Eva Wong’s book Cultivating Stillness, a Taoist Manual for Transforming Body and Mind, offers an excellent guide to Taoist origins, principles and connection to the I Ching. Central to this is the connection between t’ai chi and wu-chi and the formulation of what is known as the wu-chi diagram. From a practical application these two were to solidify and find a way for both Confucians and Taoists to harmonize in popular culture, T’ai chi as the Confucianist conception of the source of all things and wu chi to the Taoists and Lao and Chuang Tzu. As told in her book, the Taoist origin of the universe and life is expounded by Chu-hsi of the Sung Dynasty (960-1279AD), who combined the Confucian and Taoist theories on the origin of things. He revised Chou Tuan-i’s treatise T’ai-chi T’ao Shuo and wrote, “From wu-chi comes t’ai-chi. When t’ai-chi moves, it creates yang. When movement reaches its extreme, stillness emerges. In stillness, yin is born. Thus, movement and stillness follow each other. Yin and yang, stillness and movement form to force the creation. From yang and yin are created the elements water, fire, wood, metal, and earth. The Five Vapors mutually enrich each other and generate the four seasons. The five elements originate from yin and yang. Yin and yang originate from t’ai chi and t’ai chi originates from wu-chi. From the properties of the five elements and the essence of wu-chi emerges generative energy. From the Way of Heaven (ch’ien), male is born. Following the Way of Earth (k’un), female is born. The union of ch’ien and k’un give rise to the myriad things. The ten thousand myriad things procreate and contribute to many forms of existence whose origin is wu-chi.” This is the description of the origin of things.
Oct 21 2014