are colors, seasons and shapes; all of which are interacting with each other. [2]

Based on a particular directional energy flow from one phase to the next, the interaction can be expansive, destructive, or exhaustive. With proper knowledge of such aspect of energy flow will enable the Feng Shui practitioner to apply certain cures or rearrangement of energy in a way they believe to be beneficial for the receiver of the Feng Shui "Treatment."

Movement Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Color Green Red Yellow White Black or Blue
Direction east south center west north
Planet Jupiter Mars Saturn Venus Mercury
Heavenly creature Azure Dragon
青龍
Vermilion Bird
朱雀
Yellow Dragon
黃龍
White Tiger
白虎
Black Tortoise
玄武
Heavenly Stems , , , , ,
Phase New Yang Full Yang Yin/Yang balance New Yin Full Yin
Energy Generative Expansive Stabilizing Contracting Conserving
Season Spring Summer Change of seasons
(Every third month)
Autumn Winter
Climate Windy Hot Damp Dry Cold
Development Sprouting Blooming Ripening Withering Dormant
Livestock dog sheep/goat cattle chicken pig
Fruit plum apricot jujube peach chestnut
Grain wheat beans rice hemp millet

Ba gua

The movements have also been correlated to the eight trigrams of the I Ching:

Movement Metal Earth Wood Wood Water Fire Earth Metal
I Ching Heaven Earth Thunder Wind Water Fire Mountain Lake
Trigrams 乾 qián 坤 kūn 震 zhèn 巽 xùn 坎 kǎn 離 lí 艮 gèn 兌 duì

Chinese medicine

Five Chinese Elements - Diurnal Cycle

The interdependence of Zang Fu networks in the body was noted to be a circle of five things, and so mapped by the Chinese doctors onto the five phases. For instance, the Liver (Wood phase) is said to be the "mother" of the heart (Fire phase), and the Kidneys (Water phase) the mother of the Liver. The key observation was things like kidney deficiency affecting the function of the liver. In this case, the "mother" is weak, and cannot support the child. However, the Kidneys control the heart along the Ke cycle, so the Kidneys are said to restrain the heart. Many of these interactions can nowadays be linked to known physiological pathways (such as Kidney pH affecting heart activity).[citation needed]

The key thing to keep in mind with the Chinese medical application of the five elements is that it is only a model, and it is known to have exceptions. However, in general the device seems to be useful for arriving at good clinical results[citation needed], so they were kept by the critically thinking Chinese medical doctors and researchers since they were first introduced.[citation needed]

The citation order of the Five Phases, i.e., the order in which they are cited in the Bo Hu Tong and other Han dynasty texts, is Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. The organs are most effectively treated, according to theory, in the following four-hour periods throughout the day, beginning with the 3 a.m. to 7 a. m. period: Metal organs (see the list below), Earth organs, Fire1 organs, Water organs, Fire2 (the "non-empirical" Pericardium and Triple Burner organs), and Wood organs, which is the reverse of the citation order (plus an extra use of Fire and the non-empirical organs to take care of the sixth four-hour period of the day). These two orders are further related to the sequence of the planets going outward from the sun (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, or Water, Metal, Fire, Wood, and Earth) by a star diagram similar to the one shown above. [3]

The sequence of the five elements(Traditional Chinese medicine):promotion,inhibition,Cheng (bullying),Wu(insult)

[4]

Movement Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Planet Jupiter Mars Saturn Venus Mercury
Mental Quality Sensitivity Creativity Clarity Intuition Spontaneity
Emotion anger happiness anxiety grief, sadness fear, scare
Zang (yin organs) liver heart/pericardium spleen/pancreas lung kidney
Fu (yang organs) gall bladder small intestine/San Jiao stomach large intestine urinary bladder
Sensory organ eye tongue Mouth nose ears
Body Part Tendons Pulse Muscle Skin Bones
Body Fluid Tears Sweat Saliva Mucus Urine
Finger index finger middle finger thumb ring finger little finger
Sense sight speech taste smell hearing
Taste sour bitter sweet pungent salty
Smell Rancid Scorched Fragrant Rotten Putrid
Life birth youth adulthood old age death

Celestial stem

Movement Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Heavenly Stem Jia 甲
Yi 乙
Bing 丙
Ding 丁
Wu 戊
Ji 己
Geng 庚
Xin 辛
Ren 壬
Gui 癸
Year ends with 4, 5 6, 7 8, 9 0, 1 2, 3

Music

The Yuèlìng chapter (月令篇) of the Lǐjì (禮記) and the Huáinánzǐ (淮南子) make the following correlations:

Movement Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Colour Green Red Yellow White Blue
Direction east south center west north
The Basic Pentatonic Scale jué 角 (mi) zhǐ 徵 (so) gōng 宮 (do) shāng 商 (re) 羽 (la)

(Notes:

  • The Chinese word 青 qīng, has many meanings, including green, azure, cyan, and black. It refers to green in Wu Xing.
  • In most modern music, various seven note or five note scales (e.g., the major scale) are defined by selecting seven or five frequencies from the set of twelve semi-tones in the Equal tempered tuning. The Chinese "lǜ" tuning is closest to the ancient Greek tuning of Pythagoras. See Chinese musicology.)

Martial arts

Taijiquan

Taijiquan uses the five elements to designate different directions, positions or footwork patterns. Either forward, backward, left, right and centre, or three steps forward (attack) and two steps back (retreat).[5]

The Five Steps (五步 wǔ bù):

Chin Pu (進步 jìn bù) - Forward step.
T'ui Pu (退步 tùi bù) - Backward step.
Tsuo Ku (左顧 (simpl.: 左顾) zǔo gù) - Left step.
You P'an (右盼 yòu pàn) - Right step.
Chung Ting (中定 zhōng dìng) - The central position, balance, equilibrium.

Xingyiquan

Xingyiquan uses the five elements to metaphorically represent five different states of combat.

Movement Fist Chinese Pinyin Description
Wood Crushing Bēng To collapse, as a building collapsing in on itself.
Fire Pounding Pào Exploding outward like a cannon while blocking.
Earth Crossing Héng Crossing across the line of attack while turning over.
Metal Splitting To split like an axe chopping up and over.
Water Drilling Zuān Drilling forward horizontally like a geyser.

See also

Bibliography

  • Feng Youlan (Yu-lan Fung), A History of Chinese Philosophy, volume 2, p. 13
  • Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China, volume 2, pp. 262-23
  • Maciocia, G. 2005, The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, 2nd edn, Elsevier Ltd., London

References

  1. ^ 千古中医之张仲景. Lecture Room, CCTV-10.  
  2. ^ [ http://www.northernshaolinacademy.com/new/docs/FiveElementsChart.xls Chinese Five Elements Chart]Information on the Chinese Five Elements from Northern Shaolin Academy in Microsoft Excel 2003 Format
  3. ^ See 5 Xing in Citation Order.
  4. ^ promotion inhibition Cheng wu
  5. ^ Wu, Kung-tsao (1980, 2006). Wu Family T'ai Chi Ch'uan (吳家太極拳). Chien-ch’uan T’ai-chi Ch’uan Association. ISBN 0-9780499-0-X.  

External links


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message